Meet the Orca Team 🐳

Published in
4 min readJun 28, 2021


When we launched Orca earlier this year, we did so pseudonymously as YM and Ori. The decision to be pseudonymous was more of a “why not” than a “must have”—why not test the waters before diving in headfirst?

Fast-forward a few months, and we are very happy here in the waters of the Solana ecosystem! We’ve also observed firsthand the benefits of being open with our community. As a general rule of thumb in DeFi, knowing that a team is (a) highly experienced and (b) believes in their project enough to put their names behind it instills confidence.

This week, we officially revealed our identities in a conversation with Anatoly on The Solana Podcast. Now, we’d like take this opportunity to introduce ourselves in a little more depth! 🌊

The current Orca core team 🐳

Yutaro Mori, aka rawfalafel, is one of the cofounders of Orca and resident crypto nerd. An industry-trained software engineer fascinated by both cryptography and economics, he foresaw an opportunity in cryptocurrency during the 2017 bull market and promptly quit his "normal" software job. After that, he earned his DeFi stripes as a contributor to the Eth 2.0 Golang client and an engineer at UMA before becoming an early believer in Solana. When he's not dreaming up ways to increase capital efficiency, you can find him studying macroeconomics or playing Apex Legends (though he’ll readily admit that his performance is less than legendary).

Grace Kwan, aka Ori (her preferred moniker), is Orca’s other cofounder and de facto head of product. With a background in engineering, design, and writing, she specializes in turning complex technical systems into products users love. After getting her B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science at Stanford, she worked as a software engineer at Coursera and an interaction designer at IDEO Tokyo. When she’s not spinning up smart contracts or slick UX, she moonlights as a hobbyist food writer (this year, she published her first stories in Gastro Obscura)!

Michael Hwang, aka tmoc, is Orca's first employee and engineering Swiss Army knife. With experience at both tiny startups and software giants such as Google, he can traverse up and down the stack with confidence. His deep understanding of the crypto space lies in his degen DNA — his proudest DeFi moment is getting dumped on by Nomi during DeFi Summer. When he's not wrangling unruly RPC nodes into place, you can find him producing quirky space music (keep an eye out for the upcoming album) and DJing hipster gigs.

Milan Patel, aka milan 😉, is Orca’s marketing mastermind. After graduating with a degree in Economics / International Development from Georgetown, he ended up as a professional deck builder for the big banks at McKinsey. Soon after, he left to learn how to code, fell in love with crypto, and became a PM for Ethereum 2.0 Staking. (The rest is history!) When he’s not onboarding nocoiners into the wonderful world of crypto, you can find him at the airport (the small kind) learning about aviation or playing chess.

…And our wider Orca family:

Though we started with just two people, none of this would have been possible without our wider Orca family. These include:

  • Our advisors, e^{i} Ventures, are an incubator and investment firm with deep expertise in the cryptocurrency industry, especially DeFi. The team is a diverse group of engineers, traders, and researchers in computer science with deep expertise in crypto economics, decentralized finance, and blockchain.
  • Our fearless team of Community Managers, who engage directly with our growing communities and lead marketing initiatives such as AMAs.
  • All the members of our community who choose Orca as their favorite place to swap and provide liquidity. (Hopefully, that’s you!)

How we’re different

To close, we’d like to share a few things that we think make our team special:

  • Engineering chops: Every member of our core team is an industry-honed software engineer. Plus, our prior experience developing on Ethereum has given us a valuable understanding of the unique technical constraints posed by developing on blockchains.
  • First-mover advantage: As one of the first projects to receive a grant to develop an app on Solana, we have a collaborative relationship with both the Solana Foundation and many other projects in the ecosystem. Our yield farming smart contract, Aquafarm, will be one of the first widely-used Solana smart contracts developed by an independent team!
  • Bootstrapped: Orca was self-funded with a grant from the Solana Foundation, so we have not pre-allocated any tokens to investors prior to the token issuance. At our current headcount, we have enough capital to keep developing Orca for the next several years. We do plan to seek investment from values-aligned investors after launch, with the primary motivations of growing the team and raising awareness.

What’s next

As a team, we are incredibly bullish on Solana and expect the ecosystem to grow massively over the next few years. After our upcoming governance token release, we’ll shift our focus to innovating on the core AMM to improve capital efficiency for liquidity providers. (More thoughts on this in the months to come!)

Though we plan to gradually decentralize the Orca protocol over the next several years, community-oriented governance is still an unproven experiment. We’ll be here for as long as it takes to navigate Orca safely into the hands of the community.

Want to join one of the most ambitious projects on Solana? We’re on the lookout for 1–2 senior software engineers to join our (fully remote, competitively-compensated) pod. If that sounds like you, hit us up on Discord or drop us a line at! 🐳



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The official account of Orca: The most user-friendly AMM on Solana 🐳

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