Meeting Challenges with Agility: 2020 Year in Review

Adriana Campoy
November 30, 2020

At sophilabs, we're closing another year together with many exciting new projects under our belt. 2020 has been a challenging year worldwide, and we're happy to have been able to provide the accommodations and support that has kept our team safe while allowing us to continue to collaborate effectively. We couldn't be prouder of our team members, who adapted to changing circumstances and delivered excellent results to our clients.

Growth in Remote Mode

In response to the global pandemic, we successfully transitioned our entire company into remote mode in mid-March. Our experience collaborating across offices in Brooklyn and Montevideo, as well as the remote work policy we already had in place, helped us make this change smoothly while still prioritizing teamwork and connection.

Our team poses for a photo during a weekly company-wide meeting in May.
Our team poses for a photo during a weekly company-wide meeting in May.

We started expanding our team across South America, welcoming new talent from Colombia and Argentina. It's been a great privilege to see sophilabs' team grow by 45% even during a worldwide economic downturn. We're especially looking forward to the new collaborations that will be facilitated by our distributed team, as our Colombian team members are conveniently located in the same time zone as the east coast of the U.S.

Building Strong Relationships

In 2020, we continued our partnerships with Pfizer, Amgen, MonkeyLearn, and Factr, as well as long-time clients Cobbl and Oxford Economics. We were also enthusiastic about working with CareerVillage again, helping them fix bugs and add new functionality to their career advice platform. This year brought interesting collaborations with seven new customers, including SaaS logistics company Advent eModal; Moneythink, a college financial coaching nonprofit; and Actual, an important provider of film production tools. We currently have 32 active projects, and we'll continue to do our best work in 2021.

Products Launched in 2020

There's no better way to reflect back on our year at sophilabs than to take a look at what we've built together with our clients. Here are some highlights of our results:

In August, we launched Empty Manager, an application provided by Advent eModal that streamlines the exchange of empty container equipment between trucking companies.

Empty Manager makes it easy to find empty containers that fit users' requirements.
Empty Manager makes it easy to find empty containers that fit users' requirements.

The app, which we built from scratch, allows an import trucking company to publish an empty container as available for street turn, while an export trucking company can search for available equipment in their area. This solution simplifies and accelerates the flow of cargo across the intermodal supply chain.

We also created a global production radar app for Actual. This platform allows film producers looking to shoot abroad to determine the status of government restrictions due to COVID-19.

Film production teams can use this app to find out where and how they can shoot abroad.
Film production teams can use this app to find out where and how they can shoot abroad.

Users can track public health data, currency exchange rates, and industry-specific information like equipment availability and maximum crew size. Users can also suggest updates to the information on the app. We truly enjoyed making a tool that helps the film industry adapt to this year's many challenges.

We also launched a free word cloud generator with MonkeyLearn, a tech company focused on machine learning solutions. The word cloud generator allows users to glean insights on unstructured textual data like product reviews by detecting recurring themes.

A word cloud made out of reviews of sophilabs on Clutch.co
A word cloud made out of reviews of sophilabs on Clutch.co

We created the front end from the ground up using React, delivering an intuitive interface that makes it simple for users to understand the tool and take advantage of the qualitative data visualization that it offers. In addition, we made a server-side interface to help MonkeyLearn manage the product's backend.

We also built a website for DebateDrills, a company that provides online tutoring for students who want to sharpen their academic debate skills.

The new site has helped DebateDrills attract more clients.
The new site has helped DebateDrills attract more clients.

Their website now has essential functionalities like membership, private groups, and the ability to integrate classes offered on their website with Zoom. This allows DebateDrills to operate successfully and help students excel at academic debate.

Helping Nonprofits Fulfill Their Missions

We launched several products this year with our clients in the nonprofit sector, enabling them to use technology to make a positive impact.

We worked with Tarjimly to create a mobile app that connects refugees and humanitarian aid workers with volunteer translators. The conversational interface we built makes it simple for displaced people to access quality language services.

Tarjimly's mobile interface knocks down language barriers in the world of humanitarian aid.
Tarjimly's mobile interface knocks down language barriers in the world of humanitarian aid.

Offering 24/7 support in over 80 different languages, Tarjimly is currently the most accessible translation service in the world.

In the field of arts and culture, we built a beautiful new website for Smalls Jazz Club. They especially needed to make their website accessible to blind and visually impaired users in order to better reach their audience. We made sure that all features are perceivable and operable for blind users, and we ensured that everything is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers.

The SmallsLIVE home page
The SmallsLIVE home page

Their new website proved essential to the way they continue to nurture the jazz community during the COVID-19 pandemic. They currently host performances for an empty house and live stream them; you can read more about it in the New York Times. In addition, their new website has facilitated a great amount of support from jazz fans, including a $25,000 donation from musician Billy Joel.

Working side-by-side with Moneythink, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students make informed decisions about their college finances, we built the web app DecidED. This app helps students get the most out of Moneythink's award comparison tool.

DecidED is a game changer for students looking to invest in their future while minimizing debt.
DecidED is a game changer for students looking to invest in their future while minimizing debt.

DecidED allows students to easily visualize their financial options, empowering them to choose the right college for them. In addition, academic advisors can use DecideED's college affordability dashboard to support students through their decision-making process.

Looking Forward to Achieving More Together

As we wrap up 2020, we're grateful for the tremendous effort our team put towards overcoming obstacles and prioritizing client needs each and every day. We're excited to keep building and strengthening our relationships with our current customers as well as form new partnerships with organizations looking for custom software solutions. If you'd like to find out how we can help you reach your software goals, don't hesitate to get in touch.

We’d love to work with you.

We treat client projects as if they were our own, understanding the underlying needs and astonishing users with the end results.

"Meeting Challenges with Agility: 2020 Year in Review" by Adriana Campoy is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Cover photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production.

Categorized under people & culture / case studies.