As family offices continue to grow in size and sophistication, the more progressive groups use a direct investment strategy to earn higher returns. In utilizing the FINTRX family office data and research platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by 3,000+ family offices worldwide, we explore five family offices directly investing in hospitality companies.
1. Wenaas Group
Officially established in 1986, Wenaas Group is a Måndalen, Norway-based single-family office managing the wealth of the Wenaas family. The group traces its roots back to 1931 when Lars Wenaas established a Norwegian clothing company. He began production out of the family's basement and continued to grow the brand throughout the 1940s until his son Sigmund took over in 1954. Eventually, Sigmund's sons Nils and Lars entered the family business in the 1970s. By the end of the 1970s, the company had built one of the largest and most efficient clothing factories in Europe. Having established themselves as a reputable brand and profitable company, the group acquired textile companies throughout Europe, ultimately buying out 16 companies in 20 years. In 2006, the family sold its remaining shares in the company, and the grandsons of Lars and Nils began separate endeavors. As the family's wealth grew throughout the 1990s, so did their interests. Wenaas Group heavily invested in the real estate and hospitality industry throughout the 1990s purchasing and developing 58 hotels throughout Northern Europe. Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the firm sold 18 of its hotel properties in Norway and Denmark and began focusing on large hotels in major European cities.
Today, the firm invests in a range of opportunities primarily throughout Europe. When investing, the firm actively seeks opportunities that provide the highest potential returns while mitigating unnecessary risk. The firm invests in a range of public equities and fixed-income vehicles. Industries of interest include hospitality, real estate, construction, and transportation, primarily. For instance, in April 2017, June, and December 2019, Wenaas Group directly invested in Radisson Blu Hotel in Hamburg, a hospitality company based out of Hamburg, Germany. With hotels throughout the US, Canada, and Latin America, Radisson Blu Hotel offers ease of travel and plenty of industry opportunities. In June 2019, Wenaas Group directly invested in Don Giovanni Hotel, a luxury hotel in Prague with over 400+ guest rooms, five restaurants, and several bars. The hotel also has one of the largest conference capacities in Prague, a spa, Beauty Salon, Souvenir Shop, fitness center, and more. Besides its extensive real estate portfolio, the group allocates capital out of its private asset management arm well. When making real estate and hotel acquisitions, Wenaas Group targets opportunities across Europe including Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Poland, among others.
2. RB Investments (Harsh Bothra Family Office)
Founded in 2014, RB Investments (Harsh Bothra Family Office) is a Singapore-based single-family office managing the capital of its founding partner, Harsh Bothra, a Southeast Asia technology entrepreneur. The firm invests in both public and private equity across a range of sectors, regions, and asset classes, with a focus on direct venture capital and private equity investments. Value creation is at the core of RB’s philosophy, and the firm seeks to be a value-added partner to its portfolio, providing a permanent capital base, strategic guidance, and access to the firm’s deep and global professional network. RB Investments seek visionary opportunities, which are poised to enact global change. Sectors of interest include the internet, mobile, information technology, consumer products/services, hospitality, and manufacturing.
In June 2019, RB Investments directly invested in WhyQ, Singapore's largest hawker food delivery and catering business founded in 2014. WhyQ has a hawker partner base of 2,500 hawker stalls with over 150k customers, delivering up to 3,000 meals daily. Its mission is to bring food from the famous hawker centers into offices, gyms, and homes so individuals can enjoy the unique tastes Singapore offers. In November and December 2019, RB Investments directly invested in myHQ, a team of workspace solution experts working towards making a one-stop workspace solution for all work needs. myHQ takes up curated spaces inside beautifully designed cafes, restaurants, offices, and boutique coworking spaces and converts them into rent-free workspaces equipped with the basic work amenities. With 10,000+ creators, myHQ is a close-knit community of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, tech junkies, creative freelancers, and inspiring bloggers breaking free from their cubicles. Customers can choose between pay-per-use plans or fixed desks for teams and individuals.
