How can we help?

About Unagi

We are an agency specialized in creating bespoke designs and web/mobile applications for companies of all sizes. We have no secrets or magic recipes, but a lot of tools and a team full of experience, ready to pull together and build what you need.

  • Development of Web and Mobile applications (backend, APIs, frontend, or the name you want to use).
  • User Experience design (not only what you see, but how you feel).
  • Take over of existing codebase (let's get the best out of what you already have)
  • IT (AWS, Heroku, DigitalOcean)
  • Strategic thinking (we help you ask and answer questions such as Can my idea become a business?)
  • Third-party service integrations (does Stripe, Shopify or Paypal sound familiar to you?)

We don't sell out-of-the-box systems. Our apps are tailor-made. This doesn't mean that we don't reuse the experience we have gained with previous projects, but we believe that each client is unique and deserves a system that solves her/his problem. We know custom software isn’t cheap, but we also know growing companies that employ tailor-made solutions have a unique competitive edge in their market. Our goal at the end of each project is to have your system up and running quickly so you can start seeing a return on your investment.

Absolutely. We always start with a live demo of the system and then a code audit. We want to understand everything about your project: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once we complete the audit, we will work together with you to decide what can be kept, what needs to be refactored, and what new features will be added.

It's hard to mention them all, but here are the common ones: Non-technical business owners or key people with titles like: CEO, President, COO, CTO or Director of Operations. Technology-frustrated businesses – outgrown their current systems/process or need to improve what they already have. Mostly service-based businesses that see custom software as a competitive advantage. Established small and mid-sized businesses with anywhere from 1 to 800 employees. The companies we work with come from many different industries: financial services, short-term rentals, pharmacy, migrations, healthcare, unions, factories, beer-by-subscription, automotive, real estate, and more. Some clients have been working with us for more than 5 years, and the average is 2.4 years, on an ongoing basis.

Our culture, definitely. Unagi's philosophy is to bring out the best in everyone: from the clients and those of us who work here. Our culture seeks that each one can give the best of himself while learning, sharing, and having fun. We know our people are our core, so we care that everyone is happy and feel free to say whether something is right or wrong. And we all share the same no-BS-approach. We work hard to understand your problem and don't build anything your business doesn't need. We don't work only for money, we really want you to succeed. So, it's important for us to be honest with you.

To date, there are 12 of us working on projects.

We are a group of engineers, developers, and UXs working together to build great products. We also have an IT expert and someone specialized in doing manual tests -yep, what you read. There is one guy only testing our apps-.

Everyone at Unagi is constantly learning and improving. We have a fixed number of hours per month dedicated to training, to acquire and share knowledge within the company. In addition, we are very curious and we like to learn beyond what is strictly work-related. We have Unagi Talks, where referents from inside and outside tell us about diverse topics such as food, financial investments, jury trials & more. Yes, because not everything is designing and programming. And, of course, all this without counting the shared beers and roasts :P.

Everyone at Unagi is free to work when and where they want. We have clear processes, refined altogether with the team, that allow everyone to choose what best suits her/him. Whether in our office, at home, or while traveling the world, Unagi is focused on making people find a workplace that they are proud of.

Like when we choose to work with a client, all our hires start from a personal interview, where we always privilege humans. Experience tells us that technical knowledge is the easiest to learn, but the values, perseverance, and responsibility cost much more. When we bring someone on board, we focus on people who value teamwork, are curious, and show an interest in learning and sharing. Anyway, we are lucky to have our headquarters in the same city as the 2nd most prestigious University in the country, so we are in constant interaction with excellent technical qualities.

Definitely. Although we are very experienced, we do not have all the answers. So the contribution of more people is always welcome to build the best solutions.

We are sorry, but no. When our clients engage with us, they benefit from the collective experience, skills, and creativity of our entire team. If someone on our team encounters a challenge, they have all of our internal and external resources at their disposal to overcome it quickly. Yes, our team isn’t the biggest, but we work hard and pull together with you to build the right thing.

Our work

You can reach out using this form, telling a bit about your project. We will write you back. We always start with a call or meeting, to get a high-level idea of your project and define if we can help you. A software project usually implies a long time relationship, so both parties should get to know each other before kicking off.

As we told you, we always try to explain things easily. So we are going to use an example here. A system without a good UX is like holding two glass lenses in front of your eyes instead of wearing glasses. Yes, you will be solving your problem and you will be able to see, but you will always require holding the glasses with both hands. In no way can you say that your problem is well solved because, now, the simple fact of seeing also occupies your hands. Something similar happens with a system. It is not enough to solve the technical part, but we also need to design the experience of using the system. Depending on who is your user (maybe your employees, maybe your customers, maybe just you), the design and content of the screens that he/she will go through will be completely different.

When you come to us with a new project, the first few weeks are for research. We ask questions, we listen and we ask again. Then we do interviews, surveys and apply a lot of techniques to understand what is needed and the users who are going to use your app.

