Over the course of a few weeks in early March 2020, a global pandemic dramatically changed our personal and professional lives. Like most companies, Ridgeline reacted quickly with a shift to working from home. For the most part, our focus remained business as usual as we virtually grew our company, developed our products, engaged with new customers, and learned more about serving the asset management industry.
Throughout the year, we talked to more than 200 buy-side investment managers about their experiences operating their firms in a changing marketplace and more recently, in the pandemic. We heard one prevailing sentiment across our conversations: legacy systems cannot deliver the speed, flexibility, and new capabilities required for firms to effectively compete in today’s marketplace.
According to CBInsights Global FinTech, the average legacy system was developed approximately 38 years ago and has “remained static.” The resulting challenges — disparate integrations, siloed data, difficulty connecting remotely, outdated user experiences, and more — have accelerated one clear strategic imperative for investment managers: Now is the time to update critical business systems.
This past year, Ridgeline continued to innovate and invest in products, technology, and our people in pursuit of our ultimate goal: to become the premier industry partner and modernize core systems. Here’s a look at what we learned and accomplished in 2020 and how we’re setting the stage for continued growth and innovation.
We learned that a strong team and culture can transcend adversity if you stay true to your values and put people first:
- We hired and virtually onboarded 130 new Ridgeliners this past year, bringing our total employee count to 207.
- We continued to focus on retention and creating a unique employee experience. (We’ve had zero employee attrition since Ridgeline was founded in late 2017.)
- We launched our first employee resource group focused on inclusion.
- LinkedIn recognized Ridgeline as a Top 50 Startup (#39), and we were awarded #1 Best Place to Work in Northern Nevada (for medium companies).
- We welcomed more than 40 teammates with deep domain expertise from the investment management industry.
- We invested in building customer services teams — professional services focused on implementations and data conversions, and a support team focused on life in production.
- We doubled down on our commitment to our communities by launching a giving program that set aside dollars for grantmaking and matching employee donations and volunteer hours. In 2020, Ridgeliners rallied with enthusiastic responses to giving challenges for COVID relief, social justice, hunger relief, and holiday giving.
We learned that the investment management market is keenly interested in innovation and ready for digital transformation:
- Working side-by-side with our first customer, a $2B fixed-income manager, we demonstrated key functionality on a unified enterprise-grade platform that includes client management, order construction and compliance, trade settlements, double-entry accounting, performance, and operational reporting.
- We designed a robust, durable data model that handles a multitude of account structures and asset classes.
- We engaged six new strategic partners (with AUM ranging from $2B to $77B) who will help bring the voice of the industry to our product development efforts and will go live on our platform in the next 18 months.
We learned that we can build the unified, secure, reliable, and modern operating platform that we envision using Amazon Web Services cloud-native technologies:
- We built more than 520 application programming interfaces (APIs) in 2020. We know our customers will need to innovate alongside legacy and existing technology, and these APIs accommodate interoperability and reduce integration headaches. Our Ridgeline developers use the same APIs to build our front-end user experience.
- We achieved SOC 2 Type II certification, a testament to our commitments of putting security first and setting high standards for regulatory compliance and trust in the industry.
- We invested in continuous delivery methodologies designed to make software updates painless, frequent, and gratifying. We improved and expanded our microservices-based, event-driven architecture, which delivers near-real-time, intraday information about portfolios, positions, performance, cash, and more.
- We doubled down on a serverless computing infrastructure to drive infinite horizontal scalability and elasticity, and to help firms respond quickly to a changing market landscape.
Our long-term aspiration to revolutionize the investment management industry remains our North Star, but after this year it’s clearly more urgent than ever. We look forward to continued partnerships with industry leaders to help us build the next-generation platform for firms that desire to be innovative, respond to market opportunity, and prepare for growth.
If you share our vision for the future and are interested in learning more, please visit our website ridgelineapps.com.