At FINTRX, we continue to see family offices accumulate the assets and skills necessary to allocate capital directly into the alternative wealth landscape. By harnessing our family office data and research platform, which provides high-level intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by over 3,090+ family offices worldwide, we explore three family offices investing in private software companies.
Kistefos is an Oslo, Norway-based single-family office managing the wealth of its founder, Christen Sveaas. Sveaas created his wealth through a series of entrepreneurial ventures and a successful career in the private equity and venture capital space throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1979, he founded his first investment company, focusing on venture capital investments primarily throughout the shipping, technology, and cargo industries. Sveaas has served on several boards, including Tschudi & Eitzen, Stolt-Nielsen, Orkla Group, and more. Besides his business interests, Sveaas has chaired several charitable boards, primarily operating throughout the arts and music. He is a member of the Metropolitan Museum International Council, HSG Advisory board at the University of St. Gallen, Tate International Council, and a donor to Art Basel.
Today, Kistefos invests across a wide range of opportunities. The firm, along with its subsidiaries, AS Holding and Sistefos Skog AS, invests across several asset classes, including real estate, commodities, hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, public equities, fixed income, and more. Regarding sectors of interest, Kistefos has invested in technology, software, real estate, aquaculture, medical device technology, shipping, telecommunications, and financial services, among others. The firm has taken part in both majority and minority investments globally.
Kistefos allocates both via fund vehicles and direct transactions. When making direct transactions, the group considers a range of company types and investment stages. In January 2008, Kistefos invested in Promon, a Norwegian company delivering world-leading security software to many of the largest banks worldwide. Promon’s technology is research-based and originates from the internationally recognized research environments at SINTEF and the University of Oslo.
In August 2018, Kistefos invested $7.3M in Semine, a Norwegian company that delivers an AI platform for the automation of accounting processes and insight into accounting data. The AI platform SEMINE helps to decimate costs, increase competitiveness, and reduce time and resources through the use of robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Kistefos made several follow-on investments in the company in June 2020, January, and July 2021. Geographically, Kistefos invests primarily throughout Europe, focusing heavily on Scandinavia. The firm will consider co-investing alongside like-minded family offices, individuals, and institutional investors.
2. Grouse Ridge Capital (Muck and Bechtold Family Office)
Established in 2012, Grouse Ridge Capital (Muck and Bechtold Family Office) is a Butler, Pennsylvania-based single-family office managing the capital of the Muck and Bechtold families. The firm's founder, Stephen Muck, established the group after an extensive career in finance across the private equity and venture capital spaces. The Muck family is quite active in philanthropy and therefore established the Muck Family Foundation to serve as their philanthropic arm in 2012. The Muck Family Foundation distributes to a wide range of charitable organizations.
Today, Grouse Ridge Capital (Muck and Bechtold Family Office) operates uniquely for a family office, taking part in both early and later-stage investments across a range of industries. When making private equity investments, the firm specializes in mid-market opportunities, including buyouts, turnarounds, and family business succession. Deal sizes range considerably for the group but primarily fall below the $20M mark. Besides the firm's private investments, Grouse Ridge Capital also offers M&A advisory services. When making acquisitions, Grouse Ridge Capital looks for companies with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) between $1M-$10M. Primary sectors and industries of interest include construction, infrastructure, steel, heavy industrials, and manufacturing. The firm's venture capital endeavors differ significantly from their private equity interests.
When making early-stage investments, Grouse Ridge Capital targets companies operating within the software, financial technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence sectors. The firm targets companies that are post-revenue and transitioning from product development to market development. In April 2013, Grouse Ridge made a Series A investment in nChannel, a SaaS software that empowers retailers, wholesalers, and technologists with integration tools to sync data and automate processes among eCommerce, ERP, POS, and 3PL systems. With deep industry expertise, nChannel’s cloud-based software delivers pre-built and configurable integration solutions for B2C and B2B merchants with demanding omnichannel operations. nChannel integrates popular systems like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Sage, Lightspeed, Revel Systems, and more.
