Binance Labs loses top two executives

Quick Take

  • Binance’s VC arm has lost two veteran employees, The Block has learned. 
  • Binance Labs head Bill Qian is set to leave the firm and executive director Nicole Zhang has already left. 

Binance Labs, the venture capital and incubation arm of crypto exchange Binance, has lost two top executives in recent weeks.

Bill Qian, the head of Binance Labs, is set to leave the firm soon, several people familiar with the matter told The Block. Nicole Zhang, the firm’s executive director, left last month, according to her LinkedIn profile.

A Binance spokesperson confirmed Qian’s move, saying: "We don’t comment on people moves at Binance as a matter of policy. However, we can confirm that Bill is leaving Binance for personal reasons."

Another Binance spokesperson confirmed Zhang’s departure as well.

Both executives worked for Binance Labs for more than two years. Qian joined Binance Labs in March 2020 from China's JD Group, where he worked as head of investment for more than five years, per his LinkedIn profile.

A Chinese national, Qian recently changed his surname to Chin, as can be seen in the Binance-Forbes deal announcement published in February. His previous LinkedIn profile with the Qian surname doesn't exist anymore. He also seems to have deleted his Twitter account.

Qian did not immediately respond to The Block’s request for comment on the surname change.

Zhang, on the other hand, joined Binance Labs as its executive director in April 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is now working as a partner at fintech-focused venture capital firm Lingfeng Capital, managing its Innovation Fund, per the profile.

Zhang declined to comment to The Block when contacted.

First outside capital

Qian's and Zhang's departures come as Binance Labs raised its first fund with outside capital earlier this week. The firm raised $500 million from backers including DST Global Partners, Breyer Capital and unnamed institutional investors.

Binance Labs was formed in 2018 and had been investing its own money. The firm has funded more than 100 startups to date, including Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis, move-to-earn startup StepN, decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch, and blockchain audit firm CertiK.

Besides investments, Binance Labs also looks after Binance's mergers and acquisitions deals. The firm has done over a dozen deals, including the acquisitions of crypto data provider CoinMarketCap, Indian crypto exchange WazirX and decentralized application analytics platform DappReview.

It is unclear who will replace Qian and Zhang. Binance Labs is currently helmed by Ken Li and Peter Huo in their director roles, according to the firm’s website.


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