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Selling t-shirts at massive scale

a wireframe of a t-shirt creation prototype

High-growth startup

  • E-commerce
  • Custom apparel
  • Ruby on Rails
  • MySQL

$58M+

Venture capital raised

217

Product releases per year

10M+

Monthly site visitors

Problem

Like most startups, the team at Teespring were building fast and furious; pushing code as quickly as they could to build the new features their rapidly expanding customer base were asking for. The e-commerce site that enabled individuals to design and sell custom apparel had a small engineering team, and while they were about to experience massive success, the existing codebase wasn’t built with meteoric growth in mind.

ALT GOES HERE

Working across three separate platforms to migrate their PHP code-base to Ruby on Rails, Teespring required a way to ramp-up their team overnight with experienced Ruby on Rails developers who could support completing the migration quickly in order to roll-out new features on a regular basis.

Assessment

Teespring brought us onboard to gain speed, as well as to gain knowledge and experience to guide the architecture of their new Ruby on Rails code base. They were experiencing the effects of technical debt; making incremental releases difficult without unknowingly introducing bugs in other areas.

Teespring’s CEO, Walker, who was already familiar with MojoTech’s CEO and CTO, having been mentored by both in year’s past, had rock-solid confidence in our experience in executing on similar problems where a migration, technical debt cleanup and new feature development needed to be accomplished in parallel.

MojoTech knew the right approach to take to segment the work in a way that made maintaining two separate codebases for the same product possible.

A crushing mountain of tech-debt

Progress

MojoTech initially added an additional “team strength” of five developers to provide additional support in terms of manpower. Part of the team focused explicitly on aiding the effort to migrate the code base from PHP to Ruby on Rails while the rest of the team helped to define and build new features in the code that had already been migrated to advance the platform.

Additionally, as a startup, Teespring had limited processes in place for helping prioritize work in order to ensure that the right things were being focused on at the right time. MojoTech helped to implement an agile sprint process that focused on maintaining the right prioritization and balance across initiatives.

The Teespring planning process

Results

In partnering with MojoTech, Teespring was able to focus their efforts on building out features and enhancements without the specter of issues at scale. Supporting a complete rewrite of the codebase, setting up processes for prioritization, and building internal tooling to provide better service to their customers paid dividends in the end.

Teespring made headlines, securing $58 million in venture capital, with contributions from heavyweights Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. The company has since moved to Silicon Valley, signed a partnership deal with the NFL, and has its sights set on global expansion.

“They [MojoTech] were the difference between us being able to maintain a tremendously fast growth rate and completely falling off the horse. They've built tools that allowed us to sustain a growth rate of several hundred percent.”
Sharon Burt,  Director of Internal Products at Teespring

Sharon Burt

Director of Internal Products, Teespring

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