Once we define the problem, we determine the objectives and how to measure them. Then, we put together a plan that meets your budget and we define priorities. Our goal is that the result of our work far exceeds what we charge, so we always build first those things that give you immediate value. That way you can start to see a return on your investment and we can start working on the next steps.

Absolutely. We believe checking references is an important part of the buying process. We usually send over references after we determine that we’re a good fit for you and your project.

Most clients are never ready for development when they come to us. It’s important that we take the time up front to help you determine the right thing to build based on a responsible budget for your project. Sometimes, we found that you can solve your problem without even building anything because the solution already exists.
Remember, if it doesn't work for your business, it really doesn't matter.

Yes, we are always evaluating new projects. Contact us to schedule a meeting and see if we can help you. Coffee is on us! :P

Projects

It depends. We always say that designing and developing software is like building a house. There are endless variables to consider, which will determine what is best for you. For example, it is useless to assign 5 people to remodel a bathroom: they would be bumping into each other to do the job and it would be inefficient. Similarly, the assembly of a team for a project must be adapted according to the needs of it, the problem to be solved, and the available budget. For the most typical case, there are usually 2 developers working in parallel. However, all teams are supplemented by UX / UI designers, a manager, QA, and an IT expert.

We expect clients to be actively involved in their projects. You are the one bringing the expertise about your business and market to the table. Without that, we have no idea if we’re building the right thing. Involvement includes meetings, reading documents and providing feedback, quick responses when questions arise, and even doing some tests sometimes.

Roughly 60-70% of all software projects fail, and usually, it's because of problems with communication. That's why we over-communicate and we don't keep things to ourselves. You'll never have to go through a manager to communicate with your team. Everyone at Unagi is empowered to directly communicate with the clients they serve. We believe that long-term success is achieved through great relationships. And you know what? We speak your language. We never use complicated tech jargon and we see it as our job to learn about your business, not the other way around.

Yes, and we encourage you to do it. We believe that fluid and honest communication is a key-point to succeed. We want you to always be up-to-date. Usually, we include clients in Basecamp -our internal communication app-, so that you can be aware of everything we are doing and give us feedback.

Software is rarely “finished.” More probably our clients and their users will continue to have great ideas throughout the process and after the initial release. As your business changes, your software will need to evolve and adapt.

But if you think that it's finished, that's great too. The app (and the code) is yours, so you can do with it whatever you want. If we take care of your server, we will host and manage your application and let you know if updates are necessary.

It’s common after the first release to pause on building features for a while and focus on fixes or enhancements to bring more users in.

Testing happens throughout the project, not just at the end. We have someone on the team whose job is to only find bugs in our apps before they are released. We also practice code reviews and pair programming to ensure that quality code is being written at all times.

We always program from scratch the parts that make your project custom and valuable. But we get incredible leverage from open source tools, libraries, frameworks and indeed our own experience with other projects. We never reinvent the wheel when there is a tool that already solves a problem. It's how we take care of your time and money.

We use a private, internal GitLab repository to store and manage all of our project source code. We use Git for source control and Gitlab CI for continuous integration. All of this helps us make deployment easier.

You own the code and designs we produce during the project. We only provide services, so everything is yours. You are free to take your code and hire another company if you don't feel we are the right choice. Luckily, this has never happened until now 🤞🏼.

Pricing

We cannot answer this responsibly until we understand your idea, business, market and users. We always say that building custom software is like building a house. "How much will it cost to build a house?" The answer will depend on the number of rooms, bathrooms, location, air conditioning, insulation, decoration, your deadline, and many more variables. Yes, we know it can be frustrating. Perhaps your decision depends on the cost. But we prefer to be honest and not throw numbers in the air with abusive margins. Therefore, the faster we understand the problem, the faster we can get to get an estimate. No matter how large or small your budget, it’s always our goals for the value our clients receive to significantly exceed the fees we charge.

In an industry that's infamous for cost overruns and low-ball bids, we prefer to be honest and charge only for what we do. Therefore, we charge per hour worked. We invoice once a month in arrears. E.g. On August 1st, you’ll receive an invoice for the hours logged from July 1st to 31st.

Of course. Many of our clients, especially those doing maintenance, choose to work with a fixed amount of money or hours per month. If this is the case, we keep a detailed record of the hours dedicated to the project, never to exceed the agreed total. Then, at the end of the month, we send the invoice as always.

Our clients are free to choose what best suits them. We usually work with national and international wire transfers, Paypal, Transferwise, etc. The only thing we asked for is that our clients take charge of the commissions of the chosen platform. That is, for example, if the cost of the work performed is 1000usd and the client decides to pay by Paypal, the client must add the cost of the Paypal commission to the payment. We do this so clients are free to choose and to keep our rates low.

The payment date must be within 10 days from the invoice date.