NEWS AND INSIGHTS FROM FINTRX
In utilizing the FINTRX Family Office & Registered Investment Advisor Data Platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by 3,200+ family offices worldwide, we outline five family offices directly investing in the software development landscape.
Established in 1999, Shanda Group (Chen Tianqiao Family Office) is a Redwood City, CA-based single-family office and holding company with additional offices in Oregon, Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The firm manages the wealth of Chen Tianqiao and his family. Tianqiao is a Chinese investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, best known for founding the Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited Company in 1999. The company became the first Chinese online gaming company publicly listed in the United States. In May 2004, Shanda filed its IPO on Nasdaq at a $152M valuation, the largest IPO for a Chinese internet company. The firm's revenue doubled each year and at the end of 2005, it reached a $1.8B market capitalization. In February 2012, shareholders of Shanda accepted a buyout from the company's three founders, paying $740M for roughly 25% of shares, valuing the company at $2.3B.
Shanda Group prides itself as an entrepreneurial investor in its ability to combine vision with business strategy and social conscience. The firm seeks to partner with passionate entrepreneurs and innovative companies that are actively pursuing a vision to make a significant impact in their communities. Regarding the firm's philanthropic activities, Chen Tianqiao and his spouse Chrissy Luo have committed billions through their foundation, The Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute. The pair has supported several causes, including medical programs, education, disaster relief, fundamental brain research, neuroscience, and more.
Today, Shanda Group invests across several asset classes, including public and private equity, venture capital, real estate, funds, direct investments, and natural resources. The firm takes an agnostic approach to deal sourcing, utilizing a global scale, though the group historically favors the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Indonesia, Iceland, and China markets. Industries of interest include gene-editing, robotics, anti-aging, and brain-related. Shanda also targets companies operating in the healthcare, financial services, media, software, and technology spaces. The firm's venture capital arm, Shanda Ventures, has invested in several mobile software companies in China and abroad.
In December 2015, Shanda Group made a $14B Series B investment in Atheer, a software development company based in Santa Clara, California with additional teams in Canada, Europe, and India. The Atheer Platform is a suite of AR and AI-powered tools that connect front-line teams to all the instructions assistance, expertise, guidance, knowledge, and enterprise systems they need. The Atheer platform is used by leading industrial enterprises to transform the productivity, accuracy, quality, and safety of their front-line teams. Customers include Porsche Cars North America, Volkswagen Group UK, Anglo American, Clorox, Contact Energy, Berry Global, Hilti, Schaeffler, Scania, GMR, International Flavors and Fragrances, Audi, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In April 2016, Shanda Group made a $1.25M Seed investment in SpaceVR, a San Fransisco, California-based company with a mission to launch the highest resolution, 360, virtual reality camera ever launched into space so that every person would have to opportunity to float in zero gravity like an astronaut. SpaceVR’s immersive technology sails you into a sea of stars as you float weightlessly experiencing the awe of Earth.
In April 2020, Shanda Group made a $150,000 Pre-Seed investment in Vectorly, a software development company with headquarters in Berkeley, California. Vectorly's web and mobile SDKs make it easy to add AI-based video enhancements into WebRTC and video streaming applications. One month later, Shanda Group made a $575,000 Pre-Seed investment in Phaseshift Technologies, a data-driven platform that accelerates the design and development of Alloys for a variety of use cases and manufacturing processes using Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Chemistry Simulations. Its AI-based framework guides the design of new materials and reduces the number of experiments required to reach a target material candidate that satisfies consumer-defined performance constraints. Simulations are built to run virtual experiments and measure a range of material properties (both structural and functional).
In March 2022, Shanda Group made a $10M Series A investment in Red Leader, a Mountain View, California-based hardware and software company building HD software-defined lidar systems for 3D mapping. The company's system provides controllable zoom-in software with no beam steering hacks involved and allows hundreds of lasers to simultaneously be imaged, thereby allowing clients to increase image resolution and improve manufacturability with easy integration.
Shanda Group also acts as a startup incubator, collaborating with companies that have market-disrupting ideas to help them succeed in their idea infancy. Examples include NPC.work, a company improving employee productivity and data efficiency, and NodeBeat, a music app and platform designed to help artists create music. Regarding Shanda's real estate investing, the firm focuses on technology-driven developments and specializes in the operational management of technology parks, commercial office buildings, and retail spaces in China and abroad. Shanda Group will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.
Established in 2014, Moore Ventures is a New York, NY-based single-family office managing the wealth of Louis M. Bacon and his family. Bacon is an American investor, hedge fund manager, philanthropist, and founder of Moore Capital Management (MCM), a multi-billion dollar global investment management company. MCM operates as a global macro investor, utilizing macroeconomic themes, cash futures, and derivatives in its portfolios. Aside from his professional career, Bacon is an active philanthropist. In 1992, he created the Moore Charitable Foundation to offer financial support to nonprofit organizations that work to preserve and protect wildlife habitats and improve water systems. In addition, Bacon has helped preserve and protect environmentally sensitive land in New York, North Carolina, and the Bahamas. In 2008, he was inducted into the Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame and the 2013 recipient of the Audubon Medal.
Today, Moore Ventures invests primarily in private equity and venture capital via direct transactions. The firm has historically taken a geographic agnostic approach to its deal sourcing. Moore Ventures seeks to partner and invest in innovative companies and entrepreneurs that actively leverage scalable technology and intellectual property. Typical industries of interest have been green building, agriculture tech, renewable energy, