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A Morgan Stanley MD who left in '21 just made money in crypto

Leaving your (sometimes) stable banking job for the world of crypto can be a massive risk. For ex-Morgan Stanley MD Kyle Downey, it looks like the risk has just paid off; the crypto firm he co-founded back in 2021 has just been bought out by fellow crypto firm Talos.

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Downey spent 17 years at Morgan Stanley before founding Cloudwall, a fintech providing a crypto portfolio risk management system. While at the bank, he led a team focused on automated risk trading.

Cloudwall has a presence in Singapore due to its cofounder, another banking alum: Jia Yng Wee. She left Nomura, where she was head of business management, to found the startup, but also spent six years as head of operations at Morgan Stanley during Downey's stint there.

Just how much the pair stand to make from the deal is unclear. Downey declined to comment and a fee for the acquisition hasn't been given. Dealroom.co estimated the value of Cloudwall to be $25-38m after a May 2022 funding round. The industry has been... eventful, to say the least, since then.

Downey, who has been CEO of Cloudwall, also doesn't make clear what his new role will be. He has previously been described as a "true believer" in crypto, so we'll likely see him stick with the industry at least.

Still, some founders take a sale as a sign to move on. Goldman Sachs MD James Blackham left for InsurTech back in 2016, founding By Miles, and sold it in the summer for around $100m. Instead of sticking with the business, he left to run quant engineering at Phoenix Group.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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