How we helped I.G. Advisors create Mesa – the first social network for philanthropy

Categories: Case Studies, Business Insights Date 23-May-2023 4 minutes to read

As their technical partner, we helped I.G. Advisors create a centralized ecosystem to unify donors within one platform. 

Case Study I.G. Advisors Blog Details (1)

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    Driving thoughtful and informed action within communities of (U)HNWI. Unlocking the strength of social impact by empowering donors to come together to learn, grow and collaborate. By doing so, they can support the most underserved causes in the community. Those are the primary goals of The Mesa, a platform that focuses on connecting high-net-worth individuals. 

    The challenge: Creating a social network for donors

    Research conducted by Wealth-X shows that only 36% of ultra-high-net-worth- individuals (UHNWIs) around the world, with assets higher than $30M in assets, give donations to social issues. A study from the Barclays Private Bank suggests that only half of the non-US HNWIs donate more than 1% of their annual income. 

    Why is this so? Donors find it difficult to connect, learn, and self-organize in the digital ecosystem. While donor networks are excellent at connecting their donors in person, they struggle to find meaningful ways to help them build relationships online. The current solutions on the market do not meet the specific needs of donors and do not have a philanthropic lens.

    Consequently, high-net-worth individuals often do not know where to start when it comes to giving. Our client, I.G. Advisors, an award-winning strategy consultancy specializing in social and environmental change, decided to tackle this problem. They wanted to create a gated and centralized ecosystem to unify donors within one platform. 

    The team: 23-person firepower to make the client’s ideas a reality

    Initially, the client’s team included a project manager and designers. However, they did not have an internal team of developers and software architects. They reached out to Vega IT, looking for an extension of their team. A technical partner that would bring their ideas to life.  

    Our team included 23 people - 11 Software Engineers, 2 Web UI Developers, 2 QAs, a Project Manager, a Scrum Master, 1 DevOps engineer, and two tech advisors. 

    The solution: The first social network for philanthropy, built from scratch

    I.G. Advisors needed a reliable platform co-creator. An experienced team that would bring their initial idea to life. We developed the app from the ground up, having no legacy system as a starting point. That opened opportunities for creativity and innovation.

    The result? We helped the client launch the first social network for philanthropy. 

    A platform that provides gated communities for (U)HNWI donors. Elegant user interface. Smart search. An opportunity to add your branding and colors. Effortless creation of polls and events. Connecting with like-minded individuals. Those are just some of the numerous features of The Mesa. 

    Through an intuitive onboarding experience, donors build profiles to reflect their goals and find peers to collaborate with. The proactive moderator support ensures that each community is a safe space for donors to find philanthropic content relevant to them. By tracking trends, the platform provides insights across communities to drive sectoral change. 

    How we achieved those results

    Knowledge-sharing for efficient product definition 

    The client didn’t have in-house software architects. They needed external support. And that’s exactly where our team added value. As technical partners, we actively participated in decision-making. Our technical expertise and insights were critical in shaping the final product. 

    The implementation of Scrum

    The use of Scrum benefited the platform development on multiple levels. Our team prioritized interactive and incremental product development to ensure consistent delivery of its functionalities in each sprint.

    The team was steadily improving in agility, efficiency, and proactivity with each sprint. We maintained process transparency by having regular meetings with the Scrum Master. This enhanced the communication not only within the team but also with the client. 

    Protecting user data

    The Mesa app is invite-only, meaning only users invited by a super-admin can become community members. Our top priority was to protect sensitive data on the platform, as it contains several growing communities. To ensure this, we developed a mechanism that prevents user data from leaking between communities.

    The full tech stack

    • React
    • .NET
    • PostgreSQL
    • GetStream for chats, feed
    • Keycloak for Identity
    • Sendgrid for emails
    • Geoapify
    • HTML/CSS
    • AWS S3 Service
    • AWS SQS Service
    • AWS SNS Service
    • Typescript
    • Libraries: Redux, ReactQuery, StyledComponents

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