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Hedge Fund Billionaire Alan Howard is Still Backing Crypto Startups

Finance

blockworks.co 15 July 2022 12:51, UTC
  
Reading time: ~3 m

British billionaire Alan Howard is among crypto investors who aren’t backing down throughout the recent turmoil. 

The 58-year-old hedge manager is still investing in the space. In mid-June, Howard took part in a $10.3 million pre-seed round for crypto brand studio ScienceMagic.Studios, notably after Terra collapsed.

He also participated in ‘play-to-earn’ metaverse startup Atmos Labs’ $11 million seed round, which closed around the same time — when crypto lenders were causing contagion across the market.

Howard has already funded 13 crypto-related projects so far in 2022, although most were before crypto markets tanked. He’s backed about 40 cryptocurrency projects overall, including exchanges FTX and Bitpanda, Polygon, Ledn and Block.one, Crunchbase data shows.

The billionaire, whose hedge fund firm Brevan Howard began trading cryptocurrencies last year, has invested his personal wealth into digital assets for several years. His first known investment was in European online broker nextmarkets in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Howard personally bought cryptocurrencies to protect against inflation, but it isn’t clear which asset or how much of it he bought.

It now appears that he wants to be involved in every sub-segment of the crypto industry. Forbes values Howard’s personal wealth at $3.2 billion.

The Financial Times reported Friday that key names in his crypto portfolio are trading software firm Elwood, startup incubator WebN Group and Coremont, an operational services platform spun out of Brevan Howard.

Some of Howard’s investments from last year include crypto exchange Bullish, fintech firm Bottlepay, custody startup Komainu and privacy blockchain startup Iron Fish — showing diversification in his investments.

Alan Howard’s firm making ‘massive’ crypto push

One crypto executive who worked with Howard told the FT the billionaire has a 10- to 15-year vision, and that he piled into the sector when everyone ran out during the 2018 crypto crash.

He’s also said to have active participation with Brevan Howard’s $1 billion crypto vehicle, the BH Digital Multi-Strategy Fund, which invests in liquid cryptoassets and takes stakes in private blockchain companies.

A source told Blockworks earlier this year that Brevan was making an “absolutely massive push into crypto.” According to latest figures, the firm last managed total assets worth $23 billion.

Howard, formerly Brevan Howard’s CEO, began to take more of a backseat at the fund when he handed over the reins to chief risk officer Aron Landy in 2019. Howard still controls the firm overall. 

The recent market downturn has put off several investors, but long-term players are generally unfazed by such slumps. Chris McCann, a partner at Race Capital and early FTX backer, told Blockworks that the worst times are typically the best for venture investments.

Representatives for Brevan Howard didn’t respond to Blockworks’ request for comment by press time.


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