Driving a YCombinator-backed
startup to a scale-up.

  • Role Lead Product Designer
  • Client ExoFreight, US (under the umbrella of Obodo.co.uk)
  • Year 2021-22
My Role
User Experience
User Interface
User Testing
Service Design
Data Visualization

Exo Freight is the Uber of open-deck transportation,

and I've helped them scale up.

In December of 2021, I was given a single, straightforward mission: to develop an app that would make it easier for drivers to sign up for and use the Exo Freight platform — the first managed transportation marketplace built for open deck shippers and carriers. Both of the company's founders, Kurtis and Kris, were extremely pleased with the end result, and they asked me to take on the role of Lead Product Designer for the company for the next few months, up until the time when the reorganized product team was ready to take over. During the following seven months, I had the privilege of working on a variety of day-to-day tasks in addition to developing future solutions that covered all of the requirements of the start-up. As a consequence of this, I was able to bring the product stack to the same level of success as the established business.

Initial task

Optimizing driver onboarding.

Open-deck transportation is a very busy business, and Exo needs to get new drivers to their platform in order to be able to scale their business and stay competitive. Although it may sound very simple, this tool was extremely important in streamlining the ExoFreight operation. Because nearly the entire procedure had been carried out "by hand" up until this point, I was tasked with designing the most effective and time-saving method for information collection. The majority of the time was spent on the wireframing phase, during which we went through three rounds of revisions to ensure that all bases were covered. Following some brief user testing and the creation of a straightforward user interface, we moved on to the development phase of the project.

Getting started as a Lead Designer

Scaling the scale-up.

As previously stated, after completing the initial task, I was requested to take on an interim position as a Lead Product Designer with the purpose of assisting ExoFreight in expanding. After reviewing the whole platform's status, I recommended a redesign of the current product and its design system, to which the cofounders enthusiastically agreed. I began with heuristic analysis, identifying critical areas for improvement in both accessibility and usability, with the added objective of increasing the speed with which Exo's users engage with the app hundreds of times each day.

Key task

Crafting Electronic Data Interchange tool.

Despite being just a single page, this tool has proven incredibly significant in the ExoFreight toolset, enabling operators to make intelligent judgments regarding accepting and dispatching freight requests in a matter of seconds. EDI collects data from market-trusted sources like DAT and Truckstop and overlays it with Exo's historical data points and machine learning forecasts. During the two-week sprint, I conducted initial user interviews and multiple iterations to determine the best way to display all of the necessary information on a single screen while remaining as flexible as possible to meet the needs of various users — some of whom needed to make quick decisions about accepting an offer and others who needed to oversee the entire landscape. The data visualization tool also needed to be adaptable enough to be employed in a variety of situations when a rapid overview is required — creating it in a collapsible form helped accomplish that goal.

Elevating what's already there

Details make all the difference.

During my time at ExoFreight, I was tasked with doing a lot of research into preexisting components, modules, and templates to discover places where they might be enhanced, as well as evaluating what was currently in the product stack and elevating the product with a newly updated design system. My work on the Load Management for the Internal TMS (Transportation Management System) is a good example of this kind of assignment. Once again, I was faced with an overwhelming amount of data, so I focused my efforts on information architecture in order to isolate the most important details and present them in a visually striking way while maintaining a basic overall design. In addition, I've rethought the complete route map strategy to provide crucial details in a more simplified way.

One more step

Creating a carrier portal.

After I had helped with a few other initiatives for ExoFreight, we circled back to the first one to see if there was anything we could improve upon, and the consensus was that we should make the drivers more independent in their own service. The primary goal was to reduce the time spent on administrative activities such as payments, driver account management, and making the switch from the contact-and-arrangement technique to the review-and-selection method. The new site for carriers (drivers) in both public and registered access was created, tested, and handed over by me in a space of 4 weeks. We implemented a database of preferred routes and items of equipment to provide customized results for available gigs, and we managed all of our financial records. To make things easier for drivers on the go, we've streamlined passwordless logging.

7 months later

What exactly was accomplished.

During my tenure at ExoFreight, I worked on a variety of tasks, some large and others minor, where I assisted the development team and oversaw the quality assurance of the front-end development. Once the new product team was in place, I assisted them in transitioning and handing over the work completed in prior months. The product transitioned from a startup to a scale-up phase. Soon after, Exo reported that the company had received $15 million in a Series A fundraising led by Left Lane Capital, with Detroit Venture Partners participating. Since the initial funding round in June 2021, they have achieved 33% month-over-month revenue growth and are presently working with over 50 enterprise shippers.


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