Lifesum is a Swedish digital health startup with the vision to make people healthier and happier by using applied psychology and technology. Founded in 2013 with headquarters in central Stockholm, the company is growing fast and was selected by the Wired UK as one of Stockholm's 10 hottest startups.
We had the chance to speak to Sebastian and Tim from Life Sum's team about the app and their development process.
Can you tell me more about Life Sum?
Lifesum is a Swedish digital health startup that helps clients become healthier by using applied psychology and technology. Founded back in 2008, it was formerly named as Shapers Club where it started off as a simple calories counting tracker addressed to people who wanted lose weight. From then, it evolved to cover weight loss and nutrition through having a digital friend that helps people achieve their goals and habits when it comes to health.
We're currently a team of 65 employees, where we have cross-functional feature teams including developers, designers, QA, performance marketing, support and many other functions. With a series B funding of more than $10 million, Life Sum is currently transitioning from being a startup to a well-renowned organization.
What's most interesting about Life Sum?
Out motivation lies in actually trying to solve a super complex issue. We mainly aim to make it as easy as possible for people to take proactive decisions in their daily life by making healthy life simplified. Life Sum allows people to actually want to use it and work on something constructive where they see effect and results.
How many users do you have so far?
We have almost 26.5 million registered users worldwide on both iOS and Android, as well as a web app.
How do you monetize the app?
The app is free but there is a premium version for specific nutrition and diet plans that many of our users opt-in for.
What's your Tech Stack?
- GitHub: for the code and for trying to sort everything in a good way. We moved all our product decision management in GitHub Projects as well as the bug reporting.
- Xcode & Android Studio for development
How frequently do you ship new builds?
Approximately, we release every other week. However, when there is a huge feature that we are pushing, we test internally and distribute the app to the whole company to send feedback right away.
And how do you prioritize what needs to be built?
We have a quarter plan where we gather users' feedback from the customer service team where we prioritize based on what we can achieve in a specific time period. We also have retrospective every quarter to reflect back on what happened the earlier quarter and then benchmark for the next period with mainly focusing on making our customers happy.
How do you handle beta testing?
It's mainly internal for ad-hoc builds as we have a dedicated QA team that is currently working on testing before each release through manual and automated tests, as well as receiving bug reports on GitHub through Instabug. We sometimes notify some of our enthusiast users to access the beta version but it's very limited.
How do you collect feedback?
We have several ways of collecting feedback from social media, our support team, and conducting in-house experiments and focus groups. However, it's very time consuming to gather the right feedback and to really get to the issue on hand. That's when a colleague of ours who led the mobile team recommended we try out Instabug. We signed up, implemented the SDK, and has been using it ever since.
How did Instabug help with feedback collection and internal testing?
Well, it helped a lot as bug reporting is such a complex, time-consuming process. Instabug made it very simple by attaching images, explaining issues easily, and getting contextual data right inside GitHub where we handle our all our projects and development.
How did Instabug help with GitHub? what's your typical workflow?
We at Life Sum rely heavily on Github for product management and issue handling to ensure transparency and collaboration across the whole company. Our workflow starts when we decide to test a new feature or inspect a specific issue. Our team takes a screenshot, describe the exact issue and then send it. That's when the issues get forwarded automatically to Github where our QA team sorts, labels, and triage the issues to the right teams. It provides excellent insights to the QA team and the ability to handle and control the bug reports and feedback to know how our team is doing.
What features do you use most then?
The integration with GitHub is mainly why we use Instabug. If a colleague working in the marketing or social media teams, they will be able to take a screenshot and send it to us at once which is very convenient and fits our current workflow.
What will be your 2-cents for someone who wants to create their app or startup in general?
Work with what you have and don't overdo it. We are a team of 65 and could easily work with something like Jira and have a tighter process and structure. However, this would cost us time that we would rather spend on building new features and moving faster. Just do what is necessary and scale from there.