In October 2015, Grouse Ridge Capital made a Series A investment in enosix, a provider of real-time integration solutions between SAP ERP and front-end systems of engagement (such as Salesforce). Enosix unlocks data, business processes, authorizations, and user permissions from SAP without recreating it from the front-end, and delivers the back-end translation in an easy-to-understand, real-time, and bi-directional integration. In August 2020, Grouse Ridge Capital made an undisclosed investment in Conservation Labs, a private company offering an affordable smart water monitor to manage water consumption. By combining simple technology with machine learning, Conservation Labs invented an affordable way to protect a property from water damage. H2know by Conservation Labs delivers actionable water insights, leak alerts, and custom conservation recommendations with an easy-to-install sensor and application.
Grouse Ridge Capital looks for dedicated entrepreneurs with quality management teams and scalable business models within large markets. The firm will only take part in syndicated investments and caps early-stage investments at ~$2M. Geographically, Grouse Ridge Capital targets companies operating in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The firm does not allocate to non-domestic opportunities. Grouse Ridge Capital regularly co-invests alongside other like-minded investors and family offices.
3. Enspire Capital (K.S. Chay Family Office)
Founded in 1997, Enspire Capital (K.S. Chay Family Office) is a Singapore-based single-family office managing the wealth of its founder K.S. Chay. Chay was the co-founder of Creative Technology Ltd, Singapore's first-ever company to be listed on the Nasdaq. The firm actively makes fund and direct investments into a variety of asset classes. Enspire Capital has invested in several external managers with extensive track records. They target groups with experience in IPOs and mergers and acquisitions. Most of its allocations are throughout Asia and Silicon Valley.
When making direct investments, Enspire Capital seeks opportunities in a range of sectors within the technology industry including, SaaS, cloud-based software, information technology, mobile, telecommunications, as well as media and technology. When allocating funds, the firm looks for groups taking part in later-stage investments. Given its deep roots in technology, Enspire Capital brings an active hands-on approach to its investments.
In August 2011, Enspire Capital made a Series B investment in Centec Networks, a company focused on software-defined networking through the supply of core chips and white box switches. Centec Networks provides innovative switching silicon and white box solutions that improve SDN deployment while empowering it for a carrier, enterprise, and data center networks. In August 2014, Enspire Capital made a Series D investment in DoubleDutch (now part of Cvent), a unique leader in the mobile event app industry based in San Francisco. DoubleDutch creates mobile applications designed to capture and surface data from events and conferences. Enspire made a follow-on investment in August 2015.
In November 2014, Enspire Capital made a Series A investment in FiscalNote, a privately held software, data, and media company headquartered in Washington, DC. FiscalNote is an information services company focused on global policy and market intelligence. By combining AI technology, expert analysis, and legislative, regulatory, and geopolitical data, FiscalNote is reinventing how organizations minimize risk and capitalize on an opportunity. FiscalNote empowers over 5,000+ clients worldwide to monitor, manage, and act on the issues that matter most to them.
Enspire Capital has made several investments in the software space since 2014, into companies including ShoCard, a patented digital identity platform built on a blockchain data layer that can authenticate anyone without usernames and passwords; Tripping.com, a site for vacation rentals; ViSenze, an artificial intelligence-based visual search and image recognition solution that helps retailers improve revenue and conversions; ContextSmith, a computer software company that uses artificial intelligence to turn human-driven relationships into data-driven sales processes, so teams can close more deals and improve sales performance; Datatron Technologies, a computer software company that provides an enterprise-scale automated model monitoring and model governance (management) platform for ML, AI, and data science models in production.
Enspire Capital's direct investments span a wide range of early-stage technology companies throughout Asia and the United States. The group will invest in seed and venture rounds through Series D rounds of funding. Round sizes range anywhere from $650K-$80M. Enspire Capital will take both majority and minority stakes in its portfolio companies and actively seeks co-investment opportunities with other like-minded investors and family offices.
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