Setup of our own funding platform

(Tobias Gruber) #1

Hey everyone,

as you probably know currently Sandstorm is operating the Neos Funding Platform and I would like to move this to the Neos Foundation CIC this year preferably.

There are a few things where I would like to get the team’s and the community’s input on to design and build a decent solution.

business requirements (WIP)

(solely based on what the current funding platform does)

Shop Functionality

The solution should

  • support one-time purchases
  • support subscriptions
  • support customer accounts
  • not store customer payment information, but work with a payment provider
    • (I would strongly recommend to stay with the current model of pre-paid purchases only - so no invoice based purchases, as I assume no one of us wants the administrative overhead of running after money owed to us…)
  • generate invoices
  • send invoices via email
  • send email reminders for upcoming subscription payments
  • support the cancellation of a subscription from an email link
  • support multiple frontend languages
  • allow an editor to create new one-time badges (products)
  • handle VAT correctly (for UK, EU, non-EU; private and commercial purchases)

Badge Management

This functionality is currently integrated in the funding platform and part of the backend module. It could of course be completely separate.

  • store purchased badges in the cloud
  • create and manage supporter badges that cannot be purchased (event supporter, core feature sponsor, team member employer…)

Transparency and API

  • provide an API to provide transparency about purchases to provide data for the donations page on
  • provide transparency into revenues (and costs) of the Neos project and display them publicly

Cost Tracking (nice to have)

  • support the tracking of costs in different categories
  • support the definition of budgets

Topics to discuss

From my perspective, we have a couple of topics to address:

  • Could we reuse the current funding platform (with some adjustments of course)? @sebastian?
  • Which payment provider do we want to use? Currently we use Braintree.
  • If we don’t want to reuse the current platform, how could a possible new solution look like?
  • Who would spend effort to put the new funding platform in place? (I can offer to be the business PO :wink: )

A note on effort

Those of you who do shop projects (which this somewhat is to me) have an idea about the effort to setup and customize a proper shop. At Sandstorm we spent about 3 person months to get the funding platform to its current state (stable but far from great). And even if we were to adopt that technical basis, I would really really like some improvements before it goes live.

So on the one hand this can be a great opportunity to get more people to be able to work on the funding platform, but on the other hand of course that is spreading our available hours on yet another topic…

I’m looking forward to your input!

Team Tiga | Team Meeting | 2018-06-27
Team Tiga | Team Meeting | 2018-06-13
Team Tiga | Team Meeting | 2018-06-20
(Christian Müller) #2

Sorry, I coudln’t wrap my mind around it yet really. I would love to discuss it at the sprint though :slight_smile:

(Tobias Gruber) #3

Hey there,

a short summary of the discussion @christianm, @sebastian and I had at the sprint in Dresden:

Short term goal

Have a funding platform up and running as Neos Foundation CIC before end of 2018.

Suggested approach

Copy the current platform as is:

  • Register our Foundation at Braintree, Security Metrics, Taxamo (maybe not required, as we are currently below the UK VAT threshold of ~80k£)
  • Move the code to a private Github repository
  • Setup a staging environment to test
  • Setup a production environment

We do need to invest some development hours, but with this approach that should be ok (e.g. change the website CI, change email texts, adjust to UK VAT laws, data protection update…).


  • less effort and we have experience with the setup
  • probably quick to achieve
  • we keep all the features we already have (badges, API etc.)
  • we get feedback quickly if people are more likely to support Neos via the Foundation compared to via Sandstorm


The same as we currently have

  • only credit card payments (unless we open payment via Paypal)
  • no customer accounts, but rather a new set of (duplicate) data for every purchase
  • it’s not so easy to post new badges

Further down the road

  • We think there should not be an issue having both platforms run in parallel for a while, so that we don’t cut off existing supporters who have not yet migrated to the Foundation.
  • Any money still in the custody of Sandstorm should be spent, so that we don’t get taxed twice (if we transfer it to the Foundation it’s income that gets taxed there).
  • It will hopefully be easier to enhance the funding platform if the whole team can do it.
  • If we notice issues with the funding platform we can think about a new solution later on.


I think this is a flavor M decision and therefore ask for a vote on the proposed approach which is open until 3rd July 2018:

  • Yes, move current funding platform to the Foundation.
  • No, don’t move the current platform.
  • Abstain.
  • I need more discussion.

0 voters

Thanks for your time! :slight_smile:

Team Tiga | Team Meeting | 2018-07-04
(Robert Lemke) #4

We might have a look at Stripe after we moved the current state. No need to hurry with Stripe, but they’d offer SEPA direct debit as well and so far I’ve made only good experiences with them and their API.

Flownative can provide the staging / production environment for the new funding platform if you like.

(Soren Malling) #5

My current project is build up around Stripe, webhooks etc. (subscription and so on) - I will love to help on that part if help is needed on that subject

(Tobias Gruber) #6

Thanks to everyone who voted! We will move the current funding platform to get started. I’ll start with registering the Foundation with the necessary services.