In January 2020, RB Investments directly invested in Fabhotels, a new age budget hotels brand with 600+ hotels in 50+ Indian cities. With technology at the center of consumer experience and backend operations, Fabhotels are building a budget hospitality brand, one that has been missing in India for quite some time. RB Investments takes a long-term outlook on its investments and will stay with portfolio companies through all stages of development. The firm has an out-of-the-box investment philosophy and a small portfolio. RB Investments pursue only a few opportunities per year, allowing the firm to concentrate closely on its portfolio. The group is open to co-investing alongside like-minded family offices and will invest globally.
3. Lamont Companies (Lamont Single Family Office)
With roots tracing back to 1998, Lamont Companies (Lamont Single Family Office) is an Aberdeen, South Dakota-based single-family office managing the wealth of its founder, Jeff Lamont, and his family. Over two decades ago, Lamont began developing, constructing, and managing an array of franchised hotels, restaurants, convention centers, apartment developments, strip malls, and casinos across the United States. Today, Lamont remains focused on hospitality-related investment opportunities and new-build properties. Lamont also seeks to expand the family's wealth through the sourcing of new businesses, private equity investments, real estate holdings, and various others. Lamont will co-invest in development projects and long-term retail and hospitality opportunities. In October 2016, Lamont directly invested in Holiday Inn Express and Suites Hotel, an affordable yet luxurious hotel with four collections (luxury & lifestyle, premium, essentials, and suites), 16 brands, and 6,000 destinations. Its diverse set of global destinations and collections gives you the chance to save or splurge. Lamont Companies has a history of optimizing investment returns under various market conditions while consistently exceeding industry benchmarks. The group also owns several land and bank holding companies in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
4. MID Group
With roots tracing all the way back to 1979, MID Group is a European-based single-family office managing the wealth of its founder, Dr. Walter Mosser, and his family. Mosser created his wealth through several entrepreneurial ventures and a career in law and real estate development. After working in law from 1979 through 1989, Mosser shifted his focus to real estate development. In the mid-2000s, Mossier's son joined the family business and expanded the firm's interests. Today, the firm allocates to a wide range of opportunities throughout the real estate and direct investment space. MIG Group has substantial interests in real estate, timber, manufacturing, tourism, hospitality, energy, hydroelectric, and natural resource space. The firm allocates heavily to commercial real estate including offices, parking garages, parking lots, retail, and shopping center properties, among others. In 2015, MID Group expanded its overall focus to include investments in the hotel and tourism industries. In 2017, the firm expanded its real estate interests in Italy, with the acquisition and development of a shopping center in Trieste. Geographically, MID Group primarily focuses on investment opportunities throughout Central Europe with a particular interest in Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The firm generally does not co-invest alongside other investors.
5. Elysium Management (Black Family Office)
Founded in 2018, Elysium Management (Black Family Office) is a New York-based single-family office managing the wealth of Leon Black and his family. Black is the co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of Apollo Global Management, a private equity giant with over $250B in assets under management. Today, Leon Black has an estimated net worth of $7B. Elysium Management specializes in making private equity and direct investments. The firm allocates to a range of industries, including retail, food and beverage, restaurants, hospitality, franchises, and aviation, among others. In February 2018, Elysium Management directly invested in Huddle House, a privately held, American casual dining franchisor. Founded in 1964, Huddle House has been a neighborhood staple in towns and cities across the country for decades. With restaurants in 19 states, Huddle House is actively seeking qualified franchisees for single and multi-unit development throughout various regions of the country including the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Central U.S. In July 2018, Elysium Management directly invested in Convene, a privately held hospitality business founded in 2009. Convene creates dynamic work experiences through a network of 25+ premium meeting, event, and office locations and digital meeting technology. To help planners focus less on logistics and more on having great meetings, Convene has since expanded into flexible workplace locations, Virtual Meetings, and Hybrid Meetings. Convene combines beautiful designs, technology, and a focus on hospitality to create your best day of work, wherever that may be. Elysium Management mainly targets middle-market investment opportunities. The firm remains quite private to this day.
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