Catching up with Velocity Fund $25K winner, HodlBot

Last July, HodlBot pitched and won $25,000 at the 22nd Velocity Fund Finals (VFF). We caught up with Calvin Leyon, Co-Founder & CEO of HodlBot, for a post-VFF update. HodlBot is now a Velocity Garage company.

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HodlBot takes the investment software that institutional funds use and make it available to everyone.


Q: How has your company developed since winning VFF?

Calvin Leyon (CL): VFF created quite a bit of exposure for us. Several media publications picked up our story, which was a boost for our growth. We also had the capital to improve the UI/UX of our platform and launch the Create your own Portfolio (CYOP) feature I pitched at VFF. Since launching CYOP, over 1000 portfolios have been created. We also created 3 new indices: The Coinbase Index, the Hodl10 & the Hodl30.

We’ve become one of the go-to platforms for investing in cryptocurrency in just 6 months. Since launching in April, HodlBot has now traded over $25M and processed over 70,000 transactions.

Q: What is your company currently working on?

CL: We’re looking into custody & further customization options for our users. We are beginning to ramp up our marketing efforts in Q1 of 2019. Our users have brought up HodlBot’s potential application to stocks, which is also really interesting to our team.

Q: What do you enjoy most about building a startup?

CL: Someone once told me building a startup was like jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down. That could not be more accurate. You’re forced to consistently adapt & solve new problems.

Starting a business is one of the most amazing, challenging, and fulfilling things I’ve done so far. But what makes it special to me is the people I get to work with–they are my best friends. This is actually our third startup together as a team. We’ve been through both highs and lows, and I’m certain that will continue. To be able to share these growing experiences with some of your closest friends is priceless.

Q: What did you like most about competing at VFF?

CL: I promised our team before competing at VFF that I would win the 25K. I remember I even told both Jay Shah & Bradley Moggach, to which they chuckled. This was before we even had the chance to apply. I personally love to operate under pressure and truly believe you improve the most under these circumstances.

I can say I was most definitely nervous [at the day of competition]. Once I got up there, I remember thinking: This is it. This is what you’ve asked for. This is what you’ve waited for. How bad do you want it?

The pitch went by in a flash. I honestly can’t even remember being up there.

The best part for sure was talking to Jay after winning. I wasn’t impressed with how I performed, but when I asked Jay for feedback, he said though the content could have been better from a pure pitch perspective, it was one of the best he’d seen for 3 minutes. Hearing that from someone you really look up to was the cherry on top.

Q: Are there any tips you can give to startups that are pitching?

CL: Pitching is always about telling a story. This is your story, [so you have to] design the deck to match your style and tempo. Your slides should be a visual aid to your voice, not a presentation. Be true to who you are up there. Prepare, practice, practice, practice, and practice.


Missed Hodlbot’s pitch? Watch it on YouTube

Want to see all of the updates from past season’s winners? Check out our Road to 23rd Velocity Fund Finals blog.

Learn more about the Fall 2018 Velocity Fund Finals today!

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.