First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Evan Francis: I live in California, and my family lives on the east coast of the US, so I haven’t been able to see them, but for the most part, we’re alright and staying healthy. Unfortunately, my father was forced to retire early because he is high risk and can’t be exposed to COVID-19. My SO and I got a puppy a few months ago, so that’s been a great distraction during these crazy times!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Coygo.
Evan Francis: Coygo began as a different company called Lunafi, LLC, back in September of 2017. At the time, I was working at the Intuit headquarters in San Diego as a software engineer, building the TurboTax product as well as internal tooling that helped support other engineering teams. I’d always been interested in starting a business. After talking with my two friends and co-workers, Dorian Kersch and Ellery Addington-White, we decided that the cryptocurrency industry was an exciting new sector with great growth potential, so that was where we wanted to start. I took a leap of faith and left a comfortable corporate job with good pay and benefits out of college to pursue my dream, and I haven’t looked back since. In the 3 years since, our product has pivoted multiple times, as has our target customer, and somewhere in the process, we restructured and rebranded as Coygo, Inc.
How does Coygo innovate?
Evan Francis: We provide a suite of tools for cryptocurrency traders, such as configurable trading bots, arbitrage scanning, and real-time market insights. This works by connecting to each of your exchange accounts to help track your portfolio and place and manage orders. The unique architecture that we’ve developed allows us to provide two major innovations:
First, unlike most competitors, we are able to provide these tools without your exchange credentials ever leaving your machine. Our servers never have access to your accounts. This allows us to provide a security level not possible by the competition, who often require you to forfeit your account credentials to a third party’s servers.
Second, we are also able to provide the lowest possible latency for real-time market data because we establish a real-time data feed connection directly between your machine and each exchange. Our servers don’t act as a middleman. This is of paramount importance for trading bots that rely on reacting to changes within milliseconds to be successful.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Evan Francis: We have always been a small team that works remotely, so our business operations haven’t been affected too much. On the contrary, we’ve actually seen an increase in general interest and new customers. It seems many people have taken up crypto and stock trading as a hobby during the covid-19 stay at home orders. That, combined with Bitcoin making headlines for reaching the highest price of the year recently, has given us a boost in organic search traffic and, in turn, conversions.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Evan Francis: We’re lucky enough to not have been impacted too much, so we haven’t had to make any difficult decisions directly related to Covid-19.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Evan Francis: Our competition falls into two categories: cryptocurrency trading terminal software like Coinigy or Bitsgap, and cryptocurrency trading bot software like Cryptohopper. We’ve explored a number of different ideas during our beta, and we’ve narrowed down to a particular niche of cryptocurrency arbitrage. We plan to stay in the game by leaning into the things that our unique architecture excels at. Our competition will struggle to replicate, which includes cryptocurrency arbitrage tools and automated crypto trading bots focusing on intra-day strategies that rely on low latency real-time data. We’ve spent years building a brand and web presence that enforces our authority within our niche, and we plan to continue to provide the single best solution for that niche. We’ve found that the best marketing tool and the best hack to keep revenue flowing is simply to build a great product and constantly get feedback from our users to make sure we’re building the right solutions to their problems.
Your final thoughts?
Evan Francis: I recognize that we’re very lucky not to be impacted too much as a business by covid-19, especially after seeing friends and family laid off en masse earlier this year. It’s truly incredible that in our modern world, a few friends who know how to code and have the drive to succeed can run a business from home that can support thousands of customers who are happy to use the product. Starting a business is an intimidating endeavor and a big personal risk, but it can also be incredibly rewarding!