Addepar is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week! Now is an opportune time for us to pull up from the daily details together. We’ll reiterate our founding vision from 2009, celebrate the tremendous accomplishments we’ve achieved as a team and with our clients and partners, and define some markers that will keep us all aligned on pushing this entire industry forward together for the next decade.
Transforming an Industry
Joe Lonsdale and Jason Mirra started Addepar with an ambitious vision. People who manage complex investment portfolios globally needed full data-driven transparency - for both existing investments and the range of investable opportunities to consider. By empowering financial advisors, investment managers, and their clients to make confident investment decisions, Addepar could help improve the most consequential risk-return tradeoffs in financial markets. Given Joe & Jason’s roots, they recognized the need for a new generation of technology to deliver this transformation. By having one unified data model, language and technology foundation used by clients of all types, they saw a broader opportunity to modernize a wide range of financial services on an open platform. They started Addepar in Silicon Valley in November 2009.
The financial crisis had just wiped out many trillions of dollars of assets around the world. Even basic analysis demonstrated that the people responsible for managing $100+ trillion in assets were uniformly suffering from inadequate technology and data to do their jobs well and in a timely, consistent way. In general, large asset owners struggled to answer simple questions across their portfolios: What do I own? Where do I own it? What is it worth? What am I exposed to? What should I do about it?
Our early team at Addepar knew that we were embarking on a tremendous journey together. As with most ambitious companies, the path forward often hasn’t been a straight line. That said, our shared commitment to our mission has never wavered. I’d like us to take a moment to underscore that point. We set out in 2009 to solve what was clearly a big, real and multi-faceted problem. We committed to bring technology, people, and data together to help investors make the best, most informed decisions, every day. We’ve persevered through some challenging moments, and shared some of the most extraordinary successes together. I’m tremendously proud of our team for that, and I say honestly and often that it feels like we’re just getting started.
One reality that’s not broadly understood is that the foundation necessary to answer these questions at scale simply did not exist, despite decades of tremendous growth in financial services. A key advantage that Addepar has enjoyed since the start is our team’s strong technology acumen. We have been adept at building Addepar to scale and fully capitalizing on innovations that are relevant to our problem space: the cloud, distributed data and computation systems, rich web-based applications, fault tolerant networks, multi-layered security and controls, and an active open source community.
Together, we’ve turned the corner from youthful, pioneering startup to a true leader at the intersection of finance and technology. We provide a mission-critical platform that is the backbone for family offices, RIAs, and banks. Our philosophical bent to act as a great partner has served us and our clients, and we’re creating a vibrant ecosystem.
We have grown in profound ways together. During the most challenging times, we had the grit to become reflective and pinpoint what exactly we needed to focus on in order to reach the next level. Our ability to retrospect and work as a team during these trickier parts of the journey are often under-appreciated, but it’s how we’ve been able to achieve meaningful results with our broader community in 10 years.
Growing into a Market Leader
Joe and I started working together in mid-2006 at Palantir, a company he co-founded in 2004 in the wake of the 9-11 Commission report. We share an innate drive that’s centered on renovating the world’s antiquated foundations with modern technology and data. Joe’s focus has spanned finance, government, healthcare, logistics and more, while mine has gone deeper in developing modern enterprise-scale financial technology since 2003 when I joined Lehman Brothers in Fixed Income Analytics.
At Addepar, we’ve always believed that each person should have the opportunity to achieve the best investment outcomes possible, which needs to incorporate unique goals, objectives, and preferences. In April 2018, Addepar surpassed $1 trillion in assets on our platform. Since then, our growth has continued accelerating across the markets we serve. Most importantly, our clients - whether RIAs, family offices, private banks, regional banks, wirehouses, etc - use Addepar even more every day to deliver a high quality, tailored, valuable experience to their clients. We’re growing together.
Our anniversary is a good time to not only reflect on our beginnings and company progress but to also reflect on ourselves and how we’ve changed. I had never been a CEO before Addepar. When I first joined, I was regularly carded at bars still and hardly had any grey hair. Those days are behind me - not entirely coincidental =).
Over the last seven years, each Addepeep has contributed to my own development. I’ve learned more than I could possibly describe at Addepar. My job is to lead from the front, while leaning on and listening to each individual at the company, so we all get better and stronger constantly; from the ins/outs of our industry, to recuperating from redeyes, to playing 3D calendar Tetris, to grok’ing the power of direct feedback. Most importantly though, I’ve learned how to lead and scale -- and candid advice from a trusted colleague was instrumental in teaching me how to clearly articulate my passion and convictions, demonstrate ownership and accountability, and uphold a high standard to move Addepar forward. Our trajectory forces us all to keep growing.
Each year, Addepar’s footprint expands in ways we hadn’t fully anticipated. Today our 300+ people span three main offices. Each offers something truly unique. Whether it’s Salt Lake City and their love for client outcomes and the great outdoors; or our Manhattan office and the team’s ability to expertly blend wealth and tech expertise; or in Silicon Valley, where the ethos to solve big, industry-wide problems got us started and is alive and well. I’m grateful to each and every Addepeep, as we’ve all played a part in making Addepar the industry-leading wealth management platform it is today.
One of the most gratifying aspects for me has been in watching our team members develop and grow, both personally and professionally. We embody our core value of building together, whether we are inventing great technology, working on a solution to support a client, or creating the most productive and inclusive workplace. It has been thrilling to see lifelong friendships develop over the years, and to celebrate many life moments together: weddings, children, and other personal milestones - and of course the casual, impromptu gatherings. Our community is becoming stronger over time.
The Path Forward
We have come a long way together in ten years. Frankly, what’s most exciting to me is that there is so much more to be done. We’re already expanding our kick-ass team to power Addepar as we enter our next stage of rapid growth. We’ve been intentional in building the foundation so we can compound our value propositions and ability to scale in a way that’s unprecedented in the next 10 years. The opportunities we have immediately in front of us are extraordinary. Our team and broad base of clients and partners are what positions us ideally to make a deeper, more profound impact on financial services globally. We’re eager to share updated growth statistics and unveil new capabilities to you all soon, which will serve as a clear sign of things to come.
Today, I’m also incredibly excited to announce AddeOne: Addepar’s new philanthropy program designed to further align our team with our vision to advance prosperity for everyone. AddeOne provides Addepeeps with the opportunity to take time away from the office to support non-profit organizations within the communities where we live and work. Addepeeps can sponsor projects and recruit Addepar employees, friends, and family to participate. I’d like to give a shout-out to Anokhee Mepani for proposing this initiative and to Kimberly Venable for thoughtfully developing the program.
I feel an immense amount of gratitude as I get the opportunity to build alongside my fellow Addepeeps every day. Our future is bright. As we keep charging hard together, we’ll inevitably experience a balance of challenges to overcome, and the sometimes euphoric feeling of massive accomplishment. As we’ve proven time and time again, a group of passionate people with some serious grit and a big, bold mission can have an outsized impact on the world. Here’s to the next 10 years, Addepar! #buildtogether