Crypto Lender Amber Raises $300M To Avoid ‘Significant Drawdowns’

Amber Group secures funding at an even valuation amid a tough crypto market, which has seen the firm cut staff and cancel expansion plans

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YamabikaY/Shutterstock.com modified by Blockworks

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Embattled crypto lender Amber Group has raised $300 million amid reports of unpaid loads and delayed severance packages.

The Singapore-headquartered firm, which also facilitates crypto trading, initially eyed a $100 million extension to a Series B+ round at a $3 billion valuation, in line with its previous mark in January.

But since thick FTX contagion spread across crypto markets, Amber Group changed tack to opt for a $300 million Series C round, led by Fenbushi Capital US and “joined by other crypto-native investors and family offices.”

“This new round of fundraising demonstrates investor confidence in Amber’s business and the commitment to shape our future together,” Amber said. “As part of that future, it’s important for us to adapt and protect our clients in this challenging market environment.”

Amber’s previous investors include Singapore state-owned Temasek Holdings, Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Tiger Global Management, per Crunchbase. The firm was founded in Hong Kong in 2017.

Amber Group will now “laser in” on a core client base of institutional and high net-worth investors, it said in a Twitter thread on Friday.

Blockworks previously reported that Amber’s UK subsidiary WhaleFin, which offers a retail app for buying and trading digital assets, had been essentially shut down, per a source familiar with the matter. Amber tweeted earlier this month that everything was “business as usual.” 

Amber’s is also yet to “issue an official statement” and “take potential legal actions’ in apparent response to a report from The Block, which said the firm owed $130 million to Vauld CEO Darshan Bathija. 

Vauld, another Singapore-based crypto lender, filed for bankruptcy in August, itself owing $363 million to mostly retail creditors. Rival platforms including Celsius, Voyager and BlockFi have also gone bellyup.

Amber has indirectly denied the reported loan to Bathija, but the said debt would represent nearly 45% of the money it just raised.

Amber slashed salaries and bonuses to survive crypto bear

Indeed, the raise comes at a sensitive time for Amber, whose 30-year-old cofounder Tiantian Kullander died unexpectedly in his sleep in late November. 

The firm canceled US and European expansion plans and let go hundreds of employees earlier this month, with some former staff reportedly complaining of delayed severance payments and blocked communications. 

CEO Michael Wu told Bloomberg the company’s headcount will drop by 40% to around 300 people. 

Amber also terminated a $25 million sponsorship deal with the football club Chelsea as part of cost-cutting measures, which slashed management salaries and axed bonuses (Chelsea is still shown as a global partner on WhaleFin’s website).

Less than 10% of Amber’s total trading capital was held on FTX before it collapsed, the company said last month. Amber noted it had no exposure to Alameda or FTX’s native token FTT, however it was an active trader on the platform.

“While the vast majority of our clients and products remain intact, a few of our specific products would have experienced significant drawdowns as an aftermath of the FTX default, unless we could find ways to further protect those affected clients,” Amber tweeted Friday.


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