Buckle up. We’re taking our time machine back to 2009.
Despite 2008’s financial aftershocks, 2009 actually was a good year. We at PYMNTS certainly think so, because that’s the year we were founded. More than seven years later, we’re going strong, flexing our digital muscles.
But we weren’t the only ones birthed in the financial technology space in oh-nine. In fact, we came about because other digital economies were starting out. We wanted to report on everything in the space, which was rapidly expanding — and continues to do so.
So, seven years in, we’re starting a new look back at history. And we’re calling it “Whatever Happened To…,” and we’ll highlight a financial tech company, researched and reflected on weekly.
So, to kick off this new venture, we’re taking a look at Hedgeable.
Whatever Happened To … Hedgeable
No one said launching a startup is easy. Especially in the midst of the carnage of the financial crisis.
“We were able to bootstrap the company to bring a platform to the market, while educating partners, the press and the industry about the urgent need to support young companies,” said Mike Kane, who cofounded Hedgeable with his twin brother, Matt, in 2009.
Based in New York City, Hedgeable is a digital wealth platform with web and mobile app capabilities allowing individuals to invest in customizable portfolios. The company underscores that it practices “tactical investing” by not following set allocations but actively managing accounts, responding to changes and the market moving.
Kane said founding when they did and working through the past seven years has worked. “FinTech has never been stronger, and the ecosystem is thriving.”
That said, it was a rough go in the beginning. For the first four or five years in business, Kane recalled a general apathy towards FinTech, which Hedgeable found very disappointing given the devastation of the financial crisis and the huge need for disruption.
Let’s hedge on what Hedgeable is, shall we?
Hedgeable wants to be the top innovative financial firm in the world and “bring the highest-quality products to everyone, not just the ultra-wealthy.”
The company said you can start investing with one little George Washington.
It says it only hires “dreamers” who want to change the world, which is the daily motto. Hedgeable says it culture is modeled after Google and Facebook. That said, its employee count is small, but growing.
Hey, when you start out bootstrapping, you’re using your own boots.
“For many years, it was just me and my brother, Matt, working 120 hours per week, wearing every hat in the company,” said Kane. “Now, we have 13 employees and can delegate a lot more responsibility, so 120 hours is now closer to 100.”
That scrappiness seems to echo into the company’s culture. All employees are dubbed Ninjas (with the exception of Kane; he’s a Sensei) — from Investing Ninjas to Software and Front-End Engineer Ninjas — and those ninjas even have 10 commandments that they work by. Tongue-and-cheek or just good policy, those commandments include a no-closed-door meeting, no wearing suits, integrity and honesty are paramount and no BS allowed.
But over seven years, there have been some truly bright spots that have helped it hedge towards positive growth.
In 2015, Hedgeable was selected Best of Show at Finovate, and it was also the winner of a UK Great Tech award in the FinTech category. But Kane downplayed those shiny moments.
“We are modest entrepreneurs and are not in this for awards or to be on lists,” said Kane. “We do this for the customers, not us. But this was a validation that our tens of thousands of hours of work towards product innovation and the democratization of the wealth management market is respected by the financial services industry globally. This energizes us to keep innovating.”
So, what’s next for Hedgeable as it looks toward an eighth year in advance of a decade? Apparently, a lot.
“We are working on more artificial intelligence built into the platform, a chatbot, peer-to-peer lending investing and an expansion of our venture capital offering,” said Kane.
And the plans expand over oceans. There is talk about launching Hedgeable in Europe, Asia and Latin America through its API partners next year.
“The future for our space is bright,” said Kane. “Because of FinTech disruption, private wealth managers are continuing to raise their minimums. The end result is greater hope for millions of retail investors because our entire platform is available with only a $1 minimum investment.”