Orca, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange based on the high-speed Solana blockchain, announced today that it has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Polychain, Placeholder, and Three Arrows Capital.
Other participating funds included Jump Capital, Sino Global Capital, Collab+Currency, DeFiance Capital, Zee Prime, Coinbase Ventures, Solana Capital, and a number of angels.
The new injection of funds will provide Orca with the resources to continue developing the most capital-efficient and user-friendly automated market maker (AMM) in the Solana ecosystem.
Trading on Solana
Launched in February, Orca has consisted of a two-member team with no outside funding. Since then, the core team has expanded to eight contributors spanning three continents, five disciplines (engineering, design, marketing, business development, and operations), and broad professional experience (Google, Amazon, McKinsey, and many startups).
The Orca team is the brainchild of co-founders Yutaro Mori and Grace “Ori” Kwan. Yutaro’s expertise in crypto stems from several years spent building Ethereum 2.0 and implementing smart contracts at UMA. Previously a designer and engineer at IDEO, Coursera, and Stanford, Ori combines her experiences to bring a human touch to DeFi.
“We’re proud to be building not only modern financial infrastructure, but a thriving remote culture built on trust and transparency,” said Grace “Ori” Kwan, co-founder of Orca, in a statement.
As one of the first apps in the Solana ecosystem, Orca stands out from existing AMMs by focusing on delivering the simplest DEX experience. From lightning-fast swaps and minimal fees to innovations like the Fair Price Indicator and Magic Bar, the company has shown its dedication to the space and intention to innovate and make processes easier for users.
“Not only is Orca responsive and affordable, but its finance made fun, with a cheery experience, community, and broader values-based mission. It’s teams like Orca that will bring crypto to the mainstream and redefine how we think of finance in our everyday lives,” says Placeholder partner Chris Burniske.
Governance token ORCA
In addition, the Orca protocol is notable for giving its community first access to the ORCA governance token through a fair launch that occurred on August 9, 2021. Since then, the protocol has reached $750 million in lifetime trade volume, $250 million in total value locked, and over 18,000 monthly unique wallets.
“Orca’s AMM is a critical addition to the Solana ecosystem. We are excited by the strength of the team, performance, and their community-focused mission,” says Kyle Davies, co-founder of Three Arrows.
On the community front, Orca has donated $35,000 to climate change through the company’s Impact Fund, produced a podcast called OrcaPod, and distributed 14,000 Collectibles, making it one of the earliest projects to explore the intersection of NFTs and DeFi. In the near future, Orca Collectible plans to give holders access to special perks, including access to upcoming NFT projects and the opportunity to stake their Collectibles to earn ORCA tokens.
The earliest AMMs on Ethereum shook the financial world by making it incredibly simple for anyone to swap tokens and provide liquidity. The flip side of that elegance, however, is lower capital efficiency relative to the order book model. Orca’s mission is to create a next-generation AMM that pairs greater capital efficiency with the simple, human-centered UX users have come to expect from Orca.
“The Orca team has been a pleasure to work with. Bringing a breath of fresh air to the Solana ecosystem, their unparalleled UX design and vision for retail-friendly concentrated liquidity provisioning is something to behold. We can’t wait to see their vision play out as they become a top Solana DEX contender in the near future,” noted Wangarian of DeFiance Capital.
Along the way, the team plans to build Community Pools, which will enable support for the long-tail of tokens. In addition, it will continue improving its open-source TypeScript SDK, which makes it easy for any project to build on top of Orca’s smart contracts.