Bill Qian, Head of Binance Labs, to Leave Binance
The head of Binance Labs, Bill Qian, is set to leave the firm. This move comes as a surprise to many in the cryptocurrency community, as the firm is one of the largest and most influential exchanges in the space.
Binance did not say who would be taking over Qian’s role at the Lab. Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, will be assuming more responsibility for the incubator program going forward. Zhao said that he has “full confidence” in the team at Binance Labs and that they will continue to support startups even without Qian.
The Lab is a key incubator for blockchain projects and startups and has been behind some of the most successful projects in recent years. With Qian at the helm, it has helped launch dozens of companies and raised millions of dollars in funding.
Overview of the Lab
Binance Labs is a startup incubator based in Malta that invests primarily in early-stage companies that already have functioning products. Binance has established this business as its venture arm with the goal of expanding the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Changpeng Zhao and Yi He launched the company in 2017 in Valletta, Malta, and it makes investments in startup rounds. Dapix, CERE Network, Elrond, Marlin Labs, Torus Labs, Nym Technologies, HOPR, Ironbelly, and Tellor are some of the companies that are part of its portfolio.
On the 31st of July, 2018, Binance completed the acquisition of the open source and decentralized Ethereum cryptocurrency wallet known as Trust Wallet for a price that was not disclosed.
Binance had announced that the acquisition of Trust Wallet was made in order to improve the customer service and overall safety of its cryptocurrency trading platform consumers.
In September 5, 2019, Dapix, a startup that empowered the blockchain ecosystem with revolutionary inter-wallet usability, completed a funding round of $5.7 million with the Lab as the lead investor.
Then in April the year 2020, Binance Labs had made a total of 13 investments.
In March of 2020, Qian moved from China’s JD Group, where he had served as head of investment for more than five years, to Binance Labs.
Qian oversaw the development and operations of the firm’s incubator program.
According to a statement on a business deal that took place between Binance and Forbes in February, Qian, who is a citizen of China, recently changed his name to Chin. The departure of Qian is sure to have some impact on Binance, though it remains to be seen what that will be. The company has not yet released a statement on the matter.
The exit of Qian comes after the Lab raised its first externally-sourced fund earlier this week. DST Global Partners, Breyer Capital, and other unnamed institutional investors raised $500 million for the funding round.
Since 2018, Binance Labs has been investing its own capital. The company has backed over a hundred firms to date, including Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis, move-to-earn startup StepN, decentralized exchange aggregator 1inch, and blockchain auditing firm CertiK.
The Lab manages the firm’s merger and acquisition transactions in addition to its investments. The company has completed over a dozen acquisitions, including CoinMarketCap, WazirX, and DappReview.
Uncertain as to who will replace Qian, the Labs is now led by directors Ken Li and Peter Huo, according to the company’s website.
It’s not clear what this means for the future of Binance Labs, but it’s sure to have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. We will update this story as more details emerge.