This is part of a series of interviews with founders and builders in the Web3 space called the Web3 Growth Handbook. The official handbook will be released in the coming months, but you can read all of the other available interviews here. We’re also releasing a free Web3 Growth Handbook soon. Sign up to be notified here.
“Finding the user that will be the driver of virality of the product. Retention is important. We relied on Twitter, and it was a good solution to generating growth. But the next step is to figure out how to break out of the small community.”
The decentralized finance (DeFi) movement helped propel the entire Web3 space forward in 2019, and Zerion was a major contributor. With a simple, easy to understand interface, Zerion makes it possible for people, both in the crypto space and out, to invest, lend, and earn interest through crypto products. CEO of Zerion, Evgeny Yurtaev, sees DeFi as a movement that should not be siloed like many of the Web2 companies in the past, and as such, he’s focused on building a platform that people love without locking them in.
Founded in May of 2016, Zerion provides two main products. The first is, perhaps, the more well-known product. Their investment and interest earn account platform, named after the company itself, leverages multiple DeFi protocols to help people get the best returns possible on their investments with none of the volatility inherent in traditional cryptocurrency investment. The second product is a portfolio tracking application called CryptoTrader. The mobile app features real-time news and market tracking to help investors stay on top of their game.
Zerion recently raised a $2 million seed round, led by Placeholder Ventures. The seed round, according to Evgeny, is designed to help them grow both their userbase but also their team and product.
We had the chance to talk with Evgeny about his company’s growth, the challenges, and the future of the Web3 space as a whole.
How do you define growth for Zerion?
We currently have two metrics that we are looking for. The major one is number of users. For us, it’s less about AUM. We are looking at how much time people spend on the app. It’s very similar to how a traditional product measures growth. The second one is as an interface we do originate transactions, so we look at how many assets are flowing through Zerion. It can be trading, borrowing, lending.
In the future, we will be tracking TVL (total value locked) when we move toward using smart contact wallets.
What has been the most difficult part of growing your company so far?
It all comes down to finding a product/market fit. It’s not special to our team. It’s the same for everyone. Finding the user that will be the driver of virality of the product. Retention is important. We relied on Twitter for growth. It was a good solution to generating growth. There’s still room to grow through Twitter, but we are looking at other communities. The next step is to figure out how to break out of the small community.
I’m not too concerned about reaching the 99% yet. I like that we are building niche industries that are gaining interest. It gives us the chance to debug and make things work properly. We should be engaging other blockchain communities before reaching the remaining 99%.
What do you think needs to happen to drive virality and retention?
We need to lower the bar to the experience to make it easier for even people in the community. Our solution with Gnosis Safe will serve the purpose of attracting other blockchain communities because it will abstract the need to know about Ethereum. It makes it easier for people to just understand stable coins. Breaking the dependency of knowledge on Ethereum and making the experience no more complicated than using a centralized exchange will give us a path forward to those other communities.
What tools do you wish existed to help lower the bar to entry in Web3 or to help with growth in general?
Right now, from what I see, communications with the community is tricky. Privacy is important and consistency is important. The consistency part is the hardest part to achieve. Some people want to share email and some don’t. The fragmentation of communication makes it difficult to be consistent in reaching out to people in the community. Tools to communicate across these channels would make things easier.
What are your predictions for Web3/Blockchain growth in 2020?
Some people call 2019 the year of DeFi. My thinking is 2020 will be the actual year of DeFi. I think we’ll see even more growth there. Gaming is growing as well. I think DeFi and gaming will both see big growth. Growth in DeFi will come from synthetics assets and risky investment options. Decentralized margin trading and insurance will contribute.
There has never been a better time to make your idle investments work for you. The DeFi movement has made it easy to see earn interest significantly higher than you would in a traditional checking or savings account. If you’re interested in joining the movement, give Zerion a try.
If you want to grow your Web3 product and connect with your users in a privacy preserving way, try SimpleID today.