Bestinvest: Investing in the future with Capacitor
How power investment platform Bestinvest released its first-ever mobile app with Capacitor
Bestinvest is an online, direct-to-consumer investment platform and financial coaching service. It is part of Evelyn Partners, the UK’s leading integrated wealth management and professional services group, granting Bestinvest clients access to Evelyn Partners’ extensive research, expertise and tools.
Historically, customers accessed Bestinvest through the website which was optimized for both desktop and mobile. To make it simpler and easier for clients to manage their investments, Bestinvest decided to launch its first mobile app. They leveraged the help of technology consulting firm Credera to make it happen.
The two companies partnered to create the Bestinvest app, which enables new users to open accounts and current customers to track their investment performance, trade funds and shares, access best-in-class investment projection tooling and book time with financial coaches to plan ahead for their best financial future.
Credera knew that they needed to create a hybrid app that would work seamlessly across users’ devices - and fast. A lot of investment had already gone into creating a brand new desktop and mobile website that was feature-rich. With a tight deadline (of around 6 months), the team had to decide between a greenfield React Native or greenfield Capacitor mobile app to mirror the functionality of the existing site. With time constraints in mind, they decided to leverage their initial React-based web application and build on it with Capacitor. Thanks to Capacitor’s code reusability, the team was not starting completely from scratch and they could still leverage the app’s existing features.
“Customers wanted an app, the client didn’t have that presence, but they didn’t want to compromise on the current amount of features available on the website.” - Stephen Traynor, Solutions Architect, Credera
The team performed a month-long spike exercise to evaluate their options. The team was split into two: one team focused on building with React Native, while the other focused on using Capacitor to wrap their existing web application. Both teams were tasked with delivering the same functionality and features. Ultimately, the Capacitor team was able to get more done in the allotted time and, with speed to market the client's priority, the Credera team decided to go forward with Capacitor.
Credera used Capacitor to wrap their existing web application and turn it into a mobile app for iOS and Android. Since the Bestinvest app would manage sensitive financial data, security was paramount. The team used Capacitor’s enterprise support and security plugins to ensure that top-tier security was baked into the app from the outset.
“If we use React Native, it's all open source, vs. having enterprise support” - Martin Jones, Sr. Software Engineer, Credera
The team uses Identity Vault, one of Ionic's enterprise security plugins, for biometric authentication within the app. This ensures that client's personal and financial information is protected. In combination with a proprietary authentication solution, clients using Bestinvest can rest easy knowing that their data is secure.
Since they needed to work fast, Credera wanted to ensure the fastest shipping cadence possible, without compromising on app quality. They also wanted to be able to fix bugs as they arose, getting updates in front of customers quickly. The perfect solution to doing both? Appflow.
The team briefly considered building their own continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) solution; however, since Credera would ultimately hand management of the Bestinvest app over to the Evelyn Partners team, they wanted a solution with minimal upkeep. With Appflow, the Evelyn Partners team would be able to take ownership quickly, without needing a DevOps expert on hand.
Appflow was very easy to get working - it was quite straightforward.Stephen Traynor, Solutions Architect, Credera
Appflow also enabled the team to release to app stores faster than ever, especially once they added Live Updates. Now, they could fix bugs as they arose and push those updates directly to users' devices.
“Having a mechanism that would let us release to the stores quickly - that was a main driver to using Ionic” - Stephen Traynor
Credera was able to deliver the Bestinvest application and successfully run alpha and beta rounds before sending the application to the app stores in December of 2022. In just over 6 months, the team was able to build, test, deploy, and refine the app, largely because of Capacitor’s developer experience. Building with Capacitor was “very easy and intuitive from a tooling perspective,” explained Martin Jones, Sr. Software Engineer, Credera.
By using Appflow for CI/CD, the team was able to improve their release cadence and ultimately shorten the feedback loop with their customers. By getting new features to market quicker, they could see how those features were received by customers and then adjust accordingly.
Since its release, the Bestinvest app has been downloaded over 5,000 times and maintains a 4.9 star rating in the iOS store. It also maintains ‘Excellent’ status on Trustpilot, with over 650 reviews.