Opportunities to allocate capital directly are more prevalent now than ever, and family offices are at the center of this growing trend. In utilizing the FINTRX family office data and research platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by 3,030+ family offices worldwide, we explore three family offices directly investing in private technology companies.
1. Advance Publications (Newhouse Family Office)
With roots tracing back to 1922, Advance Publications (Newhouse Family Office) is a New York, New York-based single-family office managing the wealth of the Newhouse family. The Newhouse family founded and owns Advance Publications, a major American media company and the largest shareholder in Vogue, Discovery, Reddit, and Charter Communications. The family has an estimated net worth of more than $18 billion, making them one of the richest in the United States.
Today, Advance Publications provides the family with a range of services, including investment management, estate and tax planning, and concierge services. They seek to build a diversified portfolio of holdings spanning several industries, such as media, telecommunications, education, technology, and more. Advance Publications allocates to traditional and alternative asset classes including private equity, real estate, venture capital, and public equity, among others. They make both direct and indirect (fund) investments and allocate to venture capital funds occasionally as well. In December 2014 and December 2016, Advance Publications directly invested in Rent the Runway, an e-commerce platform that allows users to rent, subscribe, or buy designer apparel and accessories.
In July 2016 and April 2017, Advance Publications directly invested in Everfi, an international technology company driving social change through education to address challenging issues affecting society, ranging from financial wellness to prescription drug safety to workplace conduct. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) community engagement platform and has reached over 30 million learners globally. In March 2019, Advance Publications made a direct investment in Turnitin, a global company dedicated to ensuring the integrity of education and meaningfully improving learning outcomes. For over 20 years, Turnitin has partnered with educational institutions to promote honesty, consistency, and fairness across all subject areas and assessment types.
2. YYX Capital
Founded in 2018, YYX Capital is a London, United Kingdom-based single-family office serving as the private investment vehicle for its partners. YYX Capital was founded by Michael Jackson, former Chairman of Sage and PartyGaming, and James Cox, the founder of a sleep tech company, Simba. The firm targets a range of companies and has historically invested in groups with unique business models in fragmented markets. YYX Capital looks to invest in businesses with sound management teams operating in progressive markets. YYX Capital takes a hands-on approach to their investments, regularly aiding their portfolio companies in all aspects of the business, including financials, legal, HR, marketing, and logistics.
YYX Capital primarily invests in early-stage companies through direct transactions, primarily targeting companies operating in the technology, consumer goods, e-commerce, fashion, business services, cosmetics, internet of things (IoT), software as a service (SaaS), retail sectors, among others. In July 2015, February 2017, and January 2020, YYX Capital directly invested in SuperAwesome, a private technology company and one of Europe's fastest-growing companies. SuperAwesome's technology is used by hundreds of brands and content-owners to safely engage with over 500 million kids each month. The company has pioneered the 'kidtech' market: technology that delivers digital media functionality with a 'zero data' design to ensure total safety for kids.
In April 2016, February 2018, February 2020, and January 2021, YYX Capital directly invested in NearSt, a technology company providing a single authoritative source of in-store product availability information via a secure API to companies that can then drive footfall to your store. Its technology 'NearLive' connects to any shop inventory system and turns raw stock data into quality live inventory. NearLive is trusted by Google and others to power local product search and discovery. YYX Capital regularly co-invests alongside other private investors, family offices, and venture capital firms. Geographically, the firm invests in European-based companies but is open to considering additional investments if the right opportunity presents itself.
3. Artha India Ventures (Damani Family Office)
Established in 2012, Artha India Ventures is a Mumbai, India-based single-family office managing the capital of Ashok Kumar Damani and Ramesh M. Damani, both former directors of the Bombay Stock Exchange. Artha India Ventures invests the Damani family capital in both public and private equity across a range of sectors, regions, and asset classes. In particular, the firm is an active direct investor in private equity and venture capital. Artha India can provide its portfolio companies with a family-backed capital base, business operating expertise, and strategic guidance for the long term. Artha India Ventures seeks to fund high-growth, disruptive startups. The firm also provides seed and early-stage venture capital through Series A funding, when appropriate. Although tech-enabled companies are the primary interest to the firm, other favored sectors include renewable energy assets, consumer goods, fintech, big data, and B2B e-commerce.
Artha India Ventures seeks ventures backed by management teams of at least three individuals, with a defined vision, solid business models, an identifiable customer base, scalability, and strong cash flows. In February 2016 and September 2018, Artha India Ventures made a direct investment and follow-on investment in BabyChakra, one of India's fastest and largest growing platforms for pregnancy and childcare. BabyChakra website and mobile app allow parents to connect with other parents and experts and provide relevant services and products for new parents. The leadership team comprises entrepreneurs and experienced industry professionals from leading ventures such as Google, Bloomberg, InMobi, HackerRank, Tiny Owl, Practo, and others who have come together to create a global product from India.
In September 2016, Artha India Ventures made a direct investment in Siftr Labs, an India-based technology company whose photo-curation platform uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to provide photo curation services. In June 2017, Artha India Ventures directly invested in Koonk Technologies, a Dehli, India-based data center services firm. Cloudrino, their flagship product, is a cloud infrastructure management tool that is OS/Platform/Hardware agnostic. Cloudrino also provides infrastructure as a service and specializes in HA Architecture (high availability architecture). As an active, hands-on investor, Artha India Ventures will seek to be the lead or sole investor in the initial funding round and will seek a board seat. Geographically, Artha India Ventures often looks to India and Southeast Asia before considering other global opportunities.
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