Addepeeps

Solving Engineering Challenges That Make a Difference: Catching Up with Ruchir Swarup, Chief Technology Officer

Matt Zukowski

Engineering Manager

Published on

Ruchir Swarup heads the technology teams that have made Addepar the platform of choice for wealth management firms. Addepar provides efficient access to data needed by RIAs, family offices, and banks to better serve their clients and build their practices.

We recently had a chance to explore what makes Addepar so exciting for engineers, and learn about the opportunities to make a difference by putting clients at the center.

Addepar has a long history of innovation. Why does the best technology talent choose to come here?

There are two reasons that stand out to me:

  • The best engineers want to solve complex problems that matter. Building a robust and a highly scalable platform for financial data analytics and reporting across unique investment vehicles is quite complex. So, a lot of tech-obsessed, solution-oriented Engineers find the work here very meaningful and exciting.
  • People also want their work to have an impact and create value. If you solve a problem that no one cares about, it can be disappointing. Our solutions make a difference in the lives of our clients—and the clients they serve. That’s really rewarding in many different ways.

What do team members value the most about Addepar’s engineering culture?

I think it’s the camaraderie and collaboration we foster—people teaming up to address difficult problems. That’s why engineers join our team and stay. At Addepar, you can count on solving problems that matter organization-wide and working cross-functionally. This reinforces the idea of meeting the toughest challenges. We encourage people to come up with winning solutions in partnership with really smart minds across the organization. 

On a more personal note, I joined Addepar this past year during one of the toughest periods we may see in our lives, and onboarding remotely could have easily been a challenge for me. But I found the Addepar team to be incredibly inviting and they helped me come up to speed quickly, even through a screen. I’m thankful to the team for being so gracious as we grow and onboard new Addepeeps.

What differentiates a good architecture from a bad one?

It’s important for a technology architecture to be able to scale and evolve with the needs of our client organizations. That doesn’t mean that an architecture with scale challenges is bad per se. But every company that has a growth path needs a roadmap that enables architectural evolution, which ultimately supports business growth and expansion.

What have you found most impressive about Addepar’s technology stack since you came aboard as CTO a year ago?

I would say that Addepar has one of the most scalable and innovative tech stacks out there. We process millions of accounts for hundreds of client firms every day with predictable precision and dependability. You can measure it and observe it—Addepar is resilient and scalable enough to absorb new clients of any size with ease.

It’s also impressive that the platform supports several different types of clients: significant investment practices and family offices with a widely varied set of requirements. One client might want to scale to handle millions of accounts. But a family office might prioritize exceptional flexibility to analyze and report on a few accounts in an endless number of ways. Typically, one can either design a platform for extreme scalability with predictability or for extreme flexibility, but it’s hard to do both. Addepar’s tech stack remarkably and reliably delivers on both fronts.

You have a well-known open-source library. Are there other aspects of Addepar’s codebase you’d consider open-sourcing?

We discuss these options all the time and as a team, we have an open-source mindset. Large parts of our stack are built on open-source technology that we routinely deliver to clients.

We certainly have created a considerable amount of unique code that’s patent-worthy. But we believe in democratizing our efforts and working closely with clients to solve massive challenges with open-source technology, and we’ll continue to do that.

How do you balance shorter-term product initiatives with longer-term technology investments?

It all goes back to our clients and their needs—our compass. Some time ago, we created an Idea Portal that clients use to share suggestions for enhancements they’d like to see in our product. Think of it as crowdsourcing updates and improvements—we have over 600 client firms, so this is valuable input which tells us what really matters to our user community. 

We listen closely to our clients and they have a sense of co-ownership with the product. We sequence our efforts, always focused on value creation. And that sometimes means surprisingly small projects end up creating enormous value. The goal is to keep our platform current, while emphasizing the value we provide to clients.

What’s your current area of focus as Addepar’s chief technology officer? How do you stay informed about the latest technology developments?

One of our most important areas of focus at the moment is to support the significant trajectory of growth we’re seeing here at Addepar. Our clients and prospects are highly sophisticated firms and many are global businesses. So, one of our key initiatives is ensuring that our technology stack and the product features are congruent with our client needs worldwide. Separately, as a part of expanding our footprint outside of the US, we recently announced our first international office in Edinburgh, Scotland. We are starting the buildout with our R&D team hiring for exceptional talent in the Data and Engineering space. It is very exciting to take this first step to truly globalize the Addepar technology stack and brand. Many more exciting new developments are yet to come!

With respect to keeping up with the fast pace of innovation, I find that the Addepar Engineering team is an extremely innovative group, and I personally learn a lot working with them every single day. Secondly, I am fortunate to have a community of senior Technology leaders across different industries in my close network, who are incredibly gracious in sharing their experiences as well as insights into how they are approaching some highly complex technical challenges in their sphere of operation. The key is to listen carefully and apply those learnings to drive everyday innovation here at Addepar!