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5 Family Offices Investing in Retail Companies

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In utilizing the FINTRX Private Wealth Data Platform, we highlight five family offices actively investing in private retail companies. Equipped with accurate and comprehensive data on thousands of transactions from 3,800+ family offices globally, our data intelligence platform reveals how these private wealth management firms are financially backing transformative ventures, significantly influencing the evolution of the retail sector.


1. Hillhouse Family Office

Founded in 2005, Hillhouse Capital Management is a distinguished multi-family office based in Hong Kong. The firm's establishment was spearheaded by Lei Zhang and has since catered to a diverse clientele comprised of high-net-worth individuals and families. At Hillhouse, a highly accomplished investment team with extensive global industry expertise takes pride in nurturing and maximizing the potential of their portfolios. Presently, Hillhouse specializes in investments in both public and private equity, spanning various sectors, regions and asset classes. The firm focuses on companies operating in the consumer, tech, industrial and healthcare industries. One of Hillhouse's key differentiators is its willingness to invest across all stages of the business cycle, from early-stage ventures to growth and expansion initiatives. 

Hillhouse Capital Management adopts a truly global approach to investments, targeting emerging and established markets in the United States, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and other strategic locations worldwide. In pursuing its investment endeavors, the firm is committed to adhering to a comprehensive research process, ensuring that each investment is worthy of its unwavering support. Their stringent due diligence practices have been instrumental in uncovering high-quality, yet often overlooked investment opportunities.

In recent years, Hillhouse has demonstrated significant interest in the Retail sector. Notably, in June of last year, the firm made a substantial $30 million investment in a venture round for Ekornes, the largest furniture company in the Nordic region headquartered in Sykkylven, Norway. Ekornes boasts a wide network of over 400 retail outlets spanning 13 countries, with its core mission revolving around innovating furniture to enhance everyday living. In July 2021, Hillhouse made a $500 million investment to support the Series D round of funding for HeyTea. This Chinese tea drink chain, founded in 2012 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China, has garnered attention for its contemporary interior design and innovative beverages.

 

2. Premji Invest (Azim Premji Family Office)

Founded in 2006, Premji Invest is a single family office tasked with managing the wealth of Indian businessman Azim Premji. The office, which works out of Bangalore, focuses on investing in private equity firms throughout India but will consider international investments. Despite maintaining a discreet presence in the family office domain, Premji Invest is renowned for its keen interest in ventures within the technology, automotive, finance, education, healthcare, hospitality and retail sectors. Typically, their investment amounts range from $10 million to $100 million per venture, though this often varies. The firm demonstrates a particular interest in collaborating with companies led by women.

In recent times, it has made substantial investments in the retail sector, encompassing various stages of the business cycle. One noteworthy investment occurred in June 2022 when Premji participated in a series E funding round for the company Purplle, amounting to $33 million. Purplle, an Indian-based online distributor of beauty products, is driven by the mission to enhance affordability and accessibility to a diverse range of brands for its customers. Entrackr reported that at the time of funding completion, "Purplle claimed to have 7 million monthly active users with over 1000 brands and more than 60000 products on the platform."

In February of 2022, Premji Invest participated in a series B funding round totaling $12 million for the company Increff. Headquartered in Karnataka, India, and founded in 2016, the company aims to provide simple technology solutions to complex inventory challenges. According to Finsmes, the company raised the funds to expand its global presence by establishing new offices and bolstering teams in the U.S. and European markets, in addition to investing in diversifying its product and services. 

 

3. ICONIQ Capital Family Office

ICONIQ Capital is a distinguished multi-family office that was established in 2012 in San Francisco, CA. With additional offices in London, Palo Alto, Singapore and New York, the firm offers comprehensive wealth management services to a select group of high-net-worth individuals, including prominent figures such as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, and Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Meta. The range of services provided by ICONIQ Capital caters to the diverse needs of its esteemed clients, encompassing investment management, financial planning, tax optimization, estate planning, and philanthropic advisory. The firm has cultivated a robust network within Silicon Valley and has gained recognition for its exceptional expertise in collaborating with tech entrepreneurs and executives.

Leveraging their profound understanding of the technology sector, ICONIQ offers specialized guidance and access to investment opportunities that align precisely with their client's interests. Notably, the firm has recently made noteworthy investments in the retail sector. For instance, in April of 2022, ICONIQ participated in a series E funding round, totaling $240 million in Fetch Rewards, a mobile app designed to facilitate savings on everyday grocery purchases. The app allows users to simply capture photos of their receipts and earn rewards for their transactions. 

