UX Design Awards 2023
4.8/5 rating on the Apple Store
We joined forces with GoalBased Investors (GBI) to create Lasso. This gamified platform brings consumers and financial advisors together through two interconnected apps for iPhone and iPad, each with its own customized experience.
Tackling society's limited knowledge of finance
The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center points out that only 24% of millennials are considered financially literate. At the same time, a survey carried out by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America shows that 63% feel anxious about their financial situation.
With these insights, it’s more important than ever for people to access financial advisors who can provide expertise to those seeking help with their financial planning. However, it’s not easy to access this financial expertise if your knowledge on the topic is limited, which, according to the Global Financial Literacy Survey, is nearly 70% of the world’s adult population.
We saw how unprepared many people really are to achieve financial milestones, like retirement, and how much of an impact it makes when individuals are able to get access to professional advice.”
Becca Long, President of GBI.
Founded by their CEO, Chip Castille, GBI strives precisely to make financial expertise more accessible with an innovative, community-driven platform called Lasso. This latest fintech product—its V1 was launched in December 2021—connects investors with advisors in a unique way: It encourages users to create meaningful financial plans based on their personal goals using a fun, gamified points system.
The belief behind the creation of Lasso was that technology can help deliver financial advice at scale. Yet, when you look at what is available in the financial technology space, you find many solutions that are still too complex and rely too heavily on individuals acquiring some, admittedly basic, level of financial literacy.
A community-based app
Lasso focuses on the critical consumer needs of financial planning and advice discovery. Its main goal is to solve these needs with a quick, intuitive, and simple platform for anyone to use, regardless of their level of financial literacy. Their founders recognize that managing finances is difficult to do entirely independently, so we decided to build Lasso as a community-based app.
Sharing, learning, and being able to have better conversations about financial topics is a big factor in achieving financial success. A community allows people to learn from one another by seeing how others construct plans to meet their goals and which experts seek out for help.”
Becca Long, President of GBI.
One lasso to help them all
Lasso’s main goal is to help people create better financial outcomes. One main difficulty was ensuring that the product was easy enough for anyone to use. We continuously encouraged GBI to simplify the user experience and create an app that could engage any user.
Regarding branding, the company came up with the Lasso concept to invoke the idea of harnessing the power of financial advice and bringing people together in a community-oriented way. We went against an obvious cowboy theme, instead creating the lasso as a simple line that interacts as a visual aid to enhance the app's message.
We chose a very bright and heavy color palette to convey concepts such as saving, improving, and seeking help. I used simple geometric figures, so we were still at an abstract point, but visually, we had an attractive and very adaptable solution to communicate the message.”
Fran Pulido, illustrator.
Two apps, one goal
The challenge the GBI team brought when they first arrived at Z1 was apparently simple: connecting advisors with investors, something we could have crafted within a couple of months.
However, the scope got bigger when we got to work: We discovered many corner cases, privacy-related issues that had to be solved, and the need to develop a gamified points system. But the most interesting task was the parallel development of two different but interconnected apps, one for iPhone focused on investors and one for iPad for advisors.
This parallel development required excellent synchronization between the teams, especially with the backend, since each version of the app had to include the new features in both apps, so what was done in one affected the other.
Quick, intuitive, and simple
Lasso was one of the most technically stimulating apps created by the Z1 iOS team. The usual process is to adapt the app to new devices. However, Lasso was different. It required very close communication with the servers, but we didn't want to sacrifice the user's feeling of fluidity and speed. We worked hard to achieve permanent communication with the backend without letting the user experience down.
The use of powerful libraries such as RxSwift for handling events and responses asynchronously was crucial. It was also important for managing user flows, such as creating plans, where the users can observe the points they are obtaining based on the inputs and changes that they are introducing almost in real-time.
We used Apollo to connect to the GraphQL API, which gives you the flexibility to ask the server for only what you need, improving response times and removing unnecessary information from the communication.
Robust and scalable
We used Dataloaders to enhance query performance, enabling automated, high-volume data importing and exporting. Besides, we used third-party services to carry out user authentications, so we also had to study each case depending on the provider.
As with every successful partnership, effective collaboration is key, and GBI's CTO, Chris Anderson, a former Googler, has been supervising all of the development side, turning out a robust and scalable digital product of the highest possible quality.
Lasso beyond “one”
GBI had an overwhelmingly positive response to Lasso. After a few months of working together, they raised $2.75M in a seed funding round led by Silicon Valley venture firm True Ventures. Since it launched in December 2021, investors have commented that the interface is very intuitive and that it helps them visualize their progress toward their goals in a way they hadn’t found in any other tool.
Advisors see Lasso as a better (and free!) option for engaging with new clients than what they are currently using. The responsiveness of the app and the quick nature of the process, which results in a valuable proposal that can be sent to prospective clients, are some of the most praised features.
“We appreciated how the Z1 team truly felt invested in our product and in the goal of bringing the best possible experience to market.”
We took Lasso from zero to one, and we're happy to have helped such a relevant firm as GBI achieve its first goals with this digital product. They are the kind of partner that makes you grow, and even in the tough times, their team shows to be empathetic, close, and constructive.
After launching, we continued our relationship, helping them build an in-house back-end team while crafting the web app version of the product because, despite all the roads GBI has ridden so far, Lasso's adventure has just begun.
Founder & CEO
“As soon as we began talking, I think both Z1 and GBI realized it would be fun and productive to work together on this project. There was also an immediate bond of trust Z1’s team that we would manage deadlines and the inevitable surprises in a professional and proper manner. That has turned out to be the case over an 18-month working relationship.”