Digital Asset Trader Auros to Invest Over $50M in Crypto Startups Through Its Newly Established VC Arm

Auros Ventures aims to make concentrated bets on crypto startups to help them scale with Auros being "power user," Auros co-founder and CIO Ben Roth said in an exclusive interview with CoinDesk.

AccessTimeIconJul 8, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 8, 2024 at 1:39 p.m. UTC
  • The trading firm appointed Julien Auchecorne as head of the new ventures division, who formerly held roles at Brevan Howard, XBTO International.
  • The firm has already invested "close to $20 million" in several projects including Pyth and Berachain over the past quarters, CIO Ben Roth told CoinDesk.
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  • Crypto trading firm and market maker Auros said in an exclusive interview with CoinDesk that its newly established venture capital arm plans to invest more than $50 million of its own capital in early-stage digital asset ventures in the next two years.

    To lead the investment efforts, the company appointed Julien Auchecorne as head of Auros Ventures. Auchecorne previously held roles at hedge fund Brevan Howard and digital asset services platform XBTO International, among other crypto and traditional investment firms.

    The announcement comes at a time when crypto VC investments have rebounded in the first half of 2024 after a grueling capital drought following the dramatic implosion of crypto firms such as FTX in 2022 as many investors lost conviction or pivoted to other red-hot narratives like artificial intelligence (AI).

    The expansion also marks a milestone in Auros’ turnaround after being badly hit by the collapse of FTX in late 2022. Auros co-founder and CIO Ben Roth said in the interview that the market maker now estimates that it handles roughly 4% of the global crypto trading volume on exchanges.

    With the move, Auros follows major market makers such as Wintermute and Cumberland DRW in establishing venture capital divisions on top of their core trading businesses. Before establishing the ventures division, Auros had already invested in over a dozen projects and handed out close to $20 million worth of checks since the third quarter of 2023, Roth said in an interview with CoinDesk.

    These investments include data provider Pyth, high-performance layer-1 blockchain Berachain and many infrastructure and decentralized physical infrastructure (DePin) projects and stakes in exchanges.

    Roth told CoinDesk that the VC arm focuses on helping companies scale operations, with Auros being the “power user” of their services. He noted that the firm’s goal is to form “strategic partnerships” with their portfolio companies and not use investments as a “client acquisition tool” for their market-making business, as is the case with some other market-maker investments in the industry.

    Speaking about the firm’s approach to allocating funds, Auchecorne explained that Auros plans to make “concentrated bets” predominantly in seed and series A stage projects, focusing on areas where “the next billion of recurring users will come” to crypto.

    “We are not interested in carpet-bombing the industry with checks,” he said.

    Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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    Krisztian  Sandor

    Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.