Cryptocurrency firm Crest Investments on the money at business awards

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Blake Khalaf (right) founded Crest Investments alongside business partner Connor Robertson

TWO young entrepreneurs behind an emerging cryptocurrency firm were “delighted” after scooping a business award that recognises their innovative approach.

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Blake Khalaf, who is behind Crest Investments, said winning the Future Proofing and Innovation accolade at the BHstar Awards was the perfect platform from which to grow the firm.

“It was amazing to win,” Blake said. “It gives us recognition for what we have been doing and shows we are going in the right direction as we continue to expand into the City by becoming a strong contender as an alternative to traditional investments.”

The company is based at the IncuHive business space at the A&T’s site in Compton Road.

Blake’s business partner Connor Anderson added: “It’s always nice to be recognised by the community here. We’ve settled in well at IncuHive and feel welcomed and a valued part of it.”

Crest Investments is now a fully-fledged cryptocurrency portfolio management service developed by Blake. He wants to create a fairer investment solution that appeals to a mass market by taking a fee only when his investors profit.

It deals with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, a market which has grown hugely over the last decade – although most are still new to the idea or have never heard of it.

In a nutshell, cryptocurrency is a transactional system that allows people to send monetary information to one another virtually free of charge without the use of a third party such as a bank, which would charge for transactions.

Blake nominated the company for the awards – which celebrate the best and boldest local businesses. This year there were 400 applications from firms wanting recognition at the event, which was held at the Hoburne Holiday Park in Christchurch.

The pair (pictured), who are both 22, believe the firm’s innovative approach to investment was the reason they were recognised. While many bigger companies take a “passive” approach to managing their client’s money, Blake and Connor do the opposite.

“The passive approach means if someone invests in Bitcoin and the market goes down you are fully exposed to that,” Blake explained. “Whereas we take short positions to make money even if it that happens, and thereby protect the client.”

Connor added: “It’s that proactive management and our monitoring of the markets all day and every day – there are few hedge funds doing that – that’s probably our biggest unique selling point.”

Now Blake and Connor are focused on making Crest bigger and better. It recently announced it had attracted £5m of committed capital to manage for 30 clients and it has targeted doubling both those figures by the end of 2020, as well as moving part of the company to London.

They also want to employ a market analytics expert and develop new software to monitor their investments. Not only that, but both Blake and Connor are keen to start up a foundation which is dedicated to benefiting the environment.

They have pledged a portion of future client fees will be diverted into the foundation – which will help projects that reduce plastic consumption and deforestation – and also promised to be more ethically conscious in terms of the trades they become involved with.

The accolade capped a hugely successful 2019 for Crest – Blake was a nominated finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category of the New Forest Brilliance in Business Awards, and the firm won a sponsored place at IncuHive as part of a Dragons Den-style initiative called the Bee’s Nest.

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