5 Pros Share the Inside Scoop on Their Newest Product Launches

Leaders from Nexthink, Hometap and more share the joys and challenges of their product journeys.
Written by Olivia Arnold
August 4, 2023Updated: August 4, 2023

From securing instant payments to making homeownership more accessible, these innovative products are on a mission to shake up their respective industries.

Launched over the past year by the following five companies, these standout products would not have come to fruition without the expert teams working tirelessly behind the scenes. Sticking with the project from inception through delivery, they overcame obstacles, adhered to ambitious timelines and navigated balancing research with product integration, all in the name of providing the best end result possible for clients. 

Throughout it all, these product pros say they were inspired to persevere thanks to their exceptional teams, mission-driven organizations and the promise of improving customers’ lives. 

Celebrating and reflecting upon their impressive milestones, the featured leaders — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Nexthink, Hometap, Immuta and SmartBear — connected with Built In Boston to share more about the joys and challenges of their product journeys. 


Bernadette Ksepka
Vice President, FedNow Deputy Head of Product Management

Part of the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston promotes economic growth and stability through research, financial services, monetary policy, payments and more. 


Tell us about a recent product your team launched.

In July, the Federal Reserve System launched the FedNow Service, a real-time gross settlement system for instant payments. The FedNow Service enables financial institutions of all sizes, all around the country to send and receive payments instantly. This is the first new payment service that the Federal Reserve has built in decades. 

Our direct customers are financial institutions, banks and credit unions. For them, the FedNow Service will be a springboard for innovation to enable exciting business opportunities, generate new sources of revenue and help them better serve their customers. These new opportunities will emerge over time, as more and more financial institutions gradually join the service. 

By offering instant payments, banks and credit unions can retain or attract new customers and keep deposits in the current competitive and evolving banking environment. Although our direct customers are financial institutions, we’re just as focused on the implications the FedNow Service has on our end users: American households and businesses. The ability to send and receive instant payments will help individuals better manage their cash flow, avoid expensive overdraft and late fees and, ultimately, change how we make payments in the United States. 

The FedNow Service provides a new opportunity to achieve our policy goals of safety and efficiency in the U.S. payment system and achieve a state of ubiquity in which every American has access to instant payments.


The FedNow Service provides a new opportunity to achieve our policy goals of safety and efficiency in the U.S. payment system.” 


What was the biggest challenge your team faced while developing this new product, and how did you overcome it?

One of our critical objectives was to bring the FedNow Service to market as quickly as possible. In order to meet our time-to-market goal, our team’s mantra was to focus on intentional and continuous prioritization. 

Our goal was to deliver a safe and efficient payment infrastructure that met the needs of our early adopters in the committed time frame. This meant prioritizing our core features of clearing and settlement to facilitate certain use cases and developing critical safety and security features. We developed a robust roadmap to catalog future features and functionality that would follow the delivery of our first release. Over time, we are committed to building a market-leading product.

Prioritizing our work involved constantly weighing trade-offs, which we did in close collaboration with our future participants. By keeping an open dialogue with the industry during every step of the build process, we were able to keep a pulse on what was most important to deliver first. Ultimately, these practices allowed us to narrow our delivery time frame from 2023/2024 to July 2023.

What have you enjoyed most about working on this product?

For me, it’s been all about the people. Building the FedNow Service presented a unique opportunity to establish a brand-new team with a startup culture within the Federal Reserve System. We’ve built a diverse, talented and adaptable team that believes in our product and the benefits it will deliver to American households and businesses. It’s especially exciting to work on a product when it feels connected to the mission.

It’s also been rewarding to see what was once a vision come to life over the course of just a couple of years. I’m bullish that instant payments can change people’s lives, and the efficiency that our economy will realize will change how Americans and businesses move money daily. Being part of a mission-driven, talented team to build a service that will positively impact the banking industry is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that continues to motivate me each and every day.



Mario Tarallo
Product Management Director

Nexthink provides solutions that allow IT teams to proactively optimize their employees’ digital engagement.


Tell us about a recent product your team launched. 

For the last few months, we’ve been very busy working on an exciting new product called Nexthink Assist, which we will release to our first customers this summer. Nexthink Assist leverages generative AI and large language models to make the process of investigating IT issues and getting insights out of our platform extremely straightforward.

IT support specialists will be able to ask questions to Nexthink using natural language, such as “Which users in London have audio quality issues with Microsoft Teams today?” or “Is there any laptop where Chrome is crashing in Boston?” Behind the scenes, we translate these questions into queries, execute them and provide answers that our users are looking for.


What was the biggest challenge your team faced while developing this new product, and how did you overcome it?

We are excited about innovative technologies that will change how we interact with software products and make human-machine interactions much more natural. In our innovation journey with Nexthink Assist, our team has constantly pushed boundaries and faced many technical and non-technical challenges. 


We are excited about innovative technologies that will make human-machine interactions much more natural.”


With novelty comes the challenge of striking the right balance between research and product integration. Research is essential as we explore unknown territories with generative AI capabilities. Still, the actual value lies in seamlessly integrating our research findings into our products to deliver tangible benefits to our customers. Finding balance is a continuous challenge where focus and cross-functional communication are key.

What have you enjoyed most about working on this product?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working on Nexthink Assist has been witnessing the transformation it brings to our users’ experiences. Seeing how our product simplifies the complex process of investigating IT issues and empowers IT support specialists with natural language interactions has been incredibly rewarding. It’s fulfilling to know that our work directly enhances productivity and efficiency for our customers, making their jobs more accessible and effective.



Adam Sigel
Vice President of Product


Hometap Equity Partners offers solutions that enable people to get more from homeownership so they can get more from life.


Tell us about a recent product your team launched.

We’re extremely proud to announce the launch of Home Equity Dashboard, Hometap’s second product since the company’s founding in 2017. The dashboard is a free digital platform that offers homeowners the tools and resources they need to quickly and easily monitor and manage their home’s equity over time, allowing them to make smarter financial decisions about financing, renovating and more. 

We soft-launched last year with select homeowners to test our concept and gather initial learnings before officially launching in May to homeowners nationwide. The launch coincided with a live demonstration of the platform at the Fintech Nexus conference. 

Today, the Home Equity Dashboard offers data visualizations of home value, mortgage and home equity, along with estimates for up to 10 years and forecasts based on multiple home appreciation scenarios. It also features maintenance checklists that homeowners can use to better protect the value of their home; a home renovation calculator that forecasts the estimated return on investment of home repairs and upgrades; and home services offers and discounts from our vetted partner network. There’s a lot more we have in store for the dashboard.

What was the biggest challenge your team faced while developing this new product, and how did you overcome it?

Zero to one is always hard, especially when the market is enormous, fragmented and crowded. We knew we wanted to introduce an all-digital product that any homeowner in the country could use and find value in, regardless of their financial standing. 

There are countless apps out there to help homeowners in one way or another, and it took a lot of market research, testing and iteration to identify our minimum viable product. We wanted to create something that was meaningful for homeowners while aligning with Hometap’s core competencies and brand. 

After seeing how stressed and uninformed most homeowners are, we settled on building something that helps homeowners understand, grow and protect their largest financial asset. It takes a lot of discipline to develop a successful minimum viable product. We had to say “not now” to a lot of exciting functionality and some more lucrative categories to start. Over time, I have no doubt that we’ll expand the Home Equity Dashboard into other categories and add new “wow” moments for homeowners, because no one knows home equity better than we do.

What have you enjoyed most about working on this product?

Working on the Home Equity Dashboard is a phenomenal example of the ambition and resonance of our company mission to make homeownership less stressful and more accessible to everyone. It’s personally very rewarding to play a role in building something that solves a real problem felt by so many people. It’s also fun building something that you personally want to use. In my 15 years as a homeowner, I’ve lived through renovations, moves, refinances, major repairs, buyer’s markets and seller’s markets. I wish the Home Equity Dashboard existed for me back then. 


The Home Equity Dashboard is a phenomenal example of our company mission to make homeownership less stressful and more accessible.”


Homeowners have countless decisions to make that have implications for their financial well-being, as well as the comfort and safety of their loved ones. With the Home Equity Dashboard, we’re going to help millions of homeowners make informed financial decisions with speed, confidence and ease. If I know our software helps other homeowners sleep better at night, I can sleep better at night, too.





Ray Kuo
Director of Product Management


Through its platform, Immuta automates the discovery of sensitive data and continuously monitors data usage for risks, such as insider threats. 


Tell us about a recent product your team launched. 

I have always enjoyed building new business-to-business or business-to-business-to-consumer products. The experience of generating big ideas, learning, refining, delivering and ultimately seeing the smile on a customer’s face is very rewarding. My journey took an even more rewarding turn when I got the opportunity to contribute to the enhancement of Immuta’s already impressive data security product suite.

In today’s data-driven economy, companies compete in a race to develop products more quickly by harnessing the power of data to gain a competitive edge. To maintain this velocity at scale, customers rely on Immuta as part of their modern data stack to ensure data is processed and accessed in a secure and compliant way. 

Many customers lack adequate tools to understand who has access to their data, which impedes their ability to deliver value for their businesses. Earlier this year, we launched a new product suite called Immuta Detect to alleviate that customer pain. Immuta Detect provides detailed, purpose-built analytics, visualizations and security posture assessments, which are proactive and data-driven ways for data security owners to gain actionable insights.


What was the biggest challenge your team faced while developing this new product, and how did you overcome it?

Our customers are on the Forbes Global 2000 list, and they rely on Immuta to protect their data. This means the bar is always set high when it comes to creating a new minimum viable product. Just about every organization with cloud data could benefit from Immuta’s solutions, but our team needed to analyze the feasibility of launching products in new or adjacent markets. 

It took a lot of disciplined research at multiple levels to narrow down what we would build. The team mapped out customer needs using product innovation frameworks, such as Clay Christensen’s “Jobs to be Done.” The analysis and bunker time prepared us for a more cost-effective quantitative market research, followed by deeper customer interviews to validate the product ideas. We were also fortunate to have opportunities to host customer advisory boards in person and get buyer feedback using an enterprise version of a “painted-door test.”

What have you enjoyed most about working on this product?

The best part about working on Immuta’s new product suite has been the people — my colleagues and leadership team.

In a previous role, I was responsible for implementing California Consumer Privacy Act compliance systems and delivering personally identifiable information data vaults. I came across industry papers on differential privacy, and I was intrigued to learn more about which companies had employed that technique. Fast track to joining Immuta, it has been inspiring to work with the team that built the support for privacy-enhancing technologies and helps industries secure the data footprint we all leave behind.


It has been inspiring to work with the team that built the support for privacy-enhancing technologies.”


Last summer, Immuta closed $100 million in Series E funding, and there has been a lot of energy and excitement around building and launching a new product. Still, getting started can feel overwhelming. We are fortunate that our executive team not only set aggressive goals but also provided guidance and support to help us succeed. 

Matt DiAntonio, our vice president of product management, has been down this road before, and he offered sage advice. From the beginning, he encouraged us to be patient with ourselves. A leadership team with a clear vision and support makes all the difference, especially when the stakes are high and pressure is on.






Sean Butler
Vice President of Product Management


With its suite of software development tools, SmartBear gives teams visibility into end-to-end quality through test management and automation, API development lifecycle and application stability. 


Tell us about a recent product your team launched. 

I was fortunate to lead a team that launched two major products this year that help our customers become more efficient in their API development: SwaggerHub Explore and SwaggerHub Portal. 

Our tools give software development teams visibility and actionable insights across the software development lifecycle to accelerate delivery with confidence, making each release better than the last. The direct implication for our customers is the ability to productize their work more effectively, which adds to their revenue and allows developers to take back time by gaining more visibility into what is happening throughout the API development lifecycle. Everyone at SmartBear is excited about how these tools, launched over the past few months, will help customers with challenges throughout their API development journey.


Our tools give software development teams visibility and actionable insights across the software development lifecycle.”

What was the biggest challenge your team faced while developing this new product, and how did you overcome it?

There were many challenges along the way — the most meaningful being the battle against time to market. Defining a product we could get to market in a reasonable time while ensuring it provided enough for our prospective customer base, was a constant point of discussion for the team. This is often the hardest part about launching a new product, and to make the initial launch effective, it is critical that you get the “viable” part of minimum viable product right. The only way to know that you are hitting the mark is to work closely with customers along the way and to drive a process that validates what you’re building with direct user feedback. 

The team faced a fair amount of pressure as they worked against tight deadlines, and ultimately, many of these challenges forged a better, more focused product in the end. The team maintained a great attitude and kept focus on their mission to ensure that challenges were quickly overcome.

What have you enjoyed most about working on this product, and why?

Teamwork and points of validation along the way are always what I enjoy most about working on a new product, and both remained consistent in these cases. 

The moments when customers realize their problem can be solved — without us even having to explain it to them — provide incredible energy for everyone working on the product. Every new prospect who told us how helpful these products would be for them was critical to propelling the team forward. Those moments are almost as remarkable as the team’s energy and buzz around the product, as they work through problems and gain trust in each other on the way to building something incredible. 

Execution is essential in getting a new product to market, and being part of a team that is maniacally focused on solving the customer's problem is incredibly enjoyable. In addition to focusing on execution and celebrating a job well done, the best teams have fun along the way. Both of these new product launches lived up to that in spades.


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