It has been nearly four months since Brett Harrison stepped down as president of FTX US, the American division of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange. Now, he has raised $5 million for his own startup, Architect, which aims to make trading infrastructure for large crypto investors.
“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.”
Architect aims to appeal to anyone from large traders and hedge funds to trading firms, asset managers, VCs or “anyone who has to build infrastructure for crypto on more than one exchange,” Harrison said.
A startup like this could meet current market demand from big players for more unified and accessible platforms to connect their crypto services, instead of having a handful of tabs and servers open. The startup is launching pre-product, so its flagship service will have to be seamless and provide an easier user experience to trump other crypto services out there.
The capital will be used for hiring and product development. Architect will first develop “adaptable infrastructure products” so institutions can trade across both centralized and decentralized crypto markets. The company plans to launch its service in the second quarter of this year.
“I thought that we could make a difference in increasing the security and maturity of the space by helping traders adapt with the evolution of crypto market structure without having to build that software themselves,” Harrison said. “So traders and trading firms can focus on monetization, alpha and building core components.”