About Kurbo Health
Kurbo Health provides the only mobile health-coaching solution designed specifically to help children and families lose weight and develop healthy eating habits. The program empowers participants to learn better eating habits, increase their activity levels and take control of their weight. Kurbo licensed the Stanford University pediatric weight control program and turned it into a mobile platform. The result is a high-tech, high-touch program that is achieving exceptional outcomes. Kurbo Health enables employers, health plans, and providers to achieve outstanding weight management outcomes for children and their families. For more information, please visit www.kurbo.com.
The Goal: Quickly Grow Kurbo’s Mobile Engineering Team
Kurbo Health was growing rapidly as a company, boosted by a $5.8 million round of funding in 2014. To support the existing high demand for its technology, the creation of new features and the bandwidth to grow its customer base, the company needed to quickly scale its engineering team. This design wasn’t based on a single project. Instead, Kurbo was looking for outside engineers specializing in mobile that could completely integrate with their internal developer team and work long-term on initiatives of all sizes, from large projects to fixing tiny app bugs.
The Challenge: Creating a Seamless Extension of Kurbo’s Team
Kurbo wanted to be able to scale the company quickly when the need arose and recognized that hiring high-quality developers in Silicon Valley would be very difficult due to the continued shortage of software engineers and fierce competition from other companies. To solve this issue, Kurbo considered the option of working with international outside consultants.
Kurbo had worked with contractors in the past but they were all U.S.-based, and they didn’t want to use a standard offshore development company. Mark Vershel, the co-founder and CTO at Kurbo Health, said, “We realized that a ‘low cost’ consultancy provider was not the best option for us. Instead, we were looking to hire very high quality engineers with deep mobile expertise that could ramp up quickly, seamlessly integrate with our team and hit the ground running.” Unlike many offshoring arrangements, Kurbo wanted engineers that committed for the long-term as opposed to a “one-and-done” project-based team. In addition, they were looking for a consultancy firm with the flexibility to rapidly scale if need be.
Why Gemini Solutions?
Gemini Solutions is known for its high-quality engineering team that supports high-profile projects at industry-leading global companies. Vershel had crossed paths with Gemini’s CEO Theo Nissim in Silicon Valley several times and heard about other companies who had positive experiences working with Gemini. Gemini’s skilled engineers were very knowledgeable on all aspects of mobile development and could work independently without needing micromanagement. Kurbo appreciated that Gemini had an executive presence in Silicon Valley and that their Romanian-based engineers had the same Silicon Valley mentality, making for a good cultural fit. Gemini’s team of more than 100 engineers also offered the opportunity for Kurbo to easily and quickly scale as necessary.
Vershel noted, “I wanted high-quality mobile engineers that could integrate completely with our internal engineering team and be self-sufficient. I found that Gemini could gave me an opportunity similar to hiring an engineer locally, but their engineers were of even higher quality than local engineers at the same cost, which ultimately drove our decision to work with them.”
The Results: A Trusted, Long-term Partnership
Gemini Solutions and Kurbo Health began working together in 2015. Within a few weeks, Gemini’s engineers fully integrated with the Kurbo team and were up and running with no issues. Gemini became a true extension of Kurbo’s internal team and quickly adapted to their nuances. Gemini’s engineers were a close cultural fit and Vershel remarked, “They are just as experienced as local engineers but happen to live in Romania. Their English is great, we’ve never had any issues with the time zone difference and we are happy to have these truly skilled engineers working with us. We haven’t missed a beat.”
Vershel noted, “Gemini’s engineers are great people and highly talented engineers. I don’t think of Gemini as just a “body shop” or a separate entity – they’re a seamless part of our team. They attend our group meetings and our internal team feels as if they are co-workers, not contractors. They have high integrity and the quality and speed of their work more than makes up for the fact that they aren’t physically in our office.”
Together, Kurbo and Gemini have developed and launched major new features to Kurbo’s mobile health app. Gemini’s engineers are closely involved on a design level and the team has been able to scale when more engineers are needed. Kurbo has also been pleased with Gemini’s ability to work as independently as any engineer that they could have hired in the Bay Area. “Gemini owns the projects they work on and will go the extra mile when something is needed. That’s a huge difference between Gemini and other contracting firms. I know I can also rely on Gemini if I need more engineers as we continue to grow, which will save us months of time trying to hire someone locally,” said Vershel.
Vershel believes that Gemini’s efforts have helped enhance Kurbo’s offerings and create a strong foundation for future innovation as Kurbo continues to grow. “We needed to expand our engineering team and Gemini’s engineers are a pleasure to work with. Gemini is the best overseas consultant firm that I’ve ever hired, we’ve been very impressed by their work and we’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with them. It’s a no-brainer!”