Canada’s largest online bartering community releases a new and improved app

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User Base

300k users

Project Duration

2.5 years


Marketplace, Community

Project Scope

Mobile App Development, Web Development,
Backend & API Development

Key Results
  • 70% reduction in running costs
  • A stable, lean, and perfomant app and a leaner codebase

Bunz is Canada’s largest and most trusted online bartering community. As they continued to grow, Bunz needed a partner to continue developing their mobile and web app and eliminate tech debt.


Bunz needed a stable and improved mobile app, and a digital innovation partner to support them as they iterated through newer and better versions. Bunz needed:

  • New and improved features and bug fixes for its users across web, Android and iOS, with a seamless 5-star experience throughout
  • A partner that could work with them long term to overhaul the app and eliminate tech debt, and respond to their needs as they arose (experimenting with ad-based monetization and SEO optimization)


Bunz chose datarockets for our team’s experience in agile development, native app development (their existing tech stack was native) and our full-stack product development offering. Agile development emphasizes user feedback, rapid iterations and flexibility.

As such we were able to offer Bunz an approach to their project that would allow them to give feedback as development progressed, ensuring new releases were brought to market quickly and Bunz could course correct if needed.

Debugging to get acquainted

To get acquainted with the codebase faster, the team started with bug fixes and minor changes to the codebase. They then moved on to implementing new functionality, addressing high monthly running costs, and stabilizing the system in critical places.

Feature set (Monetization, SEO optimization and others)

The new app integrated ads, offering Bunz a way to explore monetization models by experimenting with ad placements and display strategies to optimize effectiveness without harming the user experience. We also continued work on Bunz’s internal currency (BTZ), wallet and referral bonuses.

It was important for Bunz to have the application grow organically and be optimized for search engines, and we did a lot of work to help search engines understand their user-generated content and rank it properly.

Here are the other key features we worked on:

  • Trading Workflow
  • Wallet
  • Google maps integration, location services and geocoding
  • In-app chat
  • User profiles, likes and comments
  • Advanced search and filtering

Devops & Infrastructure

Infrastructure costs and complexity were problems that needed to be tackled to make the application more sustainable and easier to maintain.

We reviewed existing infrastructure and identified unused services. We optimized Geocoding API usage in mobile applications, reducing costs significantly and migrated from Elastic Beanstalk to Kubernetes, allowing for more effective utilization of computing resources.

New design implementation

Bunz’ new designs were too grand for their old application at this point. Some of the drawbacks of the old application were: clunkiness, feature constraints and difficulty in new feature implementation due to technical limitations, redundancy, significant monthly infrastructure costs (despite some progress), sub-optimal database structure and lack of observability. 

We dialed in an overhaul and a rewrite, introducing the required architecture, implementing their new design by understanding the buyer and seller experience at its core. We added features to enhance the user experience like an updated trade lifecycle, map integration, trade management, richer profiles, in-app chat, ranking and gamification.


We were able to take their old application and new ideas and bring it to a feasible, affordable reality to help them better serve the Canadian online bartering community. 

We condensed the code base by 70% using a scalable architecture. The running costs for the app reduced by 70% ($20K/mo to $6K/mo), and the app on the app store was now 50% leaner (149Mb to 71Mb) with the use Bitcode, removal of a number of third-party SDKs, and optimizing images. They were able to eliminate tech debt and seamlessly transition to a better database model. We introduced test driven development (TDD) and improved test coverage and the overall reliability of their system.

Our work with Bunz has allowed us to envision the scalability of exchanging items and services and we continue to provide leading solutions to Canadian companies and welcome the opportunity to improve and expand their products.

Tech stack

  • Node.js
  • React
  • Kotlin
  • Swift
  • WebSockets
  • PostgreSQL
  • AWS
  • Firebase
  • Elasticsearch
  • Social Auth
  • Redis
  • Twilio
  • New Relic
  • PaperTrail
  • AdMob
  • Google Maps & Places
  • Intercom
  • Sqreen
  • Neutrino API
  • Slack API

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