There’s been a lot of hype surrounding cryptocurrency recently, but many people still find this market difficult to access. Alex Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of Ember Fund, has found a way to solve this challenge. Ember Fund is on a mission to fundamentally transform access to cryptocurrency investing and make investment products used by sophisticated investors available to everyone.
Ember Fund is also one of the Republic portfolio companies that successfully raised funds on our platform through Reg CF. We invited him to discuss the work Ember Fund does to make cryptocurrency investing accessible for everyday investors, the reason they chose to raise on Republic, and their plans to democratize the world of finance.
Ember Fund mission: giving retail investors access
Alex and his co-founders started Ember Fund three years ago with a goal to make institutional investment tools available to everyone. They chose to work in the crypto space as they believe cryptocurrencies are the best medium to achieve that goal.
What they offer is the power of institutional cryptocurrency portfolio management technology combined with ease of access. Their mobile app allows users to buy into managed cryptocurrency funds, but with an extraordinary feature - Ember Fund doesn’t hold users’ assets.
They also bring products like investment strategy, asset management, and education so that future crypto investors can make informed decisions. Not to mention, they developed cutting-edge technology that allows automatic wallet creation, encryption, and smart order routing.
For the Ember Fund team, the future is decentralized and they are excited to be a part of that movement.
Leaders on the market
Ember Fund has developed technology that allows them to provide asset management but remain a non-custodial fund. They’ve built in-house smart contract tech that enables them to build investment products while empowering their users to remain full owners of their assets.
Technology isn’t the only thing that gives them an edge over the competition - they have partnered with the best crypto investment managers who excel not only at building products but also in communicating with retail managers and making the process simple and accessible.
Raising on Republic was a natural choice
Raising from venture funds never appealed to Ember Fund, plus, they had a dedicated community they wanted to involve in the process. The core of their business has always been to democratize finance, so a decision to allow their users to take part in the equity round seemed like an obvious choice.
Their community gave them the tools to scale up and Alex is thankful for the opportunity. By opting for a Regulation Crowdfunding round using the Republic platform, Ember Fund aims to further strengthen those relationships and take their community engagement to the next level.
Closing a $5.3M seed round
Recently, Ember Fund secured a $5.3 million venture round from Uncorrelated Ventures, Anthos Capital, Brian Dilley (ex-CTO of TikTok/Blockfolio), and Calm Ventures. They also brought on Richard Jun (Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BAM Ventures) as an advisor.
These are some of the same early backers of Honey ($4B exit to Paypal), Headspace, Compound, MakerDao, UMA, Cosmos, dYdX and more. Most of these investors have built and exited multi-billion dollar consumer and fintech companies or made early equity investments into some of the top cryptocurrency firms in the industry.
You need the right people in your cap table
Just like investors diligently pick the founders to invest in, startups need to carefully consider their investors. We wanted to know the criteria Ember Fund used to decide on their new investors. Alex told us that their process was very strategic: instead of pitching to dozens of venture funds, they went with the investors they had a relationship with.
Their investors are experienced in consumer products, and most of them are crypto-specific. What they wanted was a healthy mix of consumer market experience and blockchain expertise.
Lessons learned through fundraising: build the product first
In contrast with the common practice in the industry, Ember Fund built the product before they went on to raise funds. Through their fundraising journey, Alex strengthened his belief that tech companies should have a working prototype or users before they go looking for investors. With the cost-to-build becoming lower in recent years, he is convinced everything is possible.
Alex argues that building a company is now easier than ever—especially if you do the work first. With platforms like Republic, you have the opportunity to involve your community and get the initial funds and traction. It’s this grassroots approach that then allows you to choose your institutional investors based on the value they bring to your company.
Alex decided to start Ember Fund because he wanted to build something that will have a positive impact on the world. He believes that crypto technology, more than any other, levels the playing field and allows average people to get actively involved in their financial future.
And whether you’re a past or future investor, Alex advises to keep an eye on Ember Fund: exciting things are coming in 2021. Their mission was and remains to take investment products multi-billion dollar funds use and deliver them to the world in a way that preserves the ethos of cryptocurrencies.
If you want to get involved, learn more about the company here and don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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This content is provided for educational purposes only by Republic. Nothing discussed should be construed as legal, tax, accounting, or investing advice. The views of the presenters may not be the views of Republic and its affiliates. Always consult with trusted professional advisors before making investments. Private investments are inherently illiquid and may result in a total loss. All rights reserved.
Crypto and investing podcast with Alex Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of Ember Fund