How Chatra reduced time to market by 2 months and saved $10K

  • industry
    Marketing
  • headquarters
    Wilmington, DE, USA
  • chatra.io
Chatra is live chat software that provides a simple way for business owners to communicate with their website visitors. The company was founded in 2015, when the competition on the market was relatively low. Chatra needed to seize the moment by releasing the product as soon as possible.

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Chatra is a cloud-based live chat platform that helps companies communicate with customers online. It allows users to answer website visitors’ questions or contact them proactively through targeted auto-messages. Personal communication with potential clients allows businesses to collect feedback, capture leads, and eventually boost sales.

Initially built as live chat software for websites, Chatra has become more than that. Today, users can answer emails and Facebook messages directly from the app, and more features are on the way. The team aims to continue adding functionality to enter the helpdesk services market.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Chatra’s chatting functionality covers 99% of users’ needs. We’d like to enter the much bigger and more promising helpdesk solutions market still growing in the chat market.

Since its foundation, the number of Chatra users has been increasing by 35% per year on average. Contrary to expectations, the team itself hasn’t grown. Behind the scenes, there have always been nine full-time employees strongly focused on the application’s development.

Chatra manages to keep a small team by outsourcing as many tasks as possible. Among other things, that includes building and maintaining file management. The application enables user-uploaded avatars and file transfers between users and their websites’ visitors.

When the functionality originally needed to be developed, the founders of Chatra were faced with a common choice: create the infrastructure themselves or implement a third-party service. Having built their own file-handling systems before on previous projects, the Chatra team intimately understood the drawbacks. The initial development would have required about two months and about $10K of investments.

Plus, the service would have to be constantly maintained. Any file-handling infrastructure must stay compatible with the ever-changing browser ecosystem. With an in-house system, Chatra would need to periodically track browser updates and ensure compatibility themselves.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
The problem is compatibility between different browsers. Every week, Chrome and Safari change their version and deliver new updates. Even when we only supported a single browser, we had problems with uploading. This one was updated, this one is a little outdated. Neverending work.

Having already built a similar system on previous projects, Chatra decided to find a reliable partner right away this time. Integrating a ready-made solution would allow the team to launch the product faster, while saving on initial investments and precious developer time.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
We have a very big workload. If we had to maintain file-handling functionality ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to develop our main product in time, which would lead to lost profits.

The Chatra team was expecting their go-to solution to ensure these three elements:

Issues with file transfers could prevent operators from helping real-time visitors place an order. To avoid that, Chatra was looking for a fail-safe infrastructure with guaranteed uptime.

The intuitive interface on both users’ and their customers’ end significantly reduces customer churn and support burden. The team required a user-friendly solution that would look native.

Chatra was looking for a self-scaled infrastructure backed with an enterprise-grade SLA that would run smoothly with an ever-growing user base and bandwidth.

Chatra has been relying on Uploadcare from the outset. At the time they had very limited resources, which made additional development physically impossible.

Solution: Out-of-the-box File Uploader
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
When we founded Chatra, we had minimum financial and human resources, but a keen desire to launch the product as quickly as possible. At the time there were one-and-a-half developers. Uploadcare helped us shorten our time to market.

It started with a simple feature: user-uploaded avatars. Chatra implemented it with Uploadcare in just over a day, including testing time. The operators were now able to welcome potential buyers with the faces of the team, making communication more personal.

Uploadcare allows Chatra’s users to upload their profile photo from a number of sources or simply take it with a webcam. The uploaded image can be further resized in the browser. This additional functionality isn’t something Chatra would have developed if they had chosen to take on file handling.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
When we say that it would’ve taken us two months to build a file-handling system, we don’t mean that it would’ve been equivalent to Uploadcare. It would’ve been a basic solution with minimal options. We wouldn’t’ve even created the functionality that Uploadcare gives to our users.

A year later, Chatra decided to add file transfers to their chat widget so website visitors and operators could exchange media, such as screenshots of webpages. This is especially useful when solving customers’ issues. Once again, the quick and straightforward integration helped save developer time, which is like gold dust to the company.

Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
At Chatra, we use Uploadcare to process all of our files. Developer time is a precious resource in our company. For us, it’s much better to pay for a service than to have our own team build something that has already been built extremely well.

By relying on Uploadcare from the very beginning, Chatra saved developer time. Rather than building custom file-handling functionality from scratch, the team focused on the core application instead. As a result, Chatra was able to fill the market niche by releasing quality software just in time.

Chatra Results

Back in 2015, Chatra was a young software startup company with limited financial and development resources. They were eager to appear on the market as quickly as possible, yet without sacrificing the quality of the product. To do that, the team decided to focus all its efforts on the application and find a reliable partner for file management.

Integrating Uploadcare allowed Chatra to save about $10K of initial investments. Plus, the developers gained two months that they would have spent on building a similar solution otherwise. The company was able to reduce time to market and seize the right moment to launch.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
We are a very small team of experienced developers. For us, each minute, each hour, really means a lot. We’re already overloaded with tasks, and with ideas, so we’re really happy that we can just forget about file handling.

With Uploadcare, Chatra saves on indirect costs. The “set-and-forget” infrastructure doesn’t require any maintenance burden. The team doesn’t have to worry about implementing additional functionality as needed and staying compatible with a constantly shifting browser ecosystem.

Chatra can use the time saved on developing new features and maintaining the core functionality. Promptly updating the product helps the company avoid lost profits.

Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
There is not only the cost of initial development, there is the cost of support. Uploadcare allows us to save on the initial development, but it also saves us from a lot of pain supporting all of that functionality.

Uploadcare’s infrastructure was first battle-tested years before Chatra was created. It’s backed up by a reliable file hosting and content delivery network. The 99.9% uptime saves users trouble and reduces the pressure on Chatra’s support team, which has only three specialists for 40,000 active users.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
I don’t remember the service ever not working. There are no downtimes, so the clients never complain. It’s unclear whether an in-house solution would have been just as reliable.

Uploadcare is an end-to-end cloud platform that provides a next-gen infrastructure for file handling. It can cover any part of the media pipeline or all of them at once:

  • One of the world’s fastest File Uploaders
  • Automated secure Smart Storage
  • AI-driven Image Transformations Engine
  • Proprietary designed Visual Intelligence Algorithms
  • Adaptive Delivery solution