Karamvir and I were working at an inter-dealer broker in NYC and built many trading systems together. On the side, we also used to trade crypto. Back in the day, there was a huge price disparity between exchanges. Which we exploited by doing arbitrages.
We looked around and couldn’t settle on a tool that could help us simplify the workflow, so we set out to build our own, not because we wanted to start a business but because we simply wanted to make more money while spending less time.
In early 2018, we hacked out a small app – HyperTerminal (later renamed to HyperTrader), that did no more than price aggregation and comparison. Price discovery was the main focus rather than managing portfolios or orders.
Soon enough, we had many friends who started using the app. By mid-2018, we realized there was a business potential. So we registered our company in Sep 2018. Kunal joined us soon after as a developer.
By the end of 2018 and early 2019, the crypto markets were consolidating. There was increasing transparency because market data was readily available. Perhaps, the democratization of data was deemed to happen in a decentralized world. The spread between the exchanges was shrinking. And the arbitrage opportunities were not so attractive anymore.
But we, being us, continued building the tools for order management, portfolios, etc., on top of price discovery. By mid of 2019, we had 26 exchanges on our app.
We were destined to fail. There were plenty of multi-exchange crypto trading tools which did a decent job of tracking portfolios, managing orders, etc. So what was different about HyperTerminal? Not much.
By this time, we all had given up our well-paying jobs and decided to work on this idea full time. We were about to make the hardest decision of our lives – continue or quit!
Lucky for us, we had about 400+ users, and they loved what we did but wanted something a bit different than what was on the roadmap. So we gave up our attitude of – “We will build, and they will buy” and threw away our roadmap. Deleted our Github repo. Bought some beers and sat down to figure out – What next?
Considering all the feedback, we realized that people do not want what we were building. But they trust our team to create something they do want. After about 50+ user interviews, we narrowed down to two significant asks –
- A blazingly fast app
- Efficient ways to execute orders.
These two needs combined meant a better experience for the users. None of our users cared about multiple exchanges. They just wanted an app better than the exchange they were trading on. So we decided to build one.
And the answer was, “yes, we can do better!” But only by listening to our customers. Most of our early customers didn’t trade on multiple exchanges. Instead, they wanted a better experience trading on their favorite crypto exchange. We narrowed it down to support only one until our 2.0 launch. So we launched only with Binance but with a much better trading experience than any other app at the time, even better than Binance itself.
That paid off very well for us. The majority of our beta users converted to paying customers, and we continued to grow. Eventually, we added 5 more exchanges, including two derivatives exchanges. As of now, we support just six crypto exchanges.