In April of 2021, ICONIQ took part in a series C funding round, totaling $130 million into Modern Meadow, a pioneering bio-fabrication company known for designing the world's first bio-fabricated leather. The company's vision is to accelerate a future where consumer products no longer depend on unsustainable inputs heavily reliant on petrochemicals or animal-based sources. As stated by Finsmes, the funds raised from this round were intended to further bolster research and development efforts across material science and biotechnology.

 

4. Bregal Investments (Brenninkmeijer Family Office)

Founded in 2002, Bregal Investments operates as a New York, NY-based single family office responsible for managing the wealth of the esteemed Dutch-German Brenninkmeijer family. Over the years, Bregal has demonstrated its prowess by deploying $9 billion in investments, establishing itself as a very capable family office. The firm engages in direct investments, as well as co-investing, with check sizes typically ranging from $15 million to $150 million. Bregal Investments functions as the private equity investment arm of COFRA Holding AG, a European holding company that oversees a privately-owned group of enterprises, including C&A, a prominent clothing retail organization, and Redevco, a reputable real estate company.

The roots of COFRA can be traced back to two visionary brothers, Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, who founded a textile wholesaling venture in the Netherlands in 1841, laying the foundation for what has now become a global network of over 1,800 C&A stores. Redevco emerged from the real estate operations of C&A and has functioned as an independent entity since 1999. Bregal was established in 2002 to consolidate and expand COFRA's private equity investment endeavors. The firm strategically invests in both public and private equity across diverse sectors, regions and asset classes, adopting a long-term and global approach to all of its investment activities. Notably, Bregal focuses on the energy, consumer brands, food, retail and healthcare retail industries.

In April of 2022, Bregal made a significant contribution to a series B funding round, totaling $68.2 million into Productsup, a Berlin-based company dedicated to optimizing product content for its clientele. The company's mission is to empower international businesses with a unified brand and marketing push across 2,500+ marketing and retail channels. Pulse2 reported that this investment would enable Productsup to “further advance its product development, target merger and acquisition opportunities, strengthen the partner network, and expand to new markets to solidify its position as the leading global solution for commerce success.”

In September of 2021, Bregal engaged in a private equity deal with Oggi Foods, a Quebec-based frozen pizza crust company. Specializing in organic gluten-free pizza crusts handcrafted based on the original Italian cuisine of Naples, Oggi Foods brings a unique offering to the market. While the size of the deal remains undisclosed, this investment reflects Bregal's strategic focus on ventures with promising growth potential. 

 

5. Gart Companies (Gart Family Office)

Founded in 1992, Gart Family Office is a highly regarded single family office headquartered in Denver, CO. Tasked with expertly managing the wealth of the Gart family, the firm operates through its two principal divisions, Gart Properties and Gart Capital Partners. The family's patriarch, Nathan Gart, along with his sons, forged the foundation of the family's wealth through the establishment of Gart Bros., an outdoor equipment shop, in 1928. Commencing with a single store in downtown Denver, the enterprise flourished into an impressive network of over 150 storefronts by 1992.

Gart Family Office is renowned for its focus on alternative investments, encompassing direct deals, real estate, private equity and venture capital. Gart Properties, the firm's real estate arm, pursues a diverse array of opportunities throughout Colorado and the United States, displaying robust integration within the Colorado institutional landscape, marked by over 30 investment partnerships. With regard to direct investments, the firm adopts a hands-on approach, providing extensive financial and operational support to its management teams throughout their engagements. Typically, initial check sizes range from $3 million to $10 million, and the group actively makes follow-on investments when suitable.

Given these facets of their investment strategy, the office has recently made noteworthy forays into the retail sector. In March of 2023, Gart Family Office made a significant private equity investment in TOPO Designs, a Denver-based company that specializes in the sale of backpacks and apparel, with an emphasis on connecting people with the outdoors. According to PR Newswire, the funding is intended to facilitate TOPO's consumer acquisition efforts, further expand its presence in the wholesale market, and leverage the expertise of Gart Family Office as a valuable resource for market insights.

In January 2020, Gart successfully acquired Work World, a specialty retailer of work boots and workwear. Established in 1990 and headquartered in Vacaville, CA, the company boasts a robust e-commerce presence and a distribution network encompassing 23 locations across California and Nevada. Global Newswire quoted Dan Meyer, a co-owner of Work World saying, “We are excited to partner with Gart Capital Partners as we embark on our next phase of growth...”


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