Interview with Jonathan Chu, Anderson ’12, VP of Product at Blockfolio
1. Could you explain what Blockfolio is in just a few sentences?
Blockfolio is a mobile platform that lets our millions of users track their investments in the cryptocurrency space. We track prices for over 6,700 crypto assets and offer features on the information side such as detailed market information, news, and the ability to receive direct updates from the leaders of crypto projects through our Blockfolio Signal platform.
2. How did you get into crypto?
After being a product manager at Google, I joined a mobile video creation startup called Flipagram as their first product hire. Flipagram was acquired by ByteDance (a multi-billion-dollar Chinese tech company) and we stayed on for a year after the acquisition. During that year, I discovered Ethereum – a blockchain platform that allows developers to build decentralized apps (Dapps). After reading its whitepaper. I became excited about the possibility of a decentralized computing platform driven by the developer community.
I came across Blockfolio when I connected with Ed Moncada, the company’s CEO and founder. Ed helped me realize the reach of Blockfolio’s scale - how it was already an important player and how much of an impact could be made in the blockchain space.
3. What is your proudest achievement at Blockfolio?
Building and launching Blockfolio Signal, a feature within our app that allows our users to directly receive news and updates from the leaders (CEOs, lead developers, etc.) of top cryptocurrency projects.
We had identified a need in the ecosystem that was not obvious at the time and that users did not necessarily realize they needed. The crypto space is so new that there is not an established flow of credible news and information that is free of noise, misinformation, and spam. This was a personal frustration point for both myself and our CEO Ed that we were both passionate about addressing.
Today we have over 130 cryptocurrency projects broadcasting their latest updates to our users. I’m proudest of Blockfolio Signal because it is the first of its kind communication platform for our space.
4. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem in the crypto space?
Crypto is still nascent, so there is a lot of focus on short-term price speculation. This is a distraction from the advancement of the technology, and I would like to see people focusing on understanding the benefits and value of blockchain instead.
5. What do you love about your team, and why are they the best ones for the job?
Everyone at Blockfolio puts the team first. We are all super competitive individuals, but in a healthy way where we are always working together to build the best product and company possible. The top thing we prioritize in our hiring is cultural fit. We ask ourselves: Is this person going to improve the culture coming in? Every one of our team members fits the bill.
6. How do you measure success at Blockfolio?
We look at traditional KPIs such as current number of users, how often they are using the app, etc. However, one of the key things we look at is how much our users are evangelizing the app to their networks. Blockfolio has never paid for advertising to acquire users (it has grown 100% organically), so this is a key thing to look at. Believe it or not, we even like to look at memes in social media for mentions of Blockfolio since our brand is so embedded in the zeitgeist of crypto. Our users are pretty witty with the types of memes they create about us.
Lastly, we are also very present in the popular crypto channels (Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, and others) to engage with our users.
7. What is the long-term vision for the company?
We want to become an important pillar of the crypto ecosystem. There is a general need for a trusted source of news, information, and data. We want to be the platform that connects everyone in the crypto space through this.
8. Any parting words of wisdom for an AnderTech student in your shoes a few years ago?
Once you identify what you want to do, go all in on it.
If you are into crypto, go ahead and open an account on a few exchanges, buy some and experience what it’s like so you become familiar with the process.
Personally, I was at some point recruiting for a gaming company while at Anderson. I went as far as playing their games hours and hours per week to become as knowledgeable about them as I could. Once I was at the interview, I actually found out that they only considered candidates who had reached a certain level of achievement in their games, which I luckily had.
My second piece of advice is to lean on the Anderson network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni!