Exclusive: Billionaire Investor in Trade.io Shares Thoughts on ICOs and VCs

An exclusive interview with billionaire investor and co-owner of French football club Nice, Chien Lee

The latest trend of ICOs in the financial technology industry has ramped up in recent months. One of the most interesting projects in the industry is that of trade.io, a trading platform that goes beyond cryptocurrencies and into FX and CFDs.

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Foreign exchange and CFD brokerage FXPRIMUS will be an early adopter of the company’s technology and trading platform. The trade.io exchange will not only support the trading of assets but also aims to enable the more efficient listing of assets in the crypto economy.

Finance Magnates got in touch with one of the main figures at trade.io, Chinese billionaire investor Chien Lee. He has become a board member of the company and co-owns French football club Nice. Mr Lee is founder and Chairman of NewCity Capital, a US-based private equity and venture capital (VC) enterprise.

We asked Mr. Lee to provide us with some insight on his pick and the prospects for disruption of the VC industry via ICOs.

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What initially attracted you to trade.io?

I was originally approached by their CEO, Jim Preissler whom I had the pleasure of working with on several projects in the past. He gave me an overview of the company and some of trade.io’s innovative plans for the future. I’m by no means a blockchain or cryptocurrency expert, but its potential has intrigued me, and I see it as getting in on the ground floor of an enormous opportunity. It’s no secret that blockchain is the buzz word in the financial industry, and is appearing more and more it will be a force for change across many industries. I feel trade.io is positioned to be one of the leaders in the space.

What do you see in trade.io that convinces you of the potential of the project?

The project is only as strong as the team behind it. The trade.io team is not just experienced in fintech, technology, and blockchain, but has over 20+ years of experience in the key industry verticals such as trading, investment banking, and compliance as well as public company experience. This broad underlying knowledge base is critical to the success and execution of the plan.

Apart from your investment, what do you see your role being?

I will be working alongside the CEO and team of trade.io closely to assist with growth opportunities. We see a strong future for blockchain implementations and underlying technology. There will be many opportunities to assist trade.io in developing partnerships and use my experience to guide its future.

How do you see alternative financing via ICOs changing the venture capital scene?

It definitely looks like ICOs, crowdfunding, and blockchain investing, in general, has the potential to encroach upon the VC business model. The opening up of the availability of funding is giving VCs competition in a way they haven’t seen before.

Do you see the potential for a trend amongst venture capitalists to fund ICO projects?

Absolutely, as blockchain based technologies and investing are here to stay. In order to remain competitive, like any emerging industry, VCs need to invest in the trend.

In looking at your bio as a venture capitalist, you have invested in various sectors over the years, notably your stake in French football club, OGC Nice FC. Prior to making an investment or joining a company, what are the qualities you look for?

Like any venture capitalist or early-stage investor, I look for companies that have good growth potential. More importantly, however, I look at the management of the company and what really drives them. I’ve seen companies start out with a tremendous amount of money, but the management focused on the wrong things, that fail miserably. Conversely, I’ve seen companies with very little money at their inception, but a management team that was focused and had a “never say die” attitude turn into a huge success. If the desire and commitment are not there from a management standpoint, I usually will not participate.

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