Case Study: The Amalgamation

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Engagement: Fractional CPTO

Period: 3 Months

Client: The Amalgamation

The Problem:

The Amalgamation was an early stage startup with a big idea and no digital product. Their founder and their first members were clear on the problem they wanted to solve: government RFPs were not understandable, accessible, or winnable by small, disadvantaged businesses. The system of government contracting is clearly stacked against small businesses, particularly disadvantaged ones.

The Vision:

The Amalgamation team dreamed of a way to serve small and disadvantage businesses (DBEs) with a simple and easy method to view, submit proposals for, and win government contracts. They knew technology could play a critical role, but didn’t know how.

The Engagement:

I contracted with the Amalgamation team to help ideate, design, and build a digital platform that would best serve small and disadvantage businesses (DBEs). Our shared goal was three-fold:

  1. 🌐 Define a sustainable, member-based, product-led business model.
  2. 🚀 Build an MVP platform that could serve a lot of value to users as soon as possible.
  3. 🛠️ Maintain the platform and as it scaled with new users and new features.

Together, we got to work.

🌐 Product-led Business Model

To create a clear, product-led business model, I custom built and facilitated a set of workshops with The Amalgamation founding team over two half-day sessions. These workshops delivered a marketplace business model that would serve:

  • small businesses / DBEs;
  • large contracting firms; and
  • government agencies.

These workshops also clarified our best starting point: a membership SaaS platform for DBEs. Lastly, we defined our product hypothesis: a starting feature set to deliver the most value to small business users.

User Journey in our Product Workshop
User Journey in our Product Workshop
Marketplace Mapping in our Product Workshop
Marketplace Mapping in our Product Workshop

🚀 MVP Platform

To build an MVP platform for small business users, I led product research, strategy and development. We constrained our initial development to 2 weeks. Together, we set additional constraints to best match The Amalgamation’s needs. These included:

  • No-code tools and framework: to reduce development cost and allow the founding team to assist with product building.
  • Non-technical user-friendly UI: to keep the platform accessible to small business owners, many of whom are slow to adopt new technology.

Within two weeks, we accomplished:

Product Research: I defined an initial platform stack and set of tools, optimized to best realize our initial feature set.

Product Strategy: I worked with the founding team to define a product release, marketing strategy, and ongoing user research practices.

Product Development: I built the initial MVP platform, which offered all of our initial feature set to users.

The Amalgamation’s MVP RFP aggregation system, automations, and end user interface
The Amalgamation’s MVP RFP aggregation system, automations, and end user interface

🛠️ Platform Maintenance

After launching the platform, I stayed on with The Amalgamation team to learn from their first users, improve existing features, and update the platform to create additional value for small business customers. This work continued over 2 months. In that time:

  • we launched a new landing page
  • we increased membership prices
  • we updated member onboarding flow
  • we automated existing processes
  • we created a new member sponsorship model
New Amalgamation landing page: optimized for new member sign ups
New Amalgamation landing page: optimized for new member sign ups
New Amalgamation onboarding flow: optimized to educate new members on available features
New Amalgamation onboarding flow: optimized to educate new members on available features

The Impact

The Amalgamation team had three goals.

(1) Define a sustainable, member-based, product-led business model.

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In two days, I facilitated workshops which generated a new member-based, product-led business model. The Amalgamation team walked away with a clear business model and initial product feature set.

(2) Build an MVP platform that could serve a lot of value to users as soon as possible.

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In two weeks, I built an MVP platform to serve members and charge for membership.

(3) Maintain the platform and as it scaled with new users and new features.

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Over the course of two months, I learned from initial users’ experiences and iterated on the Amalgamation platform to better serve users, better attract new members, and create multiple new features.

Following our short engagement, the results were clear. The Amalgamation:

  • Onboarded their first 50 paying small business members
  • Ran 20+ user interviews, before, during, and after product launch
  • Delivered 1,000+ RFPs to members
  • Went from $0 to $2,500+ MRR
  • Engaged small businesses, large businesses, and governments (all sides of their marketplace) to use their platform
The Amalgamation founder and early members
The Amalgamation founder and early members
Testimonial from early user
Testimonial from early user
Testimonial from early user
Testimonial from early user