Revolutionizing Managed Cryptocurrency Funds
Ember is the first mobile app that allows users to easily buy into a managed cryptocurrency fund, without holding users’ assets. The company believes in fundamentally transforming those investment products people have access to on a global scale and uses cryptocurrencies to achieve the same. At the helm of affairs of Ember Fund is Alex Wang, Co-Founder & CEO. Excerpts from an interview with him:
Story Behind Ember Fund
Ember Fund is the first mobile app that allows anyone in the world to invest like a crypto hedge fund, with just a few hundred dollars. According to Alex, the company partners with the best minds in crypto (hedge funds, quants, etc.) to bring sophisticated institutional grade trading strategies to the masses. It also earns the distinction of being fully non-custodial as the company does not store sensitive data including private keys. It leverages machine learning to build an amazing customer and personalized product experience.
The company’s ethical values make it a remarkable organization. “I think our organization is very much driven by empathy and understanding. Not only between team members but also with our users.” Alex observed how important it was for the company to be empathetic towards its users, since they are bridging the gap between something very complicated (crypto) and retail users. “I’ve seen many companies fail because they aren’t able to drive the product forward with the users in mind. At the end of the day if they (users) have questions, it’s your job to empathize build an amazing and frictionless experience.”
Optically, Alex felt that the barriers to scale (regulatory, perception, etc.) completely dissipate this year with all the recent positive news. “We have hedge fund managers (Paul Tudor Jones), large public companies (Square, Microstrategy) and most recently PayPal all come into the space and place bets. One of the biggest challenges continues to be building truly useful product that the end consumer understands and finds beneficial.” Alex added that there was still a massive divide between those that understand crypto and those who don’t, and few companies were doing a good job of bridging that gap. Alex profoundly believed in building things that are truly beneficial and have those benefits easily understood by the average person. “Especially those in the US that generally have better banking services than 90% of the world. Put it simply, can I earn 20% on my cryptocurrency savings account vs 0.15% in my bank with a comparable risk profile? Only then, will we be able to get to the next level of mass adoption. We’re getting close,” he added.
Memorable Moments of Success
“I remember when we received an investment of over $200,000 from one user. We knew we were on to something. True to form as a ‘startup’, at the time we were still working out of a small apartment and although we were tired, hungry and stressed. It was so gratifying to know that we had built something of value.
Blockchain to the Rescue
Alex opined that the most direct way in blockchain would be enabling internet native money to be the norm instead of paper money. “We already have Venmo and Bank wires but there is a ton of friction to use these products (speed, cost, invasive personal information). We need sound money native to the internet and less paper money which is dirty and being inflated away by sovereign entities.”
A Piece of Advice
“The cliché is that startups are a rollercoaster ride. With blockchain, it’s a rocket ship with broken engines. Things move fast, competitors spring up and fade away in months. Markets 10x and pull back 90% in weeks. Be prepared for that and build your strategy around that vs traditional tech markets that move at a fraction of the speed.”
“Wanted to call out the leadership team as they are truly the superheroes behind the scenes. Guillaume (CTO), Harrison (Growth), Mario (CIO) and Tony (Engineering)- thank you all. You guys rock,” signed off Alex.