Crypto Investment Platform Inks Big-name Partners, Eyes Regional Expansion
The startup, Aspen Digital, plans to raise a Series A round in the third quarter or so this year
Yang He, co-founder of Aspen Digital | Source: Aspen Digital
- The latest funding follows a $9 million pre-Series A haul in September 2021
- The platform has given its family-office clients access to notable digital-asset deal flow, including Animoca Brands
Aspen Digital, a cryptocurrency investing platform that keys in on big-money traditional investors, has inked a number of strategic partnerships as the firm looks to expand its regional footprint, hire staffers and roll out new business lines.
Since its January launch, Hong Kong-based Aspen has brought on board more than 100 family offices, with plans to add in relatively short order at least another 100 wealthy families, most of whom are based in Asia.
The startup’s latest fundraise comes on the heels of a September 2021 $9 million pre-Series A round led by Liberty City Ventures and RIT Capital. Its latest capital-raising haul and new valuation were not disclosed.
Aspen’s latest backers include Singapore venture capital firm K3 Ventures, Rockpool Capital and Venture Smart Financial Group via BlackPine.
The company has also launched an internal research and trading team, plus automated, in-house, market-neutral arbitrage and DeFi strategies. Aspen has additionally rolled out crypto fixed-income yield products, as well as so-called smart beta products.
The platform’s limited partners are mainly concentrated in Asia — while Aspen offers access to US portfolio managers, it has so far shied away from US allocators due to regulatory concerns — but the company plans to use the funding and resources from its latest partnerships to expand into the growing crypto markets of Australia, Dubai and London.
Yang He, Aspen’s co-founder and CEO, told Blockworks the company plans to raise a Series A round in the third quarter or so — with that capital earmarked to further grow the team and expand into new markets.
“There’s so many traditional finance people entering the space, especially in Asia,” He said. “A lot of them have been so focused on [traditional finance], and now you’re seeing a lot of people going all-in on crypto. They don’t want to miss this wave.”
He pegged a potential future move into the US limited partner space as part of the company’s “second phase,” given regulatory uncertainties, taxation questions and other complexities. It’ll be imperative for Aspen to build out that market, given the strong appetite of US institutions for crypto managers — on both the venture capital and liquid hedge fund sides — in Asia who have expertise in Web3 and DeFi (decentralized finance) strategies, plus on-the-ground access to deal flow.
For an upstart, Aspen has already given its family offices strong access to private investment opportunities, including Animoca Brands and Dunamu, the parent company of South Korean crypto exchange UpBit.
The firm often takes a principal equity position in venture deals to demonstrate to its skin in the game.
Managers pay Aspen a cut of their performance and management fees to be listed on the platform, so the cost isn’t passed on to investors, as in a traditional fund-of-funds model.
“We want to be the partner for these traditional wealth managers as they’re building into crypto,” He said. “The platform play has already been done many times, and there’s many platforms…But, again, what really matters is the expertise that comes with it.”
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