Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, is ramping up its mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy this year, with a particular emphasis on addressing geographical gaps and expanding its customer base. Leading the charge is Yibo Ling, the Chief Business Officer at Binance.
Ling, who joined Binance nearly seven months ago after successful stints at Bird and Uber, plays a pivotal role in venture capital (VC) investments, strategic M&A, and business development for the exchange. Binance Labs, the VC arm of the exchange, currently boasts a portfolio valued at approximately $9 billion, delivering a remarkable return on investment exceeding 10x.
During the Consensus 2023 event, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ling to delve deeper into Binance’s investment focus, layer-1 blockchains, geographical and product expansion, and other exciting prospects.
An interview with the Chief Business Officer in Binance
Question: While your role primarily focuses on deal-making rather than operating the exchange, what are the profitability metrics that Binance values most, and how has the performance been?
As the Chief Business Officer, my primary focus lies in outbound VC investments, strategic M&A, and forging strong commercial business development relationships. Hence, I may not be the best person to discuss the exchange’s operating metrics. However, the business appears to be thriving. Undoubtedly, the market has its influence, but overall, the performance has been quite impressive.
Question: In terms of VC investments and strategic M&A, which areas is Binance particularly interested in and focusing on?
Our VC arm, known as Binance Labs, operates under the principle that a rising tide lifts all boats. Consequently, our investments span a wide range of projects, covering various domains. Being present at conferences like this provides an excellent opportunity since numerous projects are working on diverse fronts. Essentially, we invest broadly in almost everything, with upstream and downstream investments.
Our primary focus lies in seed and early-stage investments (Series A), as we believe that’s where we can add the most value. However, it’s crucial to zoom out and understand our broader perspective at Binance Labs. We firmly believe that there is immense potential for growth, disruption, and improvement in numerous aspects of people’s lives, enabled by web3 and blockchain technology. ROI and return metrics are significant considerations for us in that regard. The current value of our portfolio stands at around $9 billion, reflecting returns exceeding 10x. Most of these investments are in early-stage companies, although some are in later-stage ventures.
For the most part, we tend to hold onto our investments for the long term, without exiting, owing to our mission. At present, we have over 200 portfolio companies spread across all continents except Antarctica. Additionally, we have incubation programs, which contribute to about a quarter of our portfolio companies.
As Binance continues to expand its M&A efforts and VC investments, the exchange aims to foster growth, innovation, and disruption in various sectors, leveraging the potential of blockchain technology. With an impressive track record and a diverse portfolio, Binance remains committed to driving forward the adoption and development of the crypto ecosystem.