Yippee ki yay, it's Taylor, CEO of Hedgehog, the app that lets you view your entire portfolio, and trade via any exchange account that you want, in a single convenient spot. Voilà!
My team returned from our first company retreat with a to-do list longer than Santa's — okay, not longer, but with more intricate data-handling on it, I bet. Before I talk about what's coming next, let's review everything Hedgehog has accomplished this year.
If you're curious, I also posted yearly review posts in 2019 and 2020, when Hedgehog was a lotttt smaller. It's kinda wild to see how far we’ve come in a couple of years.
I say "a couple of years," and that doesn't sound like a long time, but I cannot even put into words what a journey it has been. Running a startup is 95% hard work and 5% luck — but that 5% really matters. This year has definitely been lucky!
In 2021 the team grew by 11 people, and together we're forging the vision for Hedgehog. I'm proud and thrilled that such a cool group of people is building with me. Honestly, I'm also thrilled by how cool our customers are — the gang on Hedgehog's Discord is so much fun! I am grateful for the enthusiasm and can-do attitude that y'all bring to the table, and love joking around with y'all at the end of the day.
Gosh, I'm getting sappy and I’m bragging. But that's probably what my investors would tell me to do! They are a savvy bunch, so I'm gonna brag about them too: Dragonfly Capital, Y Combinator, Baroda Ventures, Ricky Lobel, and more. These firms did Hedgehog the honor of betting on the company's success, and we wouldn't be here without their support.
Here is what we've been up to in 2021...
We launched our public app! I know, it seems like we've been around forever but Hedgehog is just getting started.
BTC hit new all-time highs after 3 years of languishing markets. I'm not saying that my team deserves personal credit, but I'm pretty sure we do all own bitcoin, so… everyone was stoked.
Hedgehog raised money from Dragonfly Capital, Baroda Ventures, and Y Combinator.
We upgraded the product and made trading a free feature for all users.
Hired the first batch of employees! Pete Schreyer (lead frontend engineer, previously SAP), Richard Catlin (platform architect, previously Acorns & Oracle), and Sonya Mann (community & content, previously Zcash Foundation).
Launched on Product Hunt and Hacker News, hired Allen Bailey (chief information security officer, previously Amex), Jacek Trocinski (database architect, previously Credit Suisse) and Matt George (growth marketing, previously Dollaride).
Published API walkthroughs to help users, upgraded the product again, and started this newsletter 🎉
Interviewed a crypto influencer for the first time 😱
Raised a second round of funding and caught the attention of CoinDesk.
Became the first internet adviser registered with the SEC to give personalized crypto advice in the U.S. and made TechCrunch's favorite companies at YC Demo Day.
Deep future planning 👽🔮
Hired Colin Popell (lead product manager, previously Microsoft).
November 🤒 💪
Everyone in the company got sick but still released updates. Also we hit 10,000 users! Hired Nick Smith (devops & CI/CD, previously Honeywell) and Jonathan Hope (customer success lead, previously Grand Canyon Education).
Migrated the app to a more secure architecture with all kinds of testing and validations.
Launched our new home page WOOT WOOT 🥳
…while still newslettering and blogging about stablecoins, the existing metaverse, NFT gaming, etc…
All of the above is a preview of Hedgehog's wonderful plans for 2022: from our shiny new mobile app and custodial accounts to automatic investment portfolios and a trading engine that will connect you to the best price on any exchange.
Sign up to be notified when these new features are ready on our fresh new homepage! Otherwise, have yourself a merry non-denominational winter holiday and get ready to crank some resolutions in the new year!
(While I am the CEO and thus technically in charge, I am also a developer, so I know that accurate timeline estimates are basically impossible. If you want more details, or to discuss feedback with the team, come hang in our chat group on Discord!)
Who's been building these wonderful features? Hedgehog has almost quadrupled in size this year, but we're still cozy enough that I can introduce everybody. Cue John Cena's entrance music, now let's meet the team!
Colton Dillion, cofounder, CTO, and self-proclaimed himbo. Cheerful, wise, all-around mensch; Colton has a simultaneous calming and heartening effect on anybody who talks to him.
Tldr: Highly recommend starting a company with this guy.
