Former US FTX President Brett Harrison has raised around $5 million from both Coinbase Ventures and Circle Ventures for a new crypto startup. The former executive is attempting to chart a course forward following his close relation to Sam Bankman-Fried and his collapsed crypto exchange.
“It’s a software company aiming to build institutional-grade infrastructure to connect various crypto venues across decentralized and centralized exchanges,” Harrison told TechCrunch. “We’re trying to make it easy to interface with either qualified custodians or self-custody. We’re building this single interoperability platform across crypto services with a focus on trading.”
The startup has raised capital in a pre-product financing round from Coinbase Ventures, Circle Ventures, SV Angel, SALT Fund, P2P, Third King Venture Capital and Motivate Venture Capital. Angel investors Shari Glazer, the CEO of Kalos Labs, and Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director and founder of Skybridge, are also among its investors.
Prior to FTX, Harrison worked at traditional financial institutions like Citadel Securities and Jane Street. He also spent about 11 years developing algorithmic trading software for global equities and derivatives markets. “Talking with many past clients of FTX and thinking about my own background, one of the biggest barriers of entry to people for trading is building the infrastructure to access all these different venues,” Harrison said. “There’s a huge technological learning curve to doing so.”
Harrison anticipates that Architect will be fully integrated into the platforms of Coinbase and Circle before the end of the second quarter, with a swift launch not far behind. Other investors in the funding round included Anthony Scaramucci and his son’s SALT Fund, SV Angel, Third Kind Venture Capital, Motivate Venture Capital, and other parties. Last December, The Information divulged that Harrison was raising $6 million for Architect at a staggering valuation of $60 million. On January 14th, however, he tweeted about his difficulty acquiring funds due to his connections with FTX from the past.
Astonishingly, some investors who participated had prior ties to the fallen exchange FTX owned a 30% stake in Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital. Additionally, Circle raised an impressive $440 million in 2021 thanks to FTX’s involvement, and both firms held small equity stakes in each other. Last week, Harrison denounced FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried through a Twitter thread. He made it clear that the fraudulent scheme had been carefully secreted from executives at FTX US, including himself.