Seattle startup vet Jesse Proudman, who sold last venture to IBM, unveils new cryptocurrency company Strix Leviathan

Blue Box founder Jesse Proudman accepts the Deal of the Year award at the 2016 GeekWire Awards

Seattle entrepreneur Jesse Proudman — who recently quit his job at IBM to launch a new cryptocurrency startup — is sharing more details about the new initiative.

The 6-person startup company is called Strix Leviathan, an ode to the mythological creatures of Strix, the owl that in the words of the startup is “always watching and always listening,” and Leviathan, the sea monster with “eight legs, a big brain.”

The company is venturing into a complex, yet hot area of technology of helping organizations better trade cryptocurrencies. It describes its software platform as a way to combine “order execution and data ingestion engine with artificial intelligence, machine learning and proprietary algorithms to create the optimal environment for automated trading.”

“As the past several weeks have proven, the market value of crypto assets can fluctuate wildly,” said Proudman in a statement. “Cryptocurrency markets lack a way to address this volatility in an automated and algorithmic way. Strix Leviathan has solved that problem.”

Cryptocurrency remains a hot — yet relatively misunderstood — area of the startup world. According to PitchBook, 179 venture capital investors in the U.S. participated in at least one crypto startup deal in the past two years.

Proudman is well known in Seattle startup circles. He previously founded Blue Box, the cloud computing company that sold to IBM in 2016. At IBM, he served as a distinguished engineer. He’s also the past winner of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and Deal of the Year Award at the GeekWire Awards.

Proudman said he’s funding the new startup out of his own pocket, but plans to raise an equity round of financing in the next few months. In an email to GeekWire, he said that cryptocurrency is in “the early innings” and that it remains difficult for investors to hold onto the currencies.

“The trading infrastructure is still wildly immature for institutional investors,” he said. “As this space continues to open up to more investors, that will have a material impact on asset prices. The wild price fluctuations we see are part of the immaturity in the market, and certainly the correction in pricing that has happened in the last few weeks is a natural and helpful part of the market. The technology platform we’ve developed is designed to help enterprises capture value from this volatility.”

Previously on GeekWire: Cryptocurrency may have its ups and downs, but blockchain’s stock is on the rise