A group of former Morgan Stanley brokers have turned their crypto venture into a giant unicorn by bringing Wall Street strategies into the new world of crypto.
The Amber Group, which was founded in 2018, has raised nearly $100 million from investors including DCM Ventures and Tiger Global Management, increasing its valuation 10-fold to $1 billion in just 18 months.
Hong Kong-based Amber said the latest Series B funding round also includes China’s Renaissance Group, Tiger Brokers, Joby Partners, and existing backers such as crypto exchange Coinbase Global and Pantera Capital.
The company is among a group of start-ups developing financial services – from OTC trading to derivatives and structured products – for cryptocurrency traders and professional investors.
Last month, Beijing-based crypto lender Babel Finance raised $40 million backed by Sequoia Capital China and Tiger Global, while Matrixport, started by influential Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, is also seeking to inject new capital.
Amber trades cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum using client money and its own capital. The startup manages about $1.5 billion in trading capital and expects revenue to rise tenfold to $500 million this year, according to Bloomberg.
Five of Amber’s founders – Michael Wu, Tiantian Colander, Wayne Hoo, Tony He and Luke Lee – worked together on the fixed income trading floor at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, while the sixth, Thomas Zhou, was a developer with Bloomberg exploring automated trading.