Ex-Citadel Securities employees raise $50 million for crypto market maker

Quick Take

  • Former Citadel Securities execs Leonard Lancia and Alex Casimo have raised $50 million as they launch crypto market maker Portofino Technologies. 
  • The company, which emerged from stealth today, is backed by Valar Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Coatue. 

Former Citadel Securities executives Leonard Lancia and Alex Casimo have raised $50 million as they launch crypto market maker Portofino Technologies. 

Backers of the company include Valar Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Coatue, according to a release on Thursday. The valuation was not disclosed. 

Founded in April last year, the startup is building a high-frequency trading technology for digital assets and claims to have already traded billions of dollars across both centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and over the counter. Its customers include institutions and web3 projects that require access to liquidity in the digital asset market. 

“Having worked at the forefront of the modernization of traditional markets, we believe that our liquidity provisioning infrastructure can deliver enormous benefits to digital asset participants globally, and drive the next leg of adoption," Lancia, the CEO, said in the statement. "This is only the start for Portofino. In web3, every action is a transaction and we’re building the underlying technology that is going to enable entirely new services and industries in the future." 

Despite only emerging from stealth today, the company has already been on a recruiting spree. It's hired a team of over 35 specialists in high-frequency trading across five locations globally. 

Along with acting as a market maker, the company also aims to support web3 projects to help them launch tokens and access liquidity. It will also invest as a venture capital firm, with those efforts headed up by former Speedinvest investor Charlie Boles, he said over Telegram message. 

The firm will likely compete with other crypto market makers such as Wintermute, B2C2 and Jump Trading. It also follows other deals in the digital asset market maker space. In June, Paris-based Flowdesk raised €28 million ($28 million) in a round led by Eurazeo and Aglaé Ventures. In January, Byte Trading raised $7 million in a seed funding round led by Redalpine.

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