Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the co-founder of Altar Live, a video conference and livestream platform specifically designed for faith communities to present services and meetings online.
What challenge were you trying to address with 923 Digital?
Like a lot of industries, the pandemic rearranged our lives in a significant way. For faith communities, that meant people who gather on a regular basis in person suddenly needed to find a different means of hosting event services and maintaining community and relationships.
We found people were using a cocktail of different platforms to achieve the goals of their community: live streaming on one, video conferencing on another. We wanted to build a platform that could bring everyone and everything together simultaneously.
What was the scope of their involvement?
923 began with market research. They were on a lot of preliminary calls with us as we were beginning to sketch out what it is that churches are already using, the goal they’re trying to achieve, and the areas they’re lacking. We started exploring in tandem different technology platforms, and ended up landing on what we use now, our WebRTC technology.
The next stage was design. We spent a few weeks figuring out a preliminary UX, layouts for screens, and the overall flow of the platform. Once that was finished, 923 started writing code to build our first prototype.
What is the team composition?
I’ve worked with a lot of people from 923, but most of my contact was with Andrew (CEO & Co-Founder), Pavel (Co-Founder), Tanya (Recruiter). We also worked with Ana (Junior Project Manager), and Yulia (Project Manager).
How did you come to work with 923 Digital?
I met Andrew at a work event. We got to talking and I heard more about what 923 does. We stayed in touch, and when the pandemic started to unfold, they immediately came to mind as someone I wanted to work with.
They’re a really agile team, and they’re entrepreneurs at heart. I could trust them to fiercely chase the problem we were trying to solve on our behalf as well.
How much have you invested with them?
We’re at about $280,000 right now.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in May 2020 and did our first full release in December. We’re still working together in phase two.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Our biggest metric was whether or not they understood what we were trying to solve, and 923 hit a home run with that one. They did a lot of upfront work with us to really get to the bottom of what we wanted to accomplish. Any pivots that we’ve made have made a lot of sense, and they’re very responsive to what we’ve learned along the way.
We were also looking at speed of implementation. Even though we’ve done a few pivots, 923 has been able to turn around a lot.
Thirdly, we’ve been getting constant good updates from their project managers and their team on when we can expect certain features, what we’ve learned from customers, and more. Their product managers have been in very close step with us throughout the whole project, and I’ve been really impressed with the level of detail that they paid attention to.
The platform 923 has built for us is top of the line. It’s really well thought out, the UX is awesome, and it feels like a $1,000,000 product for a nonprofit community like ours. We’re really proud to bring it to our customers.
How did 923 Digital perform from a project management standpoint?
Overall, they’re great. We do weekly meetings, or depending on the sprint, sometimes daily meetings. We get updates from project managers so we stay informed.
We’re very synergistic. It’s basically like I’ve doubled the size of my own company by having 923 on board.
What did you find most impressive about them?
923 has a very entrepreneurial spirit. Their company is driven to not just build a product, but to build a product that fulfills our customers’ needs. They’re very involved and have an amazing eye. I feel very confident that the product that I’m giving to my customers is going to make their life better and easier.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I can’t think of anything that feels significant to say they need to improve. I feel incredibly satisfied with 923’s services.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Don’t just give them your checklist, but let them in on the design experience as well. Bring them the problem you’re trying to solve and be honest, because they can give insight and help create a better product with you as a result.
Altar Live is a streaming and video conferencing technology built specifically for hybrid
ministry to increase community engagement. With tools for church leaders to easily present and members to fully participate from home or in-person, the Altar Live solution provides religious communities one platform for all their virtual needs.
As the disruption of COVID-19 caused churches and faith communities to move online, leaders struggled to transfer the church community experience to this new medium. Many found the technical requirements of streaming a sermon for a large group difficult and overly complicated. Those that managed to set up a live stream or video conferencing solution still missed the personal engagements between members that was a key part of bringing the community together.
Using her background in Christian higher education and entrepreneurship, Stephanie reached out to pastors, priests, and faith leaders to discuss the unique problems they faced during these challenging times.
Stephanie worked with us as part of our internally funded ventures so 923 Digital could support a passionate founder serving an important industry. We built a worship platform that allows churches to manage sermons and events through a single tablet or computer. The solution has all the functionality built in to allow church leaders to easily share slides, manage multiple presenters, chat with attendees, and engage with their community.
The most important feature is the online engagement platform, which allows the church to create breakout rooms and lobbies before and after the sermon.
Facilitating personal discussions around their events brought back the community engagement churches had missed since moving online. These communities are brought back together with the tools necessary to make it through COVID with faith.
Altar Live works on Web, Android and IOS. Our combined experience allowed us to build exceptional and creative technology, with a customer-centric focus.