Leveraging a lean MVP to launch and learn.

red horizontal rule

The Skimm

Over the last eight years, theSkimm has earned the trust of millennial women though its quippy and easy to digest daily newsletter that integrates culture, politics, tech and more. But the company also knew that there could be additional ways to serve this audience, possibly including the often-intimidating area of financial health. But what exactly does this audience need and does it make sense for theSkimm to be a part of these conversations? The company took a cue from other product-led companies, and let the audience decide.



theSkimm is a company dedicated to helping millennial women live a smarter life. Through a monthly membership, theSkimm provides both skimmable and deeper dive news stories via web, mobile and podcast. Backed by Google Ventures, the company always intended to extend past its core product (the daily newsletter) and offer their audience additional subscription tools to support various aspects of their lives. The website currently offers advice around money, health, careers and other SkimmPicks favorite products, tools and deals.

The Challenge

Millennials are busy, and finding a way to not only connect, but also offer value to this audience can be challenging. theSkimm is a company dedicated to helping busy millennials live smarter in all aspects of their lives. And one key, and sometimes scary aspect of their lives, is saving money. With over seven million subscribers to date, theSkimm was already offering tips and tricks via theSkimm.com website and daily newsletters but was curious if there was an opportunity to also offer handy tools and tips to their customers via a brand new money-specific mobile app. Through their already earned credibility and unique method of support, theSkimm seemed well positioned to offer its users a curation of financial best practices, calculators, saving tips, budget advice, credit card assistance and more, all via a handy app delivered in true skimm fashion. But what they didn’t know for sure was what the audience’s appetite was for such a solution.
The Skimm Money logo and screenshot of dashboard in mobile app.

Our Approach

Working hand-in-hand with Bottle Rocket, theSkimm embarked on the creation of a lean MVP that would bring their vision to life in a way that the audience could leverage it in real-world situations and garner direct feedback from their most valuable asset: their customers. The company’s second digital product, focused on helping their audience improve their overall financial health, was purposefully created quickly and simply, with plans for future iteration and evolution after real learnings could be gathered. By bringing the new product to market in a speedy and lean fashion, the company could collect the maximum amount of validated learnings with minimal cost and effort.
The Skimm Money logo and screenshot of dashboard in mobile app.

With this mentality and vision in mind the new iOS mobile app was created to serve as a financial advisor of sorts for theSkimm’s already highly-engaged audience of millennials, offering up useful and thoughtful tips and tricks on how to save money for large life events from weddings and children to emergency funds for everything in between. The app welcomed you each day with custom, personalized messages to the day of the week or even holiday when relevant, giving users a warm Skimm welcome. Expert assistance was readily available and community support features were built in to help users through trying times or bumps in the road. The app also provided access to important educational information about saving money and offered rewards when users hit key milestones.

The app was created in a goal-oriented fashion and used a self-identified end goal to offer advice on how to get there. Backed by algorithms and financial best practices (credit card rates, how much to save each month, how much you’ll need for a life event, etc.), the app was created to be a helpful, and knowledgeable friend in your pocket. It leveraged simple and easy to understand calculators and friendly language to take the intimidation out of saving money.

Thank you to each member of Skimm Money team for their hard work and contributions to this project. Each team member has been a huge asset to the team.
– Anna Tork
Skimm Money Product Manager 

The lean MVP app went live to the market in July 2020 with a goal to test Skimm Money with their current subscription members. And based on the customer feedback, they are making changes. We believe that what could be at least partially attributed to the current pandemic situation, the target customers’ needs have changed from what was originally anticipated. While saving for large personal events and vacations might have once been a hot focus for millennial women, the need for this type of tool had lessened as individual’s financial situations changed during COVID-19.

By launching this product in true agile fashion and not spending time overbuilding the product prior to its first release, theSkimm was able to validate their value proposition hypothesis while garnering quick learnings and saving time and money.

Millenial woman looking at her phone.
Unlock Growth
red horizontal rule

Experience experts weigh in on their top strategies for our most successful clients.