How Firstbird Quickly Scaled its Front-End Development Team


Firstbird needed a new version of its referral platform. Back-end development was covered by an on-site team, but Firstbird needed assistance with the front-end development and design.

“Our initial discussions with Squads were interesting. Their concept of a full-stack developer network of networks was new to us and we were a bit skeptical,” said Arnim Wahls, CEO. “We pitched the Firstbird product vision to the Squads front-end team and we were pleasantly surprised when they came back with some recommendations we had not considered.”

According to Iryna Evseeva, Squads project lead, “the deadline was tough – it was required to build a scalable first version from mockups in 6 months because the media highlight was planned for the launch. We were up for the challenge and provided help where it was needed.”

The primary Squads team consisted of the following FTE roles:

  • Project Lead

  • Front End Developers (x2)

  • UI/UX Designer

Additional talent was available on an ‘as-needed’ basis, including:

  • Testing

  • Ad hoc support from back-end engineers until FirstBird hired their own on-site team


“Unlike traditional consulting projects, we embedded directly with the FirstBird development team and reported directly to the CTO,” said Iryna. “The start-up environment is always a challenge, but they gave us the full freedom to do what we needed to do - to use any technology we needed to get the job done the right way. We went with Angular for a number of reasons - it also made it easier for us to recruit and build our team because everyone (at the time) wanted to work on Angular projects.”

The Squads team and the FirstBird team defined the critical features required for the launch and then we did a deep dive on design.

“We spent a lot of time before any real development took place thinking through the various usability challenges and issues. Once everyone was clear, development started,” said Iryna. “We agreed on short weekly sprints, sync’d often, and retros to verify the direction of movement. On the go, Firstbird also hired several on-site front-end developers which we integrated into the process and helped to pick up the pace.”

The launch took place as planned on the 1st of March (2016) in Berlin. In total, the development of the first version took 6 months. We still continue to cooperate with and help Firstbird develop their products.

Arnim Wahls


I needed a front-end team fast, we had a drop-deadline that we couldn’t miss, and being in Berlin, competition for talent was cut-throat — salaries were high and we couldn’t afford the risk of a bad hire.

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Arnim Wahls