Words by Mary Lim
Evie Zhang like most of us, has had her fair share of fears of missing out. The last time it hit her—in 2021, as the emergence of the Delta variant dented any hope of containing the Covid-19 virus—however, she set up a business to mitigate such anxieties instead.
“I felt my money was just sitting in the bank earning next to nothing interest,” she says, “As I searched for a good investment product, a conversation with my co-founder Joseph Phua [non-executive chairman at live streaming conglomerate 17 Live Group] led me to consider cryptocurrency more seriously.”
She continues: “I read a survey in which hedge fund managers agreed that cryptocurrency was a valid alternative investment asset—and 90 per cent of them had purchased it for themselves. That was when I realised I needed to get in.”
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She developed OMO as a cryptocurrency investment platform that consists of two components. The Coinomo mobile app allows retail investors to trade coins and invest in Decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. OMO Finance, a crypto hedge fund, curates investment options for high-net-worth and institutional individuals through its concierge service.
By demystifying cryptocurrency, Zhang hopes to make it more accessible to others. “Trust is a big problem. There are new inventions in the crypto/ blockchain world all the time. For example, DeFi is made of smart contracts and supposed to make investments transparent and accessible to all. But layman investors don’t know how to read smart contracts—programmes stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met—so it is difficult to spot the signs of excessive risk,” she explains.
OMO’s tech team reads the codes of cryptocurrency investment plans and analyse their risks. Only when products are deemed safe will they be featured on the platform. The platform also keeps it appealing for customers more familiar with traditional products by drawing parallels to these. She has figures to prove it: “The OMO USDC core product returned about 15 per cent to both VIP and retail customers last year. During the market shock in January, it also returned close to 0.9 per cent in a month.”
Along with code-written crypto investment plans, OMO offers products that appeal to customers more familiar with traditional financial products—by reapplying the hedging and trading strategies used for Forex or stocks to cryptocurrencies. Annualised returns from actual applications range between 25 and 40 per cent.
Formerly an investment director at Vertex Venture Holdings, Zhang spearheaded high-profile investments in Grab, PatSnap and Paktor. She’s also a venture partner at Turn Capital, a single-family office that acquired Taiwanese blockchain firm Dapp Pocket in 2021.
Currently, OMO—which secured funding from Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India, and Razer’s corporate investment arm zVentures—occupies most of her time. OMO is already working on an on-chain platform where a public ledger provides greater security and transparency.
Here’s Zhang’s parting shot: “Get in before it’s too late, even if it is just to stay relevant. Don’t talk to strangers on Telegram, and never send money to them. Don’t believe everyone who says they are from large players—always check the official channel or website.”