A Californian student-led startup asked us to help with the back-end part of their online marketplace. Our engineer re-designed the code and added REST API to convert the existing website into a mobile app.

Flypd marketing app

Client's Background

Christian Hannish and Pablo Orrantia, a senior and alumnus of Pepperdine University (LA),  found that their peers didn't have a convenient online platform to buy and sell belongings on campus. They were using Facebook marketplace and other social media groups to trade things locally, yet neither of available options suited the requirements of the student market perfectly.

Initially, the duo built a marketplace website, but after a month of testing and analyzing feedback from Pepperdine students, they decided to run the project on mobile. At this stage Flypd hired DA-14 to assist in further online market place development.

The challenge

Flypd operated on a tight budget, so we were challenged to find an affordable solution that wouldn't compromise quality. Our team re-estimated of the project and convinced the client to postpone some minor features while focusing on main functionality.


There are almost 20 million students in the USA who can benefit from trading second-hand things on campus. With tight time and money, they need a quick and easy way to sell, buy and exchange textbooks, electronics, furniture, and other items related to university life.

Free peer-to-peer (P2P) online marketplace platforms have a potential to solve the problem and help students cut living costs. For example, college students spend roughly $1200 on textbooks during an academic year. If renting books or buying them from alumnis, the price will significantly decrease.

Our Approach

Back-end redesign

The client wanted to create an iOS mobile application with the existing back-end built for the website. However, it appeared that the server-side logic was designed without shift-to-mobile in mind. Our engineer solved this issue by architecting a REST API back-end that could be smoothly integrated with the front-end code written in Swift.

Scrum in a fixed price project

The project timeline was divided into sprints planned by the client. DA-14 estimated the number of hours needed to complete each sprint, and discussed details with Flypd during calls. To address the time zone difference, we scheduled meetings for early morning (6-7 a.m. local time). Regular communication via different channels helped to ensure transparency, fast feedback, and predictable release cycle.

The project

Flypd is an iOS student marketplace application for campuses. Launched at Pepperdine first, it was expanded over the Los Angeles area, including the University of California and the University of Southern California. The project is designed exclusively for college students, so they always know who they are dealing with.

Main Functionality

Trading opportunities: professional product listings, internal chatting and online payments

The app allows users to create product listings with reasonably-sized images and short comprehensive descriptions. Each listing contains information about the price and condition of the item as well as about the seller.

Potential buyers can check the sellers' profiles, read user reviews and look through ratings. There is an integrated chat to connect with the seller and discuss further details online.
The built-in payment system (Stripe) provides an easy way to pay and get paid with a button click

Flypd marketplace app listing

Convenient navigation system and request feed

All products are divided into categories (Electronics, Sports & Leisure, Apparel, etc.) to narrow the search. Another option is to tap on the 'Most recent' button and browse new items.
The request feed feature lets visitors inform their peers what exactly they are looking for. There is an 'I've got it!' button to quickly submit an offer to the request.

Flypd professional listings and categories


Duration: October 2015 - April 2016


  • Project manager
  • Back-end developer

Contract type: Fixed price

Project investment: from $10,000 to $49,999

Technologies & Integrations:

  • Laravel
  • Swift
  • MongoDB
  • Stripe
  • AWS

Project type: Peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile marketplace

Industry: Retail

Country: USA

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