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3 Family Offices Making Late-Stage Investments in Manufacturing Companies


As the leader in providing comprehensive family office intelligence, FINTRX continues to see family offices accumulating the assets and skills necessary to allocate capital directly into the private capital markets. By harnessing our family office data and research platform, which provides credible insight into thousands of direct deal transactions made by over 3,600+ family offices worldwide, we explore three family offices making late-stage investments into private manufacturing companies.

1. The Westly Group (Steve Westly Family Office)

Founded in 2007, The Westly Group (Steve Westly Family Office) is a Menlo Park, CA-based single-family office managing the capital of entrepreneur, former eBay executive, private investor, and former Controller for the State of California, Steve Westly. The Westly Group invests in both public and private equity across a range of sectors, regions, and asset classes, with an interest in venture capital investments. The firm focuses on early and mid-stage companies, ultimately seeking entrepreneurially-minded opportunities that are well-positioned for growth. The Westly Group seeks to be a value-added investor to its portfolio companies, providing a permanent and patient capital base, business operating expertise, and strategic guidance.

Industries and sectors of interest for The Westly Group include clean tech, internet, clean energy, water, healthcare, consumer services, manufacturing, and green building materials, among others. The firm takes a global outlook on its investments and has no fixed time horizon or outside investment mandate. The Westly Group will write checks in sizes from $10 and $20M. The Westly Group is also open to a wide variety of investment strategies.

In July 2008, The Westly Group made an $18.5M Series D investment in Eka Systems, a Mountain View, California-based manufacturing company. Eka Systems builds energy data communications networks that enable energy management and utility operations. Eka is a global manufacturer and supplier of self-managing smart networks that offer utilities monitoring and control of metering and data for electric, water, and gas. 

In December 2010, The Westly Group made a $40M Series C investment in View Inc., a Milpitas, California-based nanotechnology company creating smart and connected buildings to improve people's health and wellness, while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. View’s Dynamic Glass lets in natural light while blocking glare, to enhance mental and physical well-being by significantly reducing headaches, eyestrain, and drowsiness.

In 2012, View invented the first and only predictive control for dynamic glass, View Intelligence. With Intelligence, windows respond predictively with no intervention, meaning occupants enjoy the views and daylight without lifting a finger. View’s windows are digital, connected, and can be controlled from anywhere — no blinds or shades required. View Inc. has installed dynamic glass in 35 million square feet of building space, continually advancing predictive control. In June 2012, The Westly Group made a $55M Series D follow-on investment in the same company. 

In July 2013, The Westly Group made a $15M Series C investment inIOXUS, an electronic manufacturing company based in Oneonta, New York. Significant design efforts, along with advanced research and development, have allowed IOXUS to enhance products with various cell balancing techniques to solve problems for the hybrid automotive, hybrid bus, wind turbine pitch control, UPS, and industrial markets. The IP-protected technology improvements offer markets a high-performing product that is easier to use and more cost-effective to implement. IOXUS is devoted exclusively to providing environmentally friendly products for a range of applications, including UPS, wind turbines, industrial and automotive needs. By simplifying integration with packaged modules, IOXUS is assisting customers in generating end products faster, allowing for faster market adoption of the ultra-capacitor technology. In April 2014, The Westly Group made a $21M Series C investment into the same company. 

2. Hillman Company (Hillman Family Office)

With roots tracing back to 1950, Hillman Company (Hillman Family Office) is a Pittsburgh, PA-based single-family office managing the assets of the late J. H. Hillman, Jr. and the Hillman Foundations. They invest in both private and public equity across a range of sectors, regions, and asset classes. Hillman invests globally in private equity (their largest area of investment), venture capital, real assets, hedge funds, long-only equity funds, and directly into private companies on a case-by-case basis.

Hillman often invests directly in companies alongside their partners via a co-investment setup. Regarding their direct investment interest, Hillman will consider investments across a broad array of sectors, globally, including energy, food, manufacturing, technology, real estate, construction, healthcare, telecom towers, and wireless infrastructure assets, opportunistic long-only and long/short public security strategies, as well as disruptive sectors in early-stage venture capital. Most of their investments focus on North America and developed markets, however, they will also consider select investments in emerging markets on a case-by-case basis.

In July 2006, Hillman Company made a $25M follow-on Series E investment in AmberWave, a Lowell, MA-based manufacturing company that provides unique high-value products for unserved markets and new applications, building on over 15 years of experience in semiconductor materials innovations. AmberWave engages in the research, development, and licensing of technologies for semiconductor applications. The group bases the roofing product on the Ultra-Thin Silicon on steel (UTSi) solar cell, fabricated via epitaxial growth of a thin layer of monocrystalline silicon grown on porous silicon. Hillman made another follow-on investment in AmberWave in February 2021. 

In January 2008, Hillman Company made a $31.5M Series E investment in Apple Inc., an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. In November 2017, Hillman Company made an undisclosed investment in Hargis Industries, LP, now doing business as St Fastening Systems. The company manufactures and distributes threaded self-drilling fasteners, foam closure strips, and other accessories to the steel-frame, post-frame, and residential building markets. Joe A. Hargis found ST Fastening Systems in 1992. Hargis started ST Fastening Systems because he saw a need in the construction fastener industry for a higher level of customer service and product quality. The company is headquartered in Tyler, TX. 

3. Vulcan Capital (Paul Allen Family Office)

Founded in 2003, Vulcan Capital (Paul Allen Family Office) is a Seattle, WA-based single-family office serving as the investment arm of Vulcan Inc., founded by the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Paul Allen passed away on October 15, 2018, leaving behind a fortune estimated at north of $20B. Vulcan Capital is a leading private investment firm that creates long-term value by applying extensive industry knowledge, operational expertise, and financial resources to attractive investment opportunities.

Today, Vulcan Capital invests across all stages of corporate development through leveraged buyouts, growth capital, distressed/turnaround, early-stage venture capital, and public equity value investing. The firm's portfolio spans a range of industry sectors, including media and communications, real estate, energy and natural resources, financial and information services, technology, manufacturing, and life sciences, among others. Direct investments are used as an integral part of its investment plans, often allocating capital directly to private companies on a cash growth basis. The group is an active investor in private equity, including start-up funds raising their first fund.

In June 2012, Vulcan Capital made a $23M Series C investment in Sand 9, a fabless micro-electromechanical system company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sand 9 developed a piezoelectric MEMS resonator to serve as an alternative for quartz timing devices in applications, such as smartphones, low-power wireless devices, and communications infrastructure equipment. The company designs and makes hardware for applications in GPS, LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, networking, and industrial sectors. Sand 9 serves customers worldwide.

Vulcan Capital has made several other direct transactions in manufacturing companies, including SiOnyx, Blokable, Modumetal, Rad Power Bikes, Rebellyous Foods, and Springboard.

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