Jason Dillion, cofounder, COO, and Colton's brother. Getting shit done is a Dillion family trait! Jason exemplifies it. He always considers the needs of the group and goes the extra mile to make sure everyone feels comfortable and included.
Tldr: Jason owns more silly overalls than people tend to suspect upon first meeting him.
Morgan Culbertson, my own brother. He isn't technically a Hedgehog employee, but he's CEO of our sister company and settlement partner Hopscotch. Morgan is whip-smart, cuts straight to the chase, and you'll often wonder whether he’s joking or serious (the answer is yes).
Tldr: If my mom asks, I'm definitely 100% taller than he is.
Allen Bailey, chief information security officer, is the definition of suave, with a heavy shake of cowboy mischief — the perfect mix of honey and pepper to keep everyone on their toes!
Tldr: Hold your horses, Solar Winds.
Jacek Trocinski, database architect, is simply a beast. Sit that man down with an IDE and later you'll have to lure him back out of the Matrix with a fresh Dogecoin. Our resident sweetheart and former DJ, he's always ready to help whichever teammate needs a hand.
Tldr: *insert DJ noises here*
Pete Schreyer, lead frontend engineer, approaches his craft with passion and skill. As a fellow frontend dev (yes I do still write code) it's a lot to keep up with, and Pete makes the grind look easy. Despite that, he makes you feel awesome. Pete's the best.
Tldr: Must occasionally be peeled away from the computer to take a break.
Richard Catlin, platform architect, brings experience from across the tech industry and an affinity for open-source frameworks. Look to Richard for measured guidance and thoughtful clarity. Then, when you least expect it, he will zing out a dry, wicked oneliner. Keep an eye on this guy 😜
Tldr: He's the George Clooney of Hedgehog. No seriously, the side-by-side is uncanny.
Colin Popell, lead product manager, is basically a philosopher. Ask him a question and you're about to learn something, even if he doesn't know the exact answer. Colin is careful and thorough in planning, bold and decisive in action. Trust me, it feels great to have someone this relentless on your side!
Tldr: Colin's book club is awesome. He recommends you start with The Great Conversation.
Matt George is charming, boisterous, and mid-leap to where the ball is headed as soon as you think of throwing it. As growth marketing lead, Matt constantly keeps his finger on the pulse of incoming customers, plus making sure the rest of the team is ready to receive them.
Tldr: Matt is one of Hedgehog's many not-so-secret goofballs, and is always here to play when the snowball fight starts. Get ready, duck!
Sonya Mann handles content and community, meaning she helps with this newsletter 👋 as well Hedgehog's blog and social media. She says that she is "beyond excited" to keep publishing in 2022. And I have to quote her because Sonya "really likes quotes."
Tldr: Our initial meeting was supposed to last 30 minutes. 30 minutes later, we cleared our calendars and talked for an hour and a half. She's just an absolute joy to work with.
Jonathan Hope, our customer success lead, has the sunshine smile and friendly patience to truly listen to a frustrated person so that he can help solve their problem. With his background in education, I expect Jon to whip you all into shape as blockchain experts in 2022 😜 In fact, Hedgehog first met Jon when he wrote an article about crypto livestreaming!
Tldr: Jon's just one of the kindest humans I've ever met.
Nick Smith, DevOps & CI/CD, well he's just a rockstar. No other way to put it. We've only been working with him for a couple weeks, but our whole team is already leaning on him for help. Nick's nothing short of fantastic.
Tldr: Don't mind me. I'm just furiously looking up more synonyms for "phenomenal person."
Mohamed Abdrabou, front-end / design. Technically he doesn't start until the new year, but we already love this guy (offering to bring me his mom's secret soup recipe when I got sick really sealed the deal). Aside from that, dude's got some serious front-end chops and codes like a McLaren on the Utah salt flats.
Tldr: Don't eat soup in a McLaren. Do eat soup outside of a McLaren.
Have you made it to the bottom of this newsletter? Oof, it's a long one. Thank you for sticking with me till the end! It's been a great year for Hedgehog, and to briefly tldr the entire newsletter: I'm just thrilled to be able to build dope shit with dope people, for dope people like you.
Now, the giveaway question of the week: Who do you appreciate the most this holiday season? Alternative: Who is the coolest person you met this year, and what makes them great?
Just respond to this email with your answer and you'll be entered to win a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet.
Don't forget, you're my #1 customer,
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