- Cryptocurrency exchange HBUS poached a venture capitalist from Draper Athena to flex its investment and M&A muscle.
- The new appointment comes at a time when investments and M&A activities are surging in the crypto field.
HBUS, the US-based strategic partner of crypto exchange Huobi, has poached a venture capitalist from Draper Athena as the firm ups its investment and acquisition activities to win a share of the US market from companies like Coinbase and Robinhood.
Jay Ryu is joining HBUS as vice president of corporate development, overseeing strategic partnerships, investments, and mergers and acquisitions, the company announced Tuesday.
The new appointment comes at a time when investments and M&A are surging in the crypto field. According to data from JPM Securities and PitchBook, the number of crypto M&A deals has soared by more than 200% to 115 this year.
“The community is rapidly maturing and with that, many more institutional investors have entered the market,” Ryu said in a statement. “HBUS stands at the forefront of this next wave of blockchain innovation, and I am excited to lead our efforts as we become the top US digital currency exchange with a diverse array of products and solutions for these investors.”
Ryu was previously the venture capital director at Draper Athena, a VC firm that is part of the Draper Venture Network and focused on investments in information technology startups. Prior to joining HBUS, Ryu served seven years at Draper Athena and spearheaded investments across Silicon Valley, Asia, and the Middle East.
Launched in June, San Francisco-based HBUS has grown into a 40-person team and most recently gone on a senior hiring spree as it competes against crypto incumbents.
US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase had an early start in the game. It poached a top dealmaker from LinkedIn in March and has ramped up buying activity since then, including acquiring Cipher Browser, an ethereum wallet, Earn.com, a crypto social network, and Distributed Systems, a digital identity startup.
Notable crypto M&A includes Binance’s acquisition of Trust Wallet and Stellar’s buyout of Chain through its for-profit arm Lightyear. In February, Goldman Sachs-backed payment company Circle acquired a US-based crypto exchange called Poloniex.
Huobi, the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by trade volume, is rapidly expanding its global presence through strategic investments. It has acquired a controlling interest in Hong Kong-based company Pantronics Holdings Ltd. and bought a majority stake in Japanese-licensed crypto exchange BitTrade.
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