Tongo Case Study

May 14, 2021


Having spent seven years heading up a luxury wine tour and transportation business, Tongo CEO Michael Gahan understood that guests at high-end hotels are looking for unique experiences. They want to know the best things to do in the area—where to eat, where to play, what live events are happening during their stay, and more. Meanwhile, he saw that in today’s 5-star-review-driven marketplace, it has become imperative for hotels to ensure that guests’ 5-star experiences continue when they venture off the hotel property.

 Michael’s solution to these issues is Tongo. Michael conceived of Tongo as being a web-based, hotel-branded app that would enable hotels to deliver trusted recommendations, VIP experiences and curated events.


Unlike many founders of app-based businesses, Michael had no background in technology. Consequently, as he puts it, he made a lot of mistakes.

Over the course of four years, Tongo spent roughly $75,000 in three unsuccessful attempts to have the app made. “We’d get something built,” Michael says, “and then find out it wouldn’t do what we wanted it to do. So we’d find a new development team, and they’d insist on starting over. At the end of the day, we were left with three different codebases, all of which were completely unusable!”


After the company’s third unsuccessful attempt to get the Tongo app made, Michael discovered Xano, the no-code backend development platform that easily connects to any front-end.

 “A problem we had in the past,” Michael explains, “is that no one wanted to take on the tech debt of someone else’s complex backend. Xano solved this by eliminating the need for backend coding completely. This slashed development costs and gave us the ability to work with different front-end developers because any front-end developer can easily understand how Xano interacts with APIs.”


By using Xano for the app’s back-end, Tongo was able to launch their app in a matter of months. The Tongo app had all of the features and functionality that Michael had envisioned—and was developed for about one-fifth the cost of each of the company’s three failed development attempts.

“The best part about using Xano,” Michael shares, “is the combination of low cost and speed to market. Plus, because of the way that Xano is designed with no code, we have been able to iterate on our product rather quickly. With a new product, these early iterations can make or break the company. I’d highly recommend a Xano backend for anyone who wants to quickly, easily, and cost-efficiently get their product to market, especially startups that are still trying to determine the ideal product/market fit.”


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