Building a Better Portfolio: An Interview With Nicolas Van Hoorde, CEO of the Delta App (Exclusive)
There are now over 2,000 cryptocurrencies available to investors, with more launching every week. While the growth of major exchanges like Binance and KuCoin has worked well to condense the altcoin market to a degree, most of these digital assets are still haphazardly distributed across multiple crypto platforms.
For investors hoping to build a well-balanced portfolio of coins varying in market cap and type (privacy, utility tokens, etc.), it often requires accounts on multiple exchanges and several secure wallets. Given the many moving parts, it can quickly become difficult to monitor the growth of a portfolio.
These difficulties led to the adoption of crypto portfolio apps, designed to simplify the process of monitoring digital assets across multiple locations. While early entrants like Blockfolio have enjoyed significant usage, a new generation of companies is beginning to roll out sophisticated alternatives.
One such company is Opus Labs, which owns Delta, a portfolio app available both for desktop and mobile devices. Delta has branded itself as the ultimate Bitcoin and cryptocurrency portfolio tracker app with over 2,000 altcoins available from 70+ exchanges. While it does offer a paid subscription for premium features, Delta is otherwise completely free to use, providing investors with a number of useful tools to track and analyze their portfolios. With total downloads approaching 1 million and hundreds of thousands of daily active users, Delta is quickly becoming the premier portfolio app.
We sat down with Nicolas Van Hoorde, CEO of Opus Labs, to discuss Delta and his vision for building a more useful and transparent cryptocurrency portfolio platform.
SludgeFeed: What is the idea behind Delta and how does it help investors?
Van Hoorde: In creating Delta, we set out to help investors make better decisions regarding their cryptocurrency investments. We initially started off as being a very user-friendly portfolio trigger tool and have since expanded our scope to offer more than just portfolio tracking, becoming more of an all-around tool for investors.
This is definitely the direction we are taking, as we look into even broader applications for Delta. Of course, being a portfolio tracking application is still the heart and core of Delta, but it’s important to stress that we plan to become more than that.
We hope to not only cater to people who already have cryptocurrencies, but also those who are just interested in the potential of investing in crypto.
How did Delta come about? What is your background and could you provide any information regarding the other founders or investors?
My background is actually in the product management area. I studied computer science but after my internship as an engineer, I never wrote a line of code for work again. My first job was as a project manager, coming up with ideas and building them out. And at a certain point after working at a few companies, I met a colleague of mine, Filip Minev, who was of similar age and shared many interests.
We both had savings and we had the feeling that saving our money in the bank wasn’t really doing much, that it was actually decreasing in value. In April/May 2017, Filip, the now CTO of Delta, and I began investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies. One thing led to another, and we started using Blockfolio, which I think is still a very good app and at the time was really the only choice. Obviously, things have changed since then.
We as both very passionate product guys saw opportunity in the fact that there was some simple stuff that we were missing and thought if we just built this, we could probably do it better. I then started working on some concepts and by the summer, we both left the company and founded Delta.
The funny story is that the three founders of the company Filip and I worked at liked the idea so much that all three decided to co-found and invest in the new endeavor. So Delta was born, and on October 4th, we managed to launch worldwide. It’s all being built in Belgium at the moment, but we do have a wide-range of nationalities on the team, including people from Canada, Norway, Bulgaria, and also people in the U.K.
You’re quickly approaching 1 million installs, could you share more on your current growth?
We’re indeed getting closer to that very important milestone and we really began to see this massive growth in October and November, which were before the crypto hype months of December and January. We had a lot of organic growth by being very active on Reddit, as well as being very sincere and transparent in our communication.
These values carried us from the start and helped us get traction from the get-go, and of course, the December and January months amplified this growth and put us on a rocket ship going from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of daily active users. And while we did see the February and March months as less high growth months, we were really fortunate to find that the base users remained. We were able to keep the users that entered, as we have a really high recency on our platform, enabling us to keep growing even in these down months.
We since built a pro offering and have been adding subscribers every hour, and we’re super happy to be in this position. While we realize that, number-wise, we may not be the biggest yet, our feeling is that quality-wise we’re already there.
You mentioned the pro subscription feature, would you mind sharing more on what you currently offer with it and how you think that will develop?
It’s important to stress Delta is very much a free application. As a business, we want to make money and be profitable to keep Delta going. From the start, we already noticed the cryptocurrency markets are like any other, so we set out to build Delta with core values based around transparency and correctness, where we don’t partner with cryptocurrency projects to help them pump the price of their coins, for instance.
These decisions made us the really aware that we are not going to do any ICO ads, or any ads at the moment, we’re not going to sell or analyze your data, where our competitors are choosing that route more and more. So, we were left with one option: creating a business model around Delta Pro, which is the premium offering on top of the free application that is Delta. And while we push it in a very non-aggressive way, we try to create value for this offering while still keeping this free feeling that Delta has.
Speaking to the specifics, we empower the user with Delta Pro instead of limiting the free user. Every user on Delta can create a portfolio, but if you’re the type of investor who needs multiple portfolios, which I think relates to more professionals, then you can go Delta Pro. The same goes for the exchange API connections, where every user can set up 2 API connections, which is already above average. But if you want unlimited API or wallet connections, then Delta Pro is for you. The same also goes for features in early-access, which will give Pro users a bit of a head start.
All-in-all, I think the way we have approached the paying part of Delta is very telling for how we run the company. We don’t try to sidestep, it’s definitely there, but we want to position it in a way where nobodies offended, everybody gets it, and everybody that wants to back us has a good feeling about the fact they’re supporting a company and a project that holds these values.
Given the fact that you have your finger on the pulse of the cryptocurrency markets, I’m sure there are a number of companies that would try to purchase your user data and analytics from you. Can you explain further your commitment to transparency and the proper handling of user data?
Internally, we don’t even look at the data or analyze it. We stress the importance of the user being the owner of his or her data very much. That’s why we anonymize all data. There are no user accounts, no information that ties the data to an actual person. Next to that, we handle API connections in a very similar way, where its purely stored client side.
It’s small things, but I think it speaks volumes about how we want to approach a user and make him feel that he is being appreciated as the owner of his data, as he should be.
You’ve touched on this a bit already, but what else specifically makes you stand apart from the other applications on the market?
One of the first things users appreciate is the very clean UI and UX. Second, it’s not necessarily about features because when we released we were pretty much on par feature-wise, but in the last few months we’ve released on a much faster cycle than the competitors, and we have surpassed them in terms of features. But that is definitely not what made us stand out from the start. What did make us stand out is the core of our user experience, which I believe to be customer support. Everybody in the company is actively interacting with our users on a daily basis, whether it be on the Telegram, Twitter or Reddit. It’s not something we outsource to a team that nobody knows, it’s us and we do it, we reply, and people notice it. And definitely in this cryptocurrency market, it’s wildly appreciated. While it’s very difficult to keep this level of personal support as we grow, it’s very important to keep this going and so far, we’ve achieved in that.
Quickly touching on our user interface, we recently won the Webby for best mobile UI, which speaks volumes regarding the appreciation of the UI. There’s also the transparency and respect for users in terms of data. Also, we were reliable during the hype months when our competitors struggled to keep their servers running.
It’s a combination of big things and little things.
Finally, where’s Delta heading? Any major releases upcoming?
The next version (1.8) is very close to release, it will have a completely new system, changing the way people view their portfolio in a currency type of way. We are allowing users to completely customize their portfolios worth to be depicted in any currency or coin that they want.
If we’re looking further down in the future, we’re going to completely redo the alerts. Right now its currency price-based, where you can get alerts for when a coin hits a certain price, but we’re going to expand this. We’re going to add relative notifications with alerts for when a coin increases by a certain percentage, when a portfolio hits a certain value or even when a coin market cap hits a certain value.
These types of things show Delta thinks further than the basic implementation and looks to add extra value.