Huobi regroups investment arms to Huobi Ventures with $100 million allocation

Crypto exchange Huobi has regrouped its investment arms into Huobi Ventures, with $100 million as starting capital.

The exchange group said in an announcement on Thursday that it has consolidated Huobi Eco Fund, Huobi Capital and Huobi DeFi Labs into one that is spearheaded by its new chief financial officer Zhang Li, who joined the firm last August.

Zhang was a former vice president at Bitcoin mining company Canaan. She was responsible for its finances and led the manufacturer's initial public offering in the U.S.

Huobi said the new venture arm will initially allocate $100 million into early-stage blockchain and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects throughout the next three years, in addition to making mergers and acquisitions. It's also establishing a $10 million fund that will focus on the non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem.

Zhang said, in an interview with The Block, that although the $100 million proprietary capital will be a starting point, the allocation can be increased by up to 10 times if needed. She didn't disclose any specific M&A deals that are in Huobi's pipeline but said her focus will be on any upstream or downstream services that could diversify Huobi's exchange offerings. 

The firm said to date it has invested $69.42 million on blockchain projects and media outlets with a return on its balance sheet of about $215 million.

Last month, Huobi Asset Management, a subsidiary of publicly traded Huobi Technology, launched passive bitcoin and ether funds for institutional investors in Hong Kong, which it said has already received $50 million in commitments. 

Both Huobi Technology and the Huobi exchange group are owned by Huobi's founder Li Lin but they operate independently. Zhang didn't rule out the potential of restructuring Huobi Group's exchange assets into the Hong Kong-based, publicly listed firm.

"Anything is possible but it depends on a right timing and the compliance environment," Zhang said. "I'm not saying we definitely will restructure the exchange to the public firm but also not that we will never do it in the future."