HK-based crypto lender Babel Finance raises $40m from Sequoia China, others

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency & electronic finance

Hong Kong-based crypto lender and asset manager Babel Finance said on Monday that it has secured funding from investors including Zoo Capital, Sequoia Capital China, and Dragonfly Capital.

The $40 million fundraising, which also includes BAI Capital and Tiger Global Management, shows growing investor interest in Asia’s cryptocurrency players, Babel Finance said.

Babel CEO Flex Yang told Reuters that the round of strategic Series A fundraising, while not adding much to free cash flow, marked an alliance with traditional finance players.

It also marks debuts in Asia’s crypto finance industry for US investment firm Tiger Global Management, European investor BAI Capital and Zoo Capital, the venture arm of China-focused private equity firm Boyu Capital.

Bitcoin mania has spread to Asia, and last month the asset management unit of Huobi Technology Holdings Ltd launched four crypto-related funds for institutional investors.

Bowen Wang, head of crypto at Zoo Capital, said in a statement it invested in Babel Finance to help build a gateway for the traditional market to access cryptocurrencies.

Yang, who is from China, said Babel will apply for business licenses in America, Europe and Asia, with a goal of meeting growing demand for crypto investment from mainstream investors.

Compared with the United States, Asia’s crypto sector faces a less friendly regulatory environment, Yang added.

Although regulators in China have banned crypto exchanges as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs), Yang said he was encouraged by deputy central bank governor Li Bo saying last month they were studying crypto as an investment tool.

“Regulatory uncertainty has been a source of risk for us. If the government moves toward more clarity, it’s a good thing for us,” Yang said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.