NEWS AND INSIGHTS FROM FINTRX
We continue to shine a light on the alternative wealth space and private capital market by providing detailed analyses on the recent investment history of family offices. Fueled by data from the FINTRX Private Wealth Data Platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by over 3,700+ family offices worldwide, we outline five family offices currently participating in Series A funding rounds.
Located off the coast of France in St. Helier, Jersey, the Zinal Growth team manages the wealth of Guillaume Pousaz and his family. Pousaz is the founder of Checkout.com, an online payment processing system used by giants like UberEats, Sony, and GE Healthcare, which recently closed its Series D round of $1 billion.
Following the success of Pousaz’s own company, it is not surprising his family office primarily invests in software and internet services. In July 2023, they made an investment into Whop, an online marketplace to sell software. Using a dashboard with management and insights, buyers and sellers can market their products. The company is looking to invite influencers and their revenue-generating advertisement deals to the platform, which is mostly used by sports betting and cryptocurrency at the moment. Whop closed its Series A this month at $17 million with investments from numerous firms and is now valued at around $100 million.
Similarly, Zinal contributed to the $37 million Series A for Dastgyr, a Pakistani marketplace platform connecting retailers with suppliers in the Middle East, operating in a B2B structure. The June 2022 commitment, led by VEON Ventures, was the highest Series A fundraising round any Pakistani company has seen to date.
Financial technology investments also make up a significant part of Zinal’s portfolio. Pledge, an online platform that measures carbon emissions and sustainability for logistics companies, received $10 million in a May 2023 Series A. With Zinal Growth leading the round, multiple firms invested in the company that is encouraging its users to seek “net zero emissions”, while also offering sustainability suggestions and alternatives within supply chains. Additionally, Zinal Growth participated in the $15 million Series A for Argentinian fintech company, Pomelo, in November 2022. Focused on launching digital accounts and physical cards in Latin America, Pomelo partners with Visa and Mastercard to facilitate and expedite financial services and their infrastructure.
In 1984, French businessman Bernard Arnault used the money from his father’s construction company to purchase Christian Dior. Since then, his company, the LVMH Group, has created and acquired companies like Louis Vuitton, Moёt, Hennessy, and Tiffany & Co. Amassing a whopping $234.6 billion net worth has given him the title of the wealthiest man in the world, although he occasionally loses it to Elon Musk in a rotating cycle. Arnault owns Agache Financière, which in 2021 made an additional offset called Aglaé Ventures. Serving as the family office for the Arnault family, Aglaé functions as a technological venture capital company, having previously invested in Airbnb, Lyft, and Netflix. The majority of their holdings are in the United States and France, and their main offices are in Paris, France. For a team whose name means “splendor” in French, their self-proclaimed teamwork and communication hail the group an accurate identity.
As expected from a tech venture capital firm, the majority of their portfolio is in technology and software with an especially large concentration on cryptocurrency within the past year. This past month, Aglaé participated in a $40 million Series A fundraising round for RISC Zero. The company aims to help crypto developers broaden their skills and capabilities with zero-knowledge software, specifically with Web3 developers implementing ZK technology. Similarly, Aglaé contributed to a $30 million Series A in June 2022 for Flowdesk, an online trading infrastructure for market-making and crypto exchanges. Pushing Web3 adoption, the site is connected to Coinbase, Binance, and other cryptocurrency exchanges and trading features.
Software as a service (SaaS) companies have also been on Aglaé’s radar. Beamy, a company that helps companies monitor their SaaS (like cloud-based platforms Google Suite or Microsoft Office), raised a $9 million Series A in April 2022. The Paris-based firm garnered financial support from Aglaé in addition to LMVH being one of their clients. The firm helps leadership teams “rebuild effective governance” within their IT. Furthermore, the software firm Veesion received a contribution from Aglaé with their $10.8 million Series A in March 2022. Using SaaS technology, the company’s AI analyzes movement in cameras’ live feeds to prevent theft. The AI contains self-learning technology, which is anticipated to garner additional success with an increased number of users.
Boasting over 400 individual companies within the Virgin Group, Richard Branson is the definition of a flexible investor. In 1972, Branson created a record label with stores throughout England. Since then, his companies, varying from gaming to airlines to space travel, have amassed Branson a $3.1 billion net worth. His portfolio also encompasses a personal island in the British Virgin Islands, a generous philanthropic repertoire, and a knighthood from the British monarchy. Virgin Management was created in the 1970s to manage the Branson family's wealth. The family office invests primarily in Series A investment rounds, specifically in technology companies. Branson is particularly invested emotionally in his companies too, as he prides himself on entrepreneurship and “insatiable curiosity.”
Recent investments from Virgin Management have had a specifically humanitarian focus. OOVA, a company founded to support women on their reproductive journeys, received $10.3 million in their June 2023 Series A. Women receive at-home tests that are then uploaded to the OOVA platform with personalized analytics. The company is FDA-registered and includes a community component for women on their fertility journeys.
Additionally, Marker Learning recently attained $15 million in their Series A in February 2023. The platform seeks to avoid the complicated process for students in need of a learning disability diagnosis. Partnering with psychologists, educators, and public schools, the online platform provides tutoring services, analytics, and compatible accommodation letters.
Sustainable investments are also part of the Branson portfolio. This past May, Virgin Management contributed to the $11 million Series A for Waterplan, a climate platform that develops strategies to minimize various companies’ water risk. In order to save water and avoid pollution, Waterplan employs a SaaS technology accompanied with AI, satellite imagery, and climate data. Current customers include Amazon, Patron Tequila, and Meta. Moreover, Virgin Management invested in Airly, which deploys a SaaS solution for air quality, monitoring, and control. With the help of $5.5 million in a November 2022 Series A, the Polish startup aims to #RepairTheAir. The device is used by governments and businesses to make decisions regarding air quality and safety and is a solution to otherwise expensive and inaccessible air quality measures. Using 400 interactive data points that connect to a platform, customers can feel confident about the air around them.
Joel Peterson created his family office in 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Formerly the managing partner of Trammell Crow Company, a subsidiary of commercial real estate giant CBRE, Peterson has amassed a substantial portfolio in the past 20 years. Peterson also served as the chairman of JetBlue for 12 years and currently is the chairman of Packsize, a company focused on sustainable packaging and supply chains. Today, Peterson Partners has three primary functions within their firm: Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Search Funds. Peterson Partners is an active co-investor and focuses on business services, fintech, and healthcare investments. Past investments include AllBirds, Bonobos, and Solidcore. Joel Peterson prides himself on promoting entrepreneurship, a concept he highlights in his two published books.
In the past year, Peterson Partners has made a number of significant Series A investments. In May, they contributed to a $12 million Series A for the digital fitness platform Lifeforce, a company that runs diagnostics on customers' blood samples with over 40 biomarkers to determine health risks and offer suggestions to mid-aged individuals. The subscription-based service also offers its own line of nutraceuticals, products that are said to provide additional health benefits not received through a traditional diet. The clinician-grade treatments are sold in addition to the diagnostic platform.
Peterson Partners also supported another health and wellness company, Glowbar, in their January 2023 Series A. The company capitalizes on the trend of “wellcare” spending, a term used by Glowbar CEO Rachel Liverman to describe the steady investment into efficient and affordable personal wellbeing, by offering an accessible and low-cost facial membership in New York City. The $10 million round seeks to further support the growing company with their 30-minute, once-a-month facials conducted by licensed estheticians.
Peterson Partners also participated in a $17 million Series A in February for Rebuy Engine, a Shopify product used to increase engagement and sales with customers. The SaaS platform has tripled its revenue in the past year, with customers including Olipop, Barstool Sports Store, and Liquid Death. Peterson led Rebuy’s Seed round in 2021, so the continuing partnership speaks highly of the software’s unique personalization of online retail. Additionally, Peterson contributed to a $10 million Series A this past January for Cruisebound, a cruise-booking software. Offering search filters and 24/7 customer support, Cruisebound streamlines and facilitates booking cruise vacations. Their advisory board features hospitality veterans from Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Rocket Travel.
Located in Chicago, Illinois, Builders Vision is an ESG company founded in 2021 by Lukas Walton. S2G Ventures serves as their direct investment branch and functions as a multi-family office managing high-net-worth individuals’ money. Walton founded the company as a commitment to building a healthy planet. Exclusively focusing on impact investing, S2G Ventures partners with trailblazers to add value to their company, improve sustainability, and generate profit. Most active in Series A rounds, S2G has made significant additions to their portfolio in the few years since its creation.
Last month, an ingredient-based supplement with powders and capsules for specific healing properties called MEND closed its Series A fundraising round. Led by S2G Ventures, the health company amassed $15 million from various investors. The firm is led by venture capital veterans in conjunction with medical experts. Their AI-enabled app, Upgraid, provides medical advice from registered nurses and nutritionists for patients post-operation or after suffering an injury.
S2G also led the charge for two other notable Series A funding rounds for UCAN and Shiru. UCAN, a company that created an alternative to traditional glycogen breakdown using slow-release glucose, launched in 2010. Their product, LIVSTEADY, is a sugar- and caffeine-free energy booster that comes in powder, gel, and snack form that has earned an impressive reputation from clinical trials and athlete testimonials as well as a $10.7 million Series A raised in 2022. Similar to UCAN, the company Shiru completed a $17 million Series A in October 2021. The ingredient company deploys machine learning, bioinformatics, and precision fermentation to find alternative, non-animal-dependent ingredients. With an intention of sustainability, their product seeks to optimize natural materials and avoid waste. The Californian firm was created in 2019 and is awaiting patent approval for Flourish, their in-house search engine and interactive platform.
S2G Ventures is also seeking sustainability within the agriculture industry. ReelData AI is a farming technology company geared towards land-based aquaculture. Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, ReelData AI seeks to improve efficiency and sustainability in fish farming while also generating profit. The company has four different products within its AI: ReelAppetite for autonomous feeding, ReelBiomass for weight estimations, ReelStress to track or predict stress events, and ReelHealth for comprehensive fish health. Their $8 million Series A fundraising round closed in January 2023.
FINTRX is a unified family office and registered investment advisor (RIA) database that provides comprehensive data intelligence on 850,000+ family office & investment advisor records, each designed to help asset-raising professionals identify, access and map the global private wealth ecosystem.
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July 31, 2023
Mae O'Neill is a member of the FINTRX research & data team, dedicated to delivering targeted and relevant family office & registered investment advisor (RIA) content & insights.