A group of former Morgan Stanley traders has turned their cryptocurrency venture into a unicorn by bringing Wall Street strategies to the brave new world.
Amber Group, founded in 2018, raised $100 million from investors including DCM Ventures and Tiger Global Management, ramping up its valuation tenfold to $1 billion in just 18 months. The Series B fundraising also includes China Renaissance Group, Tiger Brokers, Gobi Partners and existing backers such as Coinbase Global Inc. and Pantera Capital, Hong Kong-based Amber said.The startup is one of a crop of fledging firms developing financial services — from over-the-counter trading to derivatives and structured products — for professional crypto traders and investors. Last month, Chinese crypto lender Babel Finance raised $40 million with backing from Sequoia Capital China and Tiger Global, while Matrixport, started by Bitmain’s influential founder Jihan Wu, is also seeking a new capital injection.
Amber trades coins like Bitcoin and Ether using both client money and its own capital. The startup manages about $1.5 billion of trading capital, and expects revenue to surge tenfold to $500 million this year.Five of Amber’s founders — Michael Wu, Tiantian Kullander, Wayne Huo, Tony He and Luke Li — worked together on Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income trading floor in Hong Kong. The sixth, Thomas Zhu, was a Bloomberg LP developer working to explore machine learning for trading.