Apoiio started when I came across an article from the Charlotte Observer sharing how a restaurant had to let go of 85 employees in a short period of time because of the quarantine. The article mentioned that people could help small businesses by purchasing gift cards but just like many other articles, it did not give a tangible way to do it. Apoiio was created to facilitate selling and buying gift cards online.
What it does
Apoiio serves as a marketplace where small businesses in Brazil can quickly sign up and sell gift cards. We made the signup process as easy as possible so business owners can keep focusing on other things. We take care of payment gateways, technology to redeem gift card, and all elements needed to showcase a virtual store to customers. All of this with no marketplace fee.
For customers, Apoiio is an easy and trustworthy way of helping a small business. Through the platform, customers can browse businesses near them, securely add their credit card and receive a trackable gift card upon purchase.
How I built it
Apoiio was built in a few days to offer relief as quickly as possible. My team and I started by creating a business canvas, then determining what the platform should offer, designing the branding, creating a wireframe, and then developing the technology using Bubble.io.
Challenges I ran into
Our team was working on other projects so we had to devote long nights and all of our free time to make this happen. We got stuck in bureaucracy to set up payment gateways and other APIs we needed, so time was a big challenge. Aside from this, most of the technology was built using Bubble to speed up development, so that made us have to find several workarounds due to limitations of its platform.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
My team usually takes 3 months to create projects like this so accomplishing this in a few days was a very inspiring achievement. There's a lot of people suffering with COVID-19 right now, so knowing that we were able to do a tiny bit to help is a very big accomplishment we'll carry on for the rest of our lives.
What I learned
Apart from learning that it's possible to do great work in very few days, I learned many ways that things can be simplified to quickly test ideas. This project helped us to improve the way we look at all our projects.
What's next for Apoiio
Right now we've done a soft launch of the platform. Once the full rollout happens by the end of March 2020, we hope that it can be rapidly adopted by small businesses across Brazil. Our main goal is to help as many businesses as possible, so we'll focus all our efforts moving forward in making this happen as best as we can.