Treblle API Talks is a series of interviews we did with our users. We talk about APIs in general, API observability and how Treblle helps them gain much needed context on how their API is performing.
Getting APIece of mind with Checkboard
We had a talk with Antonella Sarubbi, the operation manager and Annarrah Gordon, the project manager at Checkboard. We started by talking about Checkboard as a company. Let’s jump right into it.
So, basically, if you want peace of mind brought to your transactions, you’ll use Checkboard. They are a startup currently mostly working in the property industry in the UK, but as we’ll find out later in the talk, with big plans to expand to other industries.
Simply put, when a transaction between a seller and buyer happens, everyone included in the transaction needs to go through a check. Before, this was all very manual. Checkboard created an app with which you can complete all the necessary steps in 5-10 minutes. This of course saves a lot of admin time, and not only that, it makes the whole verification a lot more accurate.
It all started back in 2020.
Annarrah: “So we kind of started early in the year with the idea of allowing people to view properties by themself. And through that process, we had to verify people very accurately and make sure who were we going to allow to view this property. And that’s why we have such a strong app to allow users to check people who they are without being in their presence. So that’s where the technology kind of came from.
In 2021 we realized that agencies really love the idea of being able to verify people in such a quick way. You just send them a link with no need to fill in their information, and they do it on their behalf. So in September 2021. we launched as a verification platform in the property industry.”
Both Annarrah and Antonella kind of do various work (not always directly related to their respective positions).
Annarrah: “I think roles are an interesting thing. We give ourselves titles and do other stuff anyway. So I call myself a project manager if you want a title, but in terms of what I do I would say a lot of my work is based on testing.”
While we were talking about how business is going Antonella had some great news for us. They’ve just signed on a big contract client so we want to congratulate them in this post as well. We know how big of a step and how important that is in the life of a startup.
Antonella: “Yes. You can feel the difference in these exciting times. That obviously brings a lot of opportunities for improvement. That’s where I and Annarrah work in collaboration. In short, we get feedback from users, we investigate the problems, and that allows us to evolve. It's generally a great thing.
In terms of customer service, we are expanding our team. Currently, we have two new people helping us from South Africa.”
The Tech Side of Things
We also got a glimpse into how everything works from the tech side of things within Checkboard.
Currently, Checkboard is first and foremost an app.
Antonella: “So it’s an actual app. We have it both for iPhone and also Android. We will probably have a web app as well at some point. But because everyone has a smartphone, the world is kind of moving to a direction where things are built based on the question ‘can you have it in an app’, so we first developed it smartphone-optimized.”
When we’re talking developers, Checkboard does have their own in-house dev team, however, they do also use outside contractors, depending on what their needs are at that particular moment.
Annarrah: “Over time we’ve done different things. At the moment, half of our team are technical. So, software developers.”
The team at Checkboard is using PHP (which of course Vedran supports wholeheartedly), and they are also using Flutter and Firebase.
How Treblle helps Checkboard keep things super transparent
From all our efforts to get Treblle to the most relevant audience possible, Checkerboard found us through Instagram. A bit unexpected, but it just goes to show that as a SaaS product you should be present everywhere you can. Of course, our Instagram isn’t our main channel (at all), but it’s nice to hear it does have an impact occasionally.
Annarrah was the one that discovered us. As it usually goes, when a project manager wants to try out a tool like Treblle, they’ll need a bit of help from their developers to set it up.
Vedran asked: “Was it hard for you guys to get your developers to integrate that.”
Annarrah: “No, no! It was very simple. We just told one of our developers, he made his own account and he added it and straight away I saw the benefit of it. So it is very straightforward to implement.”
When we asked about how many API calls do they make when doing a single check (is 1, 3, 5, more), we didn’t get the exact number, but we did get a cute answer from Annarrah:
“O gosh, definitely more than that”
Since we do know Checkboard is on one of our bigger plans, we could’ve guessed that probably (emoji).
Checkboard has to make a number of calls to other APIs. Annarrah has a feeling they could be a bit better optimized:
“It can be quite slow with just trying to get the information back between the server and the app.”
“...out of all the people, out of all the devs, I find Treblle the most useful. Because I am not technical. Just when you get to see what APIs are being called and when, and what the responses are, the fact that you get to see this live is quite interesting.” - Annarrah Gordon
As we said, Annarrah found Treblle on Instagram. When she started using it her eyes were open to a completely new world filled with useful information about what is going on inside the Checkboard’s API.
Annarrah: “It is interesting because out of all the people, out of all the devs, I find it the most useful. Because I am not technical. Just when you get to see what APIs are being called and when, and what the responses are, the fact that you get to see this live is quite interesting.
And just that it gives more transparency on what’s going on.
So in terms of my role, I kind of focus on testing, but more on the technical side. So, I'll dig deep into getting an understanding of what has actually gone wrong.
So when we build out our app we have these predetermined scenarios that we ask for. But when the app gets used these other scenarios pop up that we haven’t tested and then we need to know how they actually happened.
And with Treblle we are able to actually follow how that user has got from A to B. We give the users unique codes, so every API has that code in it, we just search it, and then we can see: ‘OK, all these users have gone through. This user has clicked this button, they called this and this API.’
It really really helps.”
Checking out the future
We asked the Checkboard team if there is something they are especially proud about or something they would highlight as an accomplishment at the moment.
Sure enough, it was the growing number of checks.
Antonella: “One of the things to mention would be the rate at which we’re growing. So currently we are growing at a rate of 100% month over month.”
Annarrah: “Yeah, that’s the thing we are most proud of. We’ve made over 1000 checks this month, and the previous month it was around 500. It is really exciting to see that number increase.”
And what are some plans for the future? Are we going to see Checkboard expanding to other countries and/or markets?
Annarrah: “Next focus is still kind of property industries, but solicitors and mortgage brokers. So it’s still kind of a property industry at the moment.
The thing is, we do have aspirations for other industries but we have to find a way how we can scale quickly.
Before, we were focusing on agents in the property industry, but now we’re looking at solicitors and mortgage brokers.
As far as expanding out the UK, we are planning to enter the European market some time next year.”
We are happy to hear Checkboard having basically a 100% growth month over month (fingers crossed that the momentum keeps going).
Annarrah: “Yes, we are growing quickly. People like the platform. It’s easy to use, so I think that’s why we’re getting this kind of growth.
Also, for the user, there’s an educational element. We present them with ways to manage their finances, and make it easy to understand where their transaction comes from. So, we’re doing these checks but we also want to educate people on their information and keep it secure.”
So there you have it folks. Treblle is heavily involved in a fast growing startup where they rely on Treblle providing them the much needed transparency and observability. They can simply and quickly recreate steps for users that encountered some kind of a problem.
Seeing that Checkboard is growing by a margin of 100% month over month, it seems to be working!
Want to try out Treblle for yourself? Like Annarrah said, it’s super easy to get started, so start! :)
Stay in tune with your APIs.