Kindo

Kindo is a global, localised web application with users in 150+ countries, in 17 languages, with a multi-national team based around the world

I co-founded the social network with 3 colleagues in early 2007. It’s a venture capital backed startup that enables families to keep in touch and provides an interface for members to discover new relatives as well as catch up with old ones.

In my role as CTO I recruited a tight knit team of talented developers and managed the design and build of a sophisticated social network application. Anyone who’s familiar with the complex relationships expressed in genealogical graphs will know what I’m talking about.

Kindo allows you to build your family tree in minutes, using the intuitive graphical interface you can add relatives and invite them to join your tree by email, or import contacts from any web-based email provider. The activity stream keeps you posted of who’s done what in the family, which invitations were sent, and provides updates for birthdays and anniversary and status messages. The photo album makes it easy to share photos with family. The profile tools allow users to build detailed information about themselves and their past, providing a means for family members to get to know each other better. The network is integrated with context sensitive gift suggestions, and family members are alerted when an upcoming birthday or anniversary is approaching.

While building Kindo my team was met with many steep challenges which we took in our stride, in many cases pushing web techniques beyond established boundaries in order to solve a problem elegantly. One such example is the Flash/Javascript/Ajax tree builder interface at the heart of Kindo, recognised by many as being the best of its kind amongst industry competitors like Verwandt, Geni and Genoom.

Highlights

  • Reached a million profiles in less than 10 weeks
  • Scaled to 38k new profiles/day
  • Sold for 7 figures after less than 1 year live

Notable Achievements

  • Built a highly scalable web2.0 social network application enabling users to discover family history and keep in touch
  • Assembled a top team of developers who were impressively productive and took pride in their work
  • Received coverage in top tech journals like TechCrunchMashableRev2The Guardian and Webware
  • Voted one of the most promising UK startups of 2008 by First Tuesday
  • Ensured all applications were built on Open Source software and conformed with Open Standards
  • Created an internationalisation module that enabled our team to translate the site into 14 languages in 12 weeks, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian. At the time of writing the language count has risen to 17
  • Setup a network of linked services that gathered detailed attention data, managed member notifications and handled customer service requests
  • Designed an SEO system that built hundreds of thousands of web pages derived from surname databases and cached the results as flat files
  • Implemented an agile development environment that included automated unit and functional testing, one-keystroke deployments, and rapid product iterations following the Scrum process and managed in Trac

Technologies Used

  • PHP5 — the team created modules run on the Seagull platform for managing family trees, media, statistics, invitations, contact importing, GEDCOM import/export, gift suggestions, family news and translation
  • MySQL5 — using all advanced features ie views, procedures and triggers
  • Graphviz — used for building family tree graphs
  • ActionScript — for programming the interactivity in the Flash tree builder interface

We Develop iPhone and iPad Apps