HoloBuilder is an augmented and virtual reality web platform specifically aimed at the documentation of construction sites. At the heart of the platform is the upload of 360° photos that can be connected to create virtual tours. I joined the project in March 2015 and helped grow the product in a variety of roles for two years.
bitstars GmbH
Team of roughly 20
Mar 2015–Feb 2017
What I was/did
VP of Customer & Data Analytics & Optimization
Team Lead
User Research
Interaction Design
Product Management
Branding & CI
How the process turned out
field research
customer journeys
Floor Plan Feature
lean ux
Data Analytics
lean ux
Persona drafts from May 2015, synthesized from early-stage interviews, field research, and usage data from HoloBuilder's alpha version. Persona #3 already hints slightly into the direction of real estate and construction professionals.
Discovering the Target User.
When I joined HoloBuilder (in their Aachen office), the project was still aimed at whoever owned a 360° camera or simply wanted to create AR/VR content online without the programming effort. A first MVP—the alpha version of the web platform—had just gone online. In the first eight months, we conducted a lot of field research (e.g., in local businesses for which we created virtual tours), interviews, and meetups in order to observe how and why people use the product and to discover suitable use cases. From these insights, we synthesized and iterated on customer journeys as well as various personas for different kinds of 360° camera owners, e.g., professional photographers and tech enthusiasts.

Ultimately, in October 2015, we discovered that virtual tours created with HoloBuilder are particularly useful to real estate agents, while the CEO (in San Francisco) attracted the interest of the construction industry. In the following, the relevant personas were reduced to two—the construction user and the real estate user, for which we designed different landing pages.
Starting in October 2015, HoloBuilder targeted construction professionals. This was accompanied by a complete re-branding.
Designing the Floor Plan Feature.
After construction users had been identified as the primary target audience and the future strategy for the product had been defined, I was the responsible interaction designer for the floor plan feature, which was the first feature demanded by our new target users. The goal was to provide functionality for uploading and displaying floor plans on which the location of the different 360° photos in a virtual tour could be marked (think Google Maps for construction sites).

After eliciting initial requirements in interviews (e.g., the possibility to upload both images and PDFs), in coordination with the responsible graphic designer and software engineer, I created a variety of potential solutions in the form of sketches and storyboards. In the following, we selected the four best ideas and I created medium-fidelity mockups that were presented to the CEO and stakeholders. With the gathered feedback, I revised the mockups in a second iteration, based on which a decision was made. Subsequently, the feature went into production and we implemented an mvp that was in the following incrementally improved using lean ux principles. After I left the company, the floor plan was further extended with the option for multiple floors, among other things. It is still one of the core features of HoloBuilder.
The floor plan feature for construction professionals—from sketch to mockup to MVP.
Company-wide Data Analytics.
Besides the above, my primary responsibility at HoloBuilder was to guarantee the continuous delivery of meaningful data and insights to C-level management and other internal stakeholders. For this I acted as the internal Product Manager (officially VP of Customer & Data Analytics & Optimization) responsible for the design and development of a company-wide data analytics pipeline. In a discovery phase, I first identified my customers within the company—the CEO, the VP of Product, Marketing, Customer Support, and Sales—and conducted interviews to determine initial requirements. In parallel, I researched which data was already available and to be included in the infrastructure. Afterwards, I designed the data analytics pipeline, which was iteratively revised depending on stakeholders' changing requirements. I led a cross-functional team of 4 people that helped with the implementation (embedded into the company's scrum process) and continuous delivery of insights. On a weekly basis, together with the marketing manager, I presented core insights to C-level management and provided recommendations for action based on these. In particular, the data provided by the pipeline was used for iterative improvements of the web platform based on lean ux principles.

In the first year, we could grow daily unique users from less than 100 to approximately 4,500. Also, we could bring down customer acquisition cost from over $10 to less than $2.

As is natural in startup environments, I also had a number of other responsibilities, such as leading a task force for writing a patent and developing the first version of the HoloBuilder brand book, which defined the company's branding and CI.
increase in daily unique users in the first year
decrease in CAC in the first year