Building a B2B marketplace for coffee
Fingo | Cofounder, UI developer | 2013

The idea behind Fingo was to build a Relationship-Based wholesale Marketplace. We created a discovery platform so businesses can connect, build relationships, transact, and streamline operations. We initially started with the coffee industry. We were a team of 4 persons, where Seth started with the idea, and was joined in by Justin. Soon after my frined Ankur joined in and got me in on board.

We had a design team of 2 - While I took care of the UX and frontend development, Justin took care of Interactions & videos.

Listening to the Customer

After we closed our Beta version, our next step was to include analytics to understand about cusotmers. We were using Mixpanel and Crazy Egg to understand what our customers are doing. Our business model was B2B, hence a lot of our design understading was based on qualitative feedback. We had remote interviews with roasters and our buyers. Seth and Justin would go meet these people in person and record those interviews.

These interviews & analytics made us realise that we had been busy building too many features, that we had not been focussing on the tiny problems that our customer were facing. It made us slow down and think of the entire user experience. Based on these understanding, we started redesigning our experience.


After speaking to our customers, we learnt that most of our buyers are mostly discovering coffee and roasters as compared to trying to search for them. These buyers were exploring them based on taste notes, origin, reviews and price.

So we redesigning our marketplace to focus on these aspects. We improved our images and it led to a 17% higher conversion rate from the previous design

Fingo marketplace new
Fingo marketplace old

My friend Justin made this amazing video in c++ to announce the launch of our product.

Product page

As we started getting more roasters on board, we started to have more complexity in the product details. Multiple shipping options, tiered pricing, variants of the same product, roast schedules, grind and roast.

In the process of adding these features, we made a new simple design to accomodate different types of informations

Home page

Coffee was more of an experience that people had in cafe’s. meetips and common areas in companiies. Our home page was focused on recreating these experience.

We added a real video from on of our coffee drinkups and kept the home page relatively simple

Mobile app concept

We had imagined our iOS app but never got around to being able to release it. Our mobile website was based on a similar design

Fingo app
Getting closer to the community

One of our major focus while building Fingo was to be very close to the community. Hence we participated in a lot of tradeshows and coffee drinkup events.

The thing about B2B marketing is that you have to go on knocking door to door to convert people. Digital marketing does not play much role, and when it comes to wholesale, it is usually all about the relationships and trust, which is something you can not easily replicate. We put out our products in front of the cafès and in office buildings for them to try it on along with QR Code to get them to order more.

Fingo marketing
Fingo marketing
Fingo marketing

We had to shut down Fingo at the end of 2013. We couldn't raise the funds required to keep it running. We had applied to YCombinator, 500 startups and a few other incubators but couldn't get through them.

We realised that building a B2B business was much harder than we thought. We kept on building our product and adding features to it. Ideally we should have validated the roadmap at each step, taken feedback over features and then iterated through them. The Perfect product does not exist. It's always iterative and improving upon it. Moreover none of us had any experience in Sales and Marketing and hence we never paid any attention towards it. We failed but it was one hell of a ride