Moon is one of seven Columbia affiliated startups who will be participating in the 8th annual CVC-NY Demo Night.
Kenneth and Moon, are working to make cryptocurrency more useful for everyone.
Who is Moon?
The team behind Moon is group of top notch developers who believe in crypto as a currency. Founder and CEO Ken Kruger received his BS in Computer Science from Cornell University and his MS in Operations Research at Columbia. He was a software developer at Lockheed Martin on ballistic missile systems after which he founded a venture backed gesture recognition company where he developed cutting edge machine learning algorithms for inertial sensor data. After that he founded a technology consulting company that served New York based Seed to Series C stage venture-backed companies.
What does Moon do?
Moon is a browser extension that allows you to make purchases at any online retailer with the most popular cryptocurrencies instantly, securely and without fees. For example, with Moon you can spend Bitcoin on Amazon or Ether on Ebay, which is otherwise not possible. At Moon our goal is to make crypto useful to everyone, not just the techies.
How did you decide now is the time to develop a product like this?
The timing for Moon is perfect. Adoption of cryptocurrency is growing and there is increasing demand to be able to spend cryptocurrency in lieu of fiat currencies. Cryptocurrency payment volume is now in the hundreds of millions of USD a month and this figure is growing triple digit percentages annually.
What do you see as the future of cryptocurrency in everyday life?
Crypto will become more of a currency and less of a speculative investment. New cryptocurrencies are being developed that are pegged to fiat currencies like the USD, which adds price stability. I think many of the everyday life applications of crypto will be related to these price-stable cryptocurrencies (also known as stablecoins). A combination of this price stability and companies that increase cryptocurrency usability, like Moon, will play a critical role in making crypto into a real currency.
Should we all be more focused on it?
There is a massive opportunity in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. New technology has spawned a new industry that few truly understand. I would recommend anyone learn more about crypto and blockchain as there may be unique applications of these technologies in their industry. For those who are technically inclined, I would recommend learning about it in order to gain an advantage in their field and differentiate themselves in the job market.
How has your career since Columbia lead you to this endeavor?
After studying financial engineering at Columbia I spent my career working in sensors and software, first at Lockheed Martin, then as the founder of my own gesture recognition company and finally as I ran a software consulting company. My entrepreneurial experience lead me to where I am today. Having operated companies and worked very closely with startup clients and investors, I’ve seen what works, what doesn’t and how to identify a great opportunity. Having followed the crypto space since 2009, I saw the opportunity to solve a fundamental problem in crypto and started Moon.
Clearly being of a very entrepreneurial spirit — what would you say to those considering taking on the startup life?
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Leaving a day job to start your own venture is risky and does not lend itself to having the most comfortable life. For me, I can’t not be an entrepreneur. I’ve always run some kind of business since high school, whether that was tutoring, computer repair or software development. It was something I needed to do. What would I do if I had all the money in the world? I wouldn’t be at Punta Cana drinking Mojitos — I would still be building Moon 24/7, because it’s a passion. To those of you who are considering taking the plunge: do some soul searching and ask yourself if you are really passionate about the business and being an entrepreneur.
What’s one piece of advice that’s really stuck with you over the years?
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” — Mark Twain
What was your first experience in startups like and what lesson, or failure have you taken with you from it?
In undergrad I worked on a startup that was very similar to what Groupon is today. We were the top startup on Cornell’s campus and had expanded to offering online coupons/deals at neighboring college campuses. We pivoted to a membership based discount card model as opposed to printing coupons/deals because we thought it would be better for college students who wouldn’t want to deal with printing. Our decision to pivot away from a profitable model towards an unknown model was based on an assumption instead of conversations with our customers. This lead the company to fail. The lesson learned: let the market drive your decisions instead of your assumptions.
What does the next year look like for Moon?
$10M ARR ;)
Thank you Kenneth!
To meet Moon and 6 other Columbia Startup teams, please join us October 18th for the CVC-NY 8th Annual Demo Night!