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The Django team behind Chicago start-up Kumbuya.com

Imaginary Landscape has taken Kumbuya.com from a small Django prototype to one of the fastest growing social networking sites in Chicago.

May 25, 2013

Chicago, Ill. –Kumbuya.com is one of the fastest growing startups to emerge from the Chicago start-up community this past year.  In less than six months, the Web-based social network has gone from a fledgling prototype to a well-respected, revenue-generating, up-and-coming destination with 25,000 active members whose numbers are growing fast.

In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Founder and CEO Josh Karp describes Kumbuya as a “social commerce website that unlocks the monetary value of anybody’s social network.”  Originally designed for bloggers and their following, the site has evolved to support anyone who has a particular interest and wants to share it with the world.

“Tribes” are Kumbuya’s term for the sections of the website that can be created and joined by like-minded users.  Tribe members can offer products and services for sale within the Tribe.  Tribe owners, along with Kumbuya, receive a share of the sale price.

In the summer of 2012, Kumbuya.com was a small prototype site based on the Django Web development framework.  Karp needed a strong technical partner to take over development of the site and make it production ready.  He selected Chicago-based Imaginary Landscape.

“Imaginary Landscape has been one of the best business decisions we have made,” said Karp.  “They were able to jump right into the existing site and keep our momentum while working on the current Kumbuya 2.0 site.”

As the site has advanced through the early life cycle of the business, Imaginary has been able to use its knowledge of Django to rapidly iterate and evolve the site in response to the needs and vision of Kumbuya.  Some of those iterations include:

  • Complete renovation of the user interface, with heavy usage of modal windows
  • Progressive enhancement to allow less sophisticated browsers to interact with the site
  • Integration of django-social and other media sharing tools throughout all areas of the site
  • Design and implementation of Tribe sales functionality, including ecommerce
  • Design and implementation of cloud infrastructure and storage methodologies to ensure scalability and security

An exciting new enhancement is the ability to embed tribe content within other websites.  This feature was added in response to Tribe owners’ attempts to do it themselves.  With this enhancement, Tribe content can syndicate to websites worldwide.

“We’ve been delighted with Kumbuya.com and our ability to assist with their website and online initiatives,” said Brian Moloney, managing partner of Imaginary Landscape.  “We’ve been able to make significant contributions to their success while developing a strong relationship between our two firms which has been a wonderful experience.”

“I’ve been working with Web and technology companies throughout my entire career and none has offered the combination of experience, responsiveness and flexibility that Imaginary has provided.  They are, quite simply, the best development firm I’ve ever worked with,” said Karp.

About Imaginary Landscape

Chicago-based Imaginary Landscape is a leading Web development and design and strategy provider for healthcare, association, manufacturing and start-up businesses. Imaginary Landscape is a pioneer in the use of the Django Web framework and has extensive expertise in Python programming, system administration and hosting, user interface and design and information architecture. For more information on Imaginary Landscape, check out imagescape.com or Imaginary’s Django-specific website at chicagodjango.com.