What Escape Velocity Looks Like-

A reflection of our time in MIT’s deltaV accelerator

Kevin March
4 min readSep 10, 2018

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating, on behalf of Floating Point Group, in the demo day put on by MIT’s Martin Trust Center for its summer accelerator, deltaV.

It was incredible.

(Watch the 5 minute pitch here starting at 2:09:20)

The breadth of ideas, talent, and success on display was humbling. Energy flowed from every corner of the building, even as the 1000+ crowd that had packed into the auditorium sat with bated breath between their cheers and applause. Every speaker that pitched their company was suited for a TED talk and was showered with thunderous approval from the audience when they left the stage. It’s not hard to imagine a future in which these young men and women have built titans in their respective industries.

I can’t express how proud I am of my cofounders, John Peurifoy and Van Phu. It’s an honor to get to work with such talented people at Floating Point Group that can awe and inspire like they do. It’s a peculiar thing to recognize the truly boundless nature of another person’s future. No savvy entrepreneur would pick a cofounder that they don’t think fits that ticket, but in the day-to-day grinding of starting a company, that mystique fades into the background as you’re putting out all the fires.

Last night was a particular moment of clarity that prompted me to be amazed with our team. Sitting in the crowd as it erupted in deafening cheers after John’s presentation- witnessing their excitement as countless individuals approached us afterward to offer their services, talk about investment, and inquire about joining the team- served as a powerful, electrifying reminder that we are building something extraordinary here.

I mean, look at this guy. Positively electrifying (pun intended)

Our demo day in Cambridge, MA was the first of three that mark the conclusion of the accelerator deltaV and our achievements during the program have been formidable.

When the three of us finished our schooling in May and moved in together, we had only a general idea what we would build this summer. There were a lot of ideas- focus is an ongoing battle. Maybe we’d create a cryptocurrency exchange? Maybe we’d work full-time on an HFT arbitrage fund? What if we got into risk management tools and started a crypto asset management firm? We’d completed exactly zero product market research. We had not built anything. We didn’t have a business plan (nor the even slightest idea of what we’d put in one).

“These are the guys trying to save the world with a hedge fund”- Bill Aulet

“So you’ll invest my crypto for me?”- Literally everyone

Three months later and we’re singing a distinctly different tune. Our home since May has been Two Sigma’s Collision Lab (thanks 2σ!) out of Cornell Tech in New York City where we worked 12 consecutive triple-digit hour work weeks. We’ve consumed enough Red Bull and espresso to power a jet engine across the Pacific ocean three times over. We’ve stomped our flip flops across half of the trading floors in Manhattan (sorry 2σ!). We’ve had our first three mini-board meetings with our incredible group of advisors and mentors. We even tracked people down to their vacation homes in the Hamptons in our quest for answers.

Look at this place! It’s a miracle we got anything done between the views and the snacks.

We were relentless in our search for unique insights… And we found them.

The technology stack supporting our smart order router is among the best in the industry. Our user experience caters specifically to some of the biggest pain points we’ve heard from our market research all summer. We asked what challenges they faced and found some surprising answers:

“We actually don’t know how much it’s costing us”

“We have to call them every week”

“They don’t support the tokens we need”

“Their API is archaic. Nothing is documented!”

With those complaints in mind, we rolled out the beta of our first product. We’re slightly embarrassed- it’s still rough around the edges- but we decided to ship it early anyway and get some user feedback.

Looking back over the rollercoaster of startuphood, here’s what it looks like on paper:

  1. Spoke to 15+ hedge funds, 10+ banks, 20+ cryptocurrency businesses for PMR
  2. Released our beta product, an API offering smart order routing and trade execution
  3. Signed our first paying customer!
  4. Ran 5 pilots with major B2B customers
  5. Formalized partnerships with two major cryptocurrency exchanges
  6. Routed over $3,000,000 of orders through our execution engine
  7. Accepted into a fintech accelerator
  8. Received the first pledge from a VC to invest into our seed round

None of this would be possible without the truly life-changing experiences within deltaV from its cohort of brilliant young entrepreneurs, our board of advisors, and deltaV’s magnificent + fearless leader Carly Chase.

If you squint, you can see our logo on the rocket

We’ve reached escape velocity

but keep an eye out- we’re just getting started.

Ever thought about getting on a rocketship? Why not start now? Check out our openings

Stay in touch! Drop us a line on our website

P.S. Endless stream of appreciation to the extraordinary volunteers that spent their time advising us as part of deltaV: Alon Lederman(Credit Suisse), Aaron Roy(Bond), Adam Leeb(Astrohaus), Cristina Dolan(iXledger Technologies), Deepa Javeri(Propel), Alessandra Henderson(Human Ventures), Trevor Filter(Flexa), Kent Wallgren(UBS), George Popescu(Lampix), K Waterman(EIR), Santiago Ibañez(bild)