London-based Old Street Digital (OSD) has closed a $2.8 million (£2.3 million) seed round for its crypto asset management dream.
OSD is building an institutional asset manager for the crowded crypto sector. The fintech startup’s website says it’s “coming soon” and launching this summer.
The funding round was led by Draper Associates, and includes participation from Plassa Capital and venture capital and angel investors across Europe, Asia and the US, as well as unnamed senior executives from the UK asset management industry.
Paul Ridley, CEO of Old Street Digital, states: “There is enormous opportunity for institutional investors in digital assets but they need a credible product offering from experienced professionals they can trust. We’re building a crypto asset manager to fill this gap with a range of actively-managed funds in an accessible fund structure.”
OSD’s first fund launches this quarter and the firm expects to open another in Q4.
The startup is entering a part of the fintech sector that is very competitive.
For example, just last month, Zodia Markets got cryptoasset registration from the Financial Conduct Authority and unveiled its crypto exchange and brokerage business. London-based Zodia is backed by Standard Chartered and is targeting institutions in the UK and EU.
Also in July, Cigrek Capital arrived on the fintech scene in Edinburgh to offer investment, lending, funding and asset management services in cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
- A busy fintech world – Zodia Markets Launches Institutional Crypto Exchange – read the news here
OSD’s official launch also coincides with difficult times for the crypto sector.
Blockchain.com recently said it is cutting 25% of its workforce. About 150 jobs will go. Some 44% of the affected employees are in Argentina, 26% in the US, 16% in the UK and the rest in other countries.
It is a fluid situation around the world, and eWeek UK recently discussed the crypto winter here. For example, US cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital has filed for bankruptcy protection, blaming the move on “volatility and contagion” in the markets. Crypto lending platform Celsius has also filed for bankruptcy in the US. While Coinbase faces an SEC probe over its crypto listings.
The price of Bitcoin currently stands at £19,862, a fall of 39% over the last six months.
That said, the team behind OSD has plenty of experience.
Chief Investment Officer Gary Clarke has been an investor for 27 years. He previously held senior roles, including Head of Global Equities at BlackRock, Head of European Equities at Schroders and Head of Thematic Investing at JP Morgan Asset Management.
Ridley’s experience includes roles at Nomura and Boston Consulting Group.
The other co-founder, Nic Basson (CMO & COO), worked at places such as Invesco and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.