FundFace - (Coherra)

Connecting asset managers with investors

What if

Fund Managers could display their investment fund in a more engaging way

Quick Vocabulary Guide


Read Time ~ 16 min
UX & UI Design
Design System
Product Strategy
Product Management
User Research

I joined Coherra when its first product (FundFace) was in the early conceptual stage. The development team consisted of 2 frontend developers, CTO, and me as the sole product designer. My role was to spearhead the product development. This was in terms of translating user research to actual designs and setting the product strategy in collaboration with stakeholders.

The Problem

The asset management industry can be described as a conservative industry in terms of digital solutions. We identified the following problems on the fund managers side:

On the investor side, we identified the following problems

The solution

As a solution, we came up with FundFace, a two-sided video-first platform. It enables fund managers to display their investment funds through videos. Investment funds get their own "fund profile", which gives them the following benefits:

Fund Profile

Fund Profile - "Where to invest" page

Investors can discover investment research videos produced by the investment funds. Whenever a fund uploads a video to the "fund profile", it will be automatically pushed to the discovery page where investors can discover the videos.

Discovery Page.
All the videos from the fund gets aggregated here.

Video Player page
Every video has a link to the investment fund which uploaded the video. Every time a fund uploads a video, it drives traffic to its fund page. In short, the videos becomes a tool to distribute their fund.

The process


Our CEO had the vision to build a platform that connected fund managers with investors. This was based on his own experience when he was running his hedge fund. One of the issues he ran into was in terms of the distribution of the investment fund. Banks would often charge hefty fees for distributing his fund.

He imagined a Netflix-like platform for investment funds where investors would be recommended funds depending on the investors on the investor preferences. For the product development, we had his network, experience, and his industry know-how to draw from. Furthermore, fund managers are also professional investors themselves since fund managers handle investment on behalf of their clients.

The next step was to understand both the investors and fund managers so that we afterward could take the concept to actual designs.

User Interviews - Fund Managers

We started by interviewing the fund managers since they were the paying customers in our business model, so it was important to understand them well.

Our interview guide had a particular emphasis on collecting stories. Stories give you the context of the problem they are facing. Furthermore, we didn't want to mention our concept, and instead focusing exploring their daily life and the pain points they were facing to get the best quality of data.

We made the following main findings:

Survey - Investors

With an initial understanding of the fund managers' problems and their way of working. The next step was to get an understanding of investors. We wanted to get a broad overview of the investors' pain points and everyday life related to investing. For that, a survey was an appropriate tool.

With the survey, we wanted to keep it short, so that people were willing to complete it. Along with a few questions about how they work, we also asked very few demographic questions like "how long they have been investing" and whether they were retail, qualified, institutional investor. Finally, at the end of the survey, we asked if they were willing to be contacted by us.

We shared the survey on social media investing groups, with friends, and family, receiving 55 responses (36 international + 19 danish investors).

From the user research so far, it was clear that were communication issues. Fund managers were simply speaking over investors' heads. With trust and transparency being a deciding factor for investing, it would be an issue that a large chunk of investors didn't understand the fund's strategy or the financial terms used to describe the fund. In other words, investment funds were unwillingly opaque, when trust and transparency were deciding factors. Investors need to know what they are investing in.

Early Designs - while waiting for survey results

While we were waiting for the survey results to roll in, we did some early designs.

The aim was to help us conceptualize internally where we were going. In other words, we tried to sketch and later wireframe out different solutions so that we could discuss them internally within the team. The sketch and wireframe design artifacts brought everybody on the same page and served as a tool for discussion.

What we landed on a Netflix-like platform for discovering funds. Here, the investors can browse funds according to their interests and would get recommended funds based on the investors' user activity. We also made a few high-fidelity mock-ups that the sales people could share in slides with potential customers to get feedback.

Fund Discovery page. We received a lot of feedback from potentials investment funds customers. "Could make sense for us if there is a lot of traffic on the platform". Read in the product strategy section to see how we solved that.

Field research - Going to investor events

The next thing we did was conducting on field research by taking an ethnographic approach. The purpose was to get a better understanding of the investing community. Field research gave us to observe and talk to other participants.

We did four field studies. The first two of them were investing for beginner events by Ophelia invest, the third was an event at Saxo bank for more experienced investors, and the last event was an investment for fund managers and investors held by Skagen Fondene.

The field studies were conducted at different times throughout the process. But are collected in this section for ease of reading.

Ophelia Invest event - "CrowdLending Platforms" and "Investment Funds for beginneres" with Sarah Ophelia Møss as moderator

Saxo Bank event - "Gateway to China" with Steen Jakobsen moderating a panel of financial experts talking about their outlook on China

Skagen Fondene event - reception

Skagen Fondene event - Investment talk by Nouriel Roubini, also known as "Dr. Doom" for predicting financial crisis and being a perma-bear in the media

From the field research we learned the following things:

Interviews - Investors

The next thing we did was to understand investors on a deeper level than we had with our surveys. We used the answers from the survey as the base for our interview guide. In particular, we were interested in digging more into how they did their investment research and discovering new investment opportunities.

The focus was on understanding the investors' problems, rather than presenting them with a solution. In other words, we wanted to know about their pain points, aspiration, and stories about their investing life. This was to get a better picture of who they were,  what motivates them, and them to do what they do.

We conducted interviews with 6 investors and learned the following things:

The findings suggested that were some pain points with consuming investment content. This was problematic because investment research would often be the driver for doing the investment. This also explained the reason that 83% of the survey spent most of their time doing investment research.

Iterating on the concept - pivoting to a video-first platform

Based on that our learning from the interview and surveys, we shifted our concept from discovering funds to discovering investment videos. Simply because investment research videos would be a better way for the funds to get the investors' attention.

Previous design centered around discovering funds

The new design was centered more towards
discovering investment videos

Design System

It was clear that designing the platform would be very UI intensive. For that reason, we decided to start up a design system.

A design system would help us make the designs more easily maintainable, make our designs consistent & efficient, and speed up the UI development. Furthermore, a design system would allow us to structure our designs in a similar fashion to how a React developers would structure their compoenent in the codebase. Thereby making the implementation from design into code easier.

First and foremost, we used the 12 grid column and the 8-point system as the basis for the visual design. We also defined the typography and color scheme.

For the color scheme, we chose white as the base color. The reason being we wanted a neutral color that didn't take attention away from the investment funds' brands.

12 grid columns to help organize content

8-point system. The distance and size of design elements is dividable with eight. Thereby making it easier to choose the distance and size.


Colors scheme

We also created a library of reusable components. This was an ongoing process from which we created new or remove old components. Those decisions were based on what was needed in the new screens/features and what already existed in the design system. Furthermore, we also went through the design system to evaluate the purpose of each component to see if any of them were redundant. The component library gave us the following benefits:

The image shows the current state of the component library, but at the time component library was much smaller. It has been expanded over time as new features have been developed.

A zoomed-in image of how the library was structured. Here we defined the buttons. Variants were added later when the feature was introduced in Figma

Creating a prototype of the platform

The next step was to create a prototype that internal and external stakeholders could interact with. This would give people a better sense of the platform since people can click around. Rather than trying to interpret a static image. In other words, the intention was to use the prototype as a tool for communication, but more importantly, it was for tool testing.

Feedback from investors

We shared the prototype with the same investors we interviewed earlier to get feedback. The purpose was to examine whether we were in the right direction in terms of the value proposition. During the feedback sessions, we reminded participants that they shouldn't hold back on their feedback and that everything could be easily be changed.

Then we made the following main findings:

Feedback from Fund managers

We also shared the prototype with fund managers to get feedback. The purpose was to learn how saw themselves on the platform and how it fitted into their daily work.

Product / Platform Strategy - focus on scale-independent features

However, there was still a problem. We kept hearing that from potential customers that "the platform would make much sense if there is traffic coming into". Similarly, the feedback from investor users showed that the platform only was valuable to them if there was enough content. This was very much a chicken or the egg problem. Fund managers only want to join if there are investors and investors only want to join if there are enough funds on the platform.

We took inspiration from the Harvard online course "scaling for underdogs" and the Platform Revolution book  to shape our strategy. In the Harvard business case study, they examined how smaller companies were able to beat much larger and more established. What they found was that the smaller innovative companies were focusing on scale-independent features. Simply, because that scale-dependent features would derive their value from having a large user base, which is what larger companies usually have.

For example, OpenDining started as a booking system for restaurants. The value of their product was independent of have many users they had. Once they reached a critical mass of restaurants, OpenDining became a platform for discovering new restaurants.

Our idea was to reach a critical mass of funds (each having a fund page) before turning the product into a platform. Firstly, it would generate revenue while we were gathering a critical mass of funds. Thereby extending our capital runway. Secondly, it would decrease the technical scope of implementation. Thereby bringing us faster to us to market.

Iterating on the fund page

Based on the new strategy with a focus on scale-independent features, we decided to spend more time on designing the fund page. The reason being is that the fund page could offer value on its own regardless of how many investors were using our product. The fund page is ( in platform revolution terminology ) the value unit. The value unit is the information being offered by the producer (the fund manager) to engage with the user (the investor). In other words, it is what the investors are coming for.

While it might not be as a appealing a full fledge platform that generates leads, we believed that the fund page could still be attractive for fund managers for the following reasons:

While the investors can no longer discover new funds from the get-go, many of the value propositions remains the same: 

Everything about the fund is collected in the same place, making it easier to find everything related to the fund. In that sense, the fund page function as a hub.

A twitter*like feed where a fund could update with the latest news.

A feature filtering the audience based on investor type. Thereby allowing fund managers to choose who can see their content

Request from sales

We had the salespeople share the concepts with potential customers as "upcoming features". Firstly, it would give the sales team more ammunition to sell as requested from their side. Secondly, we can see how potential customers would respond to the upcoming features.

It soon became clear that one of the "upcoming features" caught more attention than the others. An audience filtering so that fund managers could choose which type of investors would be allowed to the content. This led to the salespeople requesting that the feature be prioritized.

Hearing the response the salespeople were getting on that feature, we decided to talk to the potential customers to understand why they were intrigued by that feature. We learned that due to compliance, some investments (e.g. Hedge Funds ) are not allowed to market themselves or give financial advice to retail investors. If a retail investor loses money based on the hedge fund's content, he/she can sue the hedge fund. Even if the asset management company has a good case, they still have to pay for a lawyer and meet up in court. For that reason, some fund managers would be very anxious about where the content lands.

Conducting Usability Tests

We conducted 5 usability tests with investor users. According to Jakob Nielsen ( leading usability expert ), 4-5 users is the ideal number, everything after that offers diminishing returns. The purpose was to uncover any usability issues and understand the users' preferences.

For that, we prepared a list of tasks that a real user would perform (e.g. watching a video, finding a factsheet, etc.). We also reminded participants that we, to keep them be relaxed and act naturally. During the test, the participants were asked to"think out loud". Meanwhile, we would observe and note down if they were able to perform the task.

Finally, the frontend devs were invited in to watch the usability tests so that they could get a sense of a how a user would interact with the product.

Before the usability test (example).
Issues with the tab bar. 1 ) It is difficult for test participants to find it. 2 ) Test participants were unsure what the tab buttons meant. There was no label on any of the buttons.

After the usability test, we changed the tab bar. Icons are accompanied by labels. The tab bar takes is also more prominent, making it easier to spot.


At the time of the writing, we to onboarded +120 funds subscribing for $1000/year for a fund profile. Some of them pay for 2-3 fund profiles. Our list of customers includes fund managers from all over the world and within every asset class. They range from small one-man shops to notable asset management companies ones such as Franklin Templeton with a 1.5 trillion AUM. We also increase of saw an increase from 1-2 funds to 3-5 funds every month.

Lessons Learned

Strategize based on resources available

When you are a small company, it's important not to play a big company's game. As a small company, you have to play your strength (making decisions fast) and tried to mitigate our weaknesses (lack of distribution and brand awareness). We decided to play around with our weaknesses by focusing on scale-independent features. Rather than focusing on scale, which larger companies are better at.

Learning the Lingo & becoming part of the "tribe"

I tried to spend a lot of effort immersing myself in the investing world to better understand them from an ethnographic point of view. First, I studied the lingo, so I could move the conversation. Secondly, I invested a large chunk of my savings into investment funds and some of them into one of our customers' investment funds. This created strong empathy for the users I was designing for. When the users were describing an experience or feeling, I knew exactly what they meant. This was very important when designing for domain as intricate as the financial sector.

Relying on team members domain expertise

I always believed that you as a designer never had the answers to the product-related problem. That has never been more true than during my time at Coherra. When I started, I didn't even know what an investment fund was! I realized pretty quickly that I needed to utilize my team members' knowledge, especially those who had experience within the financial industry. In particularly, how the financial industry

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