| Choosing Our Tech Stack: A Deep Dive

Choosing Our Tech Stack: A Deep Dive

In my previous blog post, I briefly discussed the vendor lock-in PTSD I experienced during my previous employment. In this post, I want to dive deep into’s tech stack and take you through the thought process that led to our current stack.

Our operations revolve around an internal full-stack web application, which seeks to continually optimize and automate the process of getting our clients as many meetings as possible. When I joined and took over the development of the application, it was written in Django, used Django’s templates with Bootstrap for UI, had almost all JavaScript code in one file, and was deployed on one EC2 instance using Docker compose. It was one big lump of spaghetti code in desperate need of a thorough re-evaluation and refactor.

Our Tech Stack

Let’s start by listing our tech stack for the impatient:

  • Frontend: NextJS written in TypeScript
  • Backend: Python, mainly based around Django, Django Rest Framework, and Celery
  • Database: PostgreSQL and Redis for caching/Celery queue
  • Infrastructure: containers running in Kubernetes cluster based on the GitOps concept

The stack is nothing magical or unusual, and we’ve (intentionally) not invented anything new. So far, it works exceptionally well for us, and in the following paragraphs, I will expand on (some of) my reasoning behind choosing each component.

No Vendor Lock-In

One of the most important decision factors was the ability to change vendors if needed. We’ve therefore resorted mostly to open-source options or options where the same interface is supported by many vendors, and we could make a change without needing a code rewrite (i.e., SQL). That doesn’t mean we don’t use any external vendors and host everything ourselves. We need to focus on the core of our business and value creation. Losing time by trying to self-host git repositories and maintaining them would not be the best use of our time and resources. Therefore, we’re “renting” quite a lot of our core infrastructure: a managed Kubernetes cluster, git repositories, S3 storage, error tracking, etc. We just made sure that we would be able to switch providers or even self-host if needed.

Separation of UI (Frontend) and Logic (Backend)

In my first full-time job as a developer, I have seen firsthand how hard it is to decouple UI and logic if an API isn’t present from the design phase onward. While the rapid pace of development is present overall in tech, it is especially brutal in the way UI is done. Therefore, I believe it is crucial to be able to switch UI implementation somewhat painlessly (meaning there is no need for a rewrite of the entire backend) if/when needed. Our application thus uses a REST API for communication between frontend and backend.

Types to the Rescue

I’m a strong believer in strong type systems. Producing working software is incredibly difficult, and without a type system to perform static code checks, almost impossible. I have huge respect for any developer who can write large amounts of “pure” JavaScript, where the code actually works. I have even greater admiration if they can perform a refactor on that codebase. I admit I don’t possess that ability. Therefore, I went with TypeScript, which does most of the heavy lifting for me.

Speed of Development

I’m well aware of the irony of going on about types and having Python as the main language. The primary reason for this choice was the need for quick development as one of our primary requirements. As a startup, we’re still discovering what our ideal software looks like and having the ability to rapidly develop new functionality is vital to us.

In my previous jobs, I’ve developed with most of the prominent ORM/web application frameworks, including Spring Framework (Java), .NET Core (C#), Express (JS). For me, Django is the undisputed king of productivity and scalability. Yes, it has a learning curve and takes quite some time to do the initial setup. In my experience, these onboarding costs are quickly outweighed by the productivity I’m able to achieve as a developer.

I’m well aware that Python is slow, resource-intensive, and doesn’t have a strong type system. For our use, it’s fast and efficient enough. I also annotate almost all my code with type annotations and can get most of the static type-system goodness in an otherwise dynamically typed language.

GitOps: Infrastructure Transparency

One of the most significant renaissances in tech in recent years occurred in the infrastructure field. With the rise of containers and orchestration frameworks, infrastructure deployment and maintenance changed (and for the better). What was previously done by sysadmins using SSH and running commands on a (virtual) server, can now be written in code. With the previous system, it was challenging to be 100% certain about the state of production infrastructure. Deploying new infrastructure was slow and, in my experience, often a poorly documented process.

GitOps for us solves all of the problems described above. All of our production deployment state is stored and described in manifests in a git repository. We use ArgoCD to synchronize the repository with the Kubernetes state and, with a cluster bootstrap capability, it works like magic. We’re currently running almost 30 different production services, and the amount of time I don’t spend managing our infrastructure still amazes me. After the initial setup, most things run with almost no need for manual human interventions.

TLDR: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

As I already mentioned, our stack is nothing groundbreaking. It’s perhaps so common that it can justifiably be called boring. It works well for us, and as a CTO, I actually like the boring part: it means we can focus on the areas where we create the most added value and don’t have to spend too much time and resources dealing with technical issues.

Customer testimonials | Choosing Our Tech Stack: A Deep Dive
Karim Mohammed
CEO @ Tranquil Clinical Research, Clinical Research Organization & Clinical Site has mastered the ability to open doors that were previously closed. The impressive team of folks that works to continuously build business for me, learns my business and then sets out to build my business. If you need a team to get you out in front of the right clients, has consistently performed for my organization. | Choosing Our Tech Stack: A Deep Dive
Rafael Rosengarten
CEO @ Genialis, Data science and drug discovery company gets you in front of your customers with insane efficiency. They figure out the right people to talk with, and deliver that meeting directly to your calendar. Doing business in the life sciences and biotech industries requires a deep understanding of these markets. The team gets it, and this enables a personalized approach to outreach that resonates with its audience. | Choosing Our Tech Stack: A Deep Dive
Kyle Giffin
Chief Operating Officer, LatchBio simply delivers. A totally professional team, they have increased our meeting count and helped us close real customers. I’m grateful to be working with Klemen and Urska, and would recommend their service to others in biotech.
Switzerland-based service provider are true domain experts and have consistently delivered highly qualified leads for us. Their approach to lead-generation is highly targeted and focused allowing me to spend my time and efforts on pursuing high-ticket business opportunities. I highly recommend to anyone looking to optimize their marketing budgets, whilst still making meaningful connections in the life-science industry.
VP Sales
San Diego-based platform biotechnology company
Running a lean start up requires effective lead generation for commercial activities. The team at took the time to learn our technology and our solution services with our company. They worked effectively to bring our organization high quality prospects for our early access program and sales. I would highly recommend their organization for any company looking to outsource their lead generation.
Head of Business Development
European CRO helped us to generate a multitude of introductory meetings with potential clients and some of these meetings were the starting point of new exciting business relationships. The collaboration is smooth and efficient and when comparing costs per high quality lead the approach is superior compared to other lead generating methods such as congresses or webinars.

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