First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcell de Vries: Thank you for asking! We consider ourselves lucky because we are all in good health. If there is one good thing that emerged from the pandemic, it is the opportunity to spend more time with the family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Coinmatic.
Marcell de Vries: I’m 36 years old, born and raised in The Netherlands, and a father of two amazing sons (5 and 3). After I graduated from college (Tilburg University) with a master’s degree in International Business, I started working at General Electric (GE), where I spent more than 8 years in increasingly senior leadership positions involving Finance, Operations, IT, Program Management, and Auditing.
At some point, I realized how much I wanted to experience the start-up world. At almost the same time, I was given the opportunity to become President of a digital health start-up in Belgium, specialized in big data analytics for cardiology. I loved leading the organization and developing the team in a fast-paced environment, and when we were about to get acquired, I started preparing for my next move. Since then, I have been engaged in several start-up initiatives.
We founded Coinmatic with 3 friends with the mission to provide everyone with access to sophisticated investment products, as we firmly believe that everyone deserves an equal chance at financial success. Each of us has a strong interest in digital assets. We knew from personal experience how tough it can be to start investing in cryptocurrencies, and especially how to do it well.
How does Coinmatic innovate?
Marcell de Vries: Simply put, Coinmatic makes investors’ lives easier. Through our secure and innovative platform, we offer a solution to enter the crypto market without going through a long learning process. Thanks to the experience, we have developed a proven strategy designed to help clients invest in crypto more wisely, without any hassle. Users can sign up on our website, answer a few questions on their preferred strategy, and then we take care of the rest.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcell de Vries: In times of uncertainty, people tend to think more about their future and that of their loved ones, which in turn triggers anxiety around how to invest and where their money will be safe. So the way this affects us is that we had a lot of customers come in and talk to us, and we were able to explain how our service mitigates those risks.
We are always willing to spend time with our customers because we understand their fear as we went through the exact same thing when we started investing. In fact, this is the reason why we started Coinmatic in the first place.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcell de Vries: Not really. Our experience has taught us to be organized in a very lean and agile manner right from the start. That allows us to be most efficient and able to cope with unexpected and extraordinary situations like the world is currently facing. Those lessons have proven very valuable! As a team, we are used to working remotely, so with that respect, it is also ‘business as usual.’
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Marcell de Vries: Pretty much the regular – rhythm, sports, healthy food, meditation – and making sure to spend time with my loved ones and recharge my battery. I love to exercise, so whenever I feel stressed, I go to the gym, go for a run, or go swimming.
I also make sure to carve out sufficient time to really think and reflect, as that is where the creativity happens and complex problems get solved.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcell de Vries: In theory, every investment service or so-called ‘robo advisor’ could be considered a competitor, whether operating in traditional or cryptocurrency markets. However, the digital asset market – still in a very early stage – is growing so fast, meaning there is an ever-increasing market share to capture, so we tend not to focus too much on what the competition does, but instead we channel our energy towards making sure we provide the best possible service to our clients.
We have many ideas in our backlog to further enhance our offering move towards a truly passive investment experience.
Your final thoughts?
Marcell de Vries: The key to a successful service business is to listen to your customers, translate their feedback into what they really desire, and then build that into your product. Don’t waste time building something you think your customer may want.