Amber Group, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised $100 million in a Series B round led by investment bank China Renaissance.
Other high-profile backers, including Tiger Global Management, DCM Venture, and existing investors Coinbase and Pantera Capital, participated in the round, which saw Amber Group reach the unicorn status with a pre-money valuation of $1 billion.
The latest valuation is ten times that of the startup’s $28 million Series A financing round in February 2020.
Founded by a team of former Morgan Stanley traders, Amber Group operates in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. The firm plans to use the fresh capital to hire new talent and expand its geographic reach across the globe.
Initially, Amber Group worked on a technology that applied machine learning algorithms to quantitative trading. The firm turned its sights to digital assets in 2017, when the price of Bitcoin reached $20,000 for the first time, spurring the overall market growth.
Currently, Amber Group serves about 500 institutional clients and high-net worth individuals, offering them a range of products, such as algorithmic and high-frequency trading, electronic execution, over-the-counter (OTC) trading, as well as lending services. The platform supports trading for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), as well stablecoins like Tether’s USDT and Circle’s USDC.
Rather than allowing customers to trade themselves, the startup takes on their deposits in return for an interest rate, acting as a trading manager. According to the company, it has approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management.
Amber Group’s CEO Michael Wu said that since the beginning of the year the firm’s cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion to over $500 billion.
Chief financial officer Tiantian Kullander claims that the firm has been profitable since day one with a net margin above 60%. He said that this is mainly due to Amber Group’s market strategy, which is to trade on cryptocurrency’s volatility rather than just to buy the dips and sell at higher prices.
Amber Group is the second crypto company that has hit the "unicorn" valuation in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, French crypto hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger raised $380 million in a Series C investment round, placing the company's implied valuation at more than $1.5 billion.