Menu
Back Issues

Magazine fall 2021

Featured

Visualizing a Cryptocurrency Future

Scott Knudsen applies his disruptive mindset and problem-solving skills honed at Northwestern Engineering to seize a new opportunity.

Scott Knudsen

An engineering mindset is valuable in almost any field. Using strong analytical skills, engineers solve problems and optimize processes. At the same time, they must be creative enough to visualize solutions that might not be obvious.

Scott Knudsen (’03) not only exemplifies those qualities, he has also built businesses on them.

“People in any industry like to hire engineers because they have an ability to solve problems,” Knudsen says. “They have skills and an approach that can be adapted to any challenge put in front of them.”

Knudsen, an electrical engineering graduate, spent 14 years at IMC Trading, rising to partner and head of the US business. While he was there, IMC Trading hired employees with a computer science background to build the company’s own hardware and network components, allowing the firm to control its equipment and process financial data more efficiently.

In 2017, Knudsen visualized another opportunity in an area ripe for innovation: cryptocurrency.

With a disruptive mindset and plenty of contacts, Knudsen co-founded Cove Markets. Cove develops trading software that connects multiple crypto exchange accounts and provides tools and algorithms for the active traders.

People in any industry like to hire engineers because they have an ability to solve problems. They have skills and an approach that can be adapted to any challenge put in front of them.Scott Knudsen ('03)

“Any time you start a new business, you know what the risk of failure is, but I felt like this could be my chance to build a company from scratch,” Knudsen says. “This could be my own vision, and I can actually own this and be in control of it, which was a really empowering idea.

“This new business was the first time in 15 years that I felt like a fresh graduate again because you’re learning so many things from so many successful people in the space,” Knudsen adds. “It felt like I was 24 years old and back in the mix trying to prove myself again.”

Knudsen is also giving back to the Northwestern Engineering community. In 2017, he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board to network with faculty, alumni, and students. He hopes to play a role in the McCormick School of Engineering’s future, since it influenced his life and career so much.

“The’re looking for help and advice on how to grow,” Knudsen says. “I just have so much pride and love for Northwestern, so why not do it?”

That attitude has served Knudsen well.

Editor's Note: On Dec. 14, Robinhood acquired Cove Markets. Knudsen is joining the team at Robinhood Crypto.

Interview with Scott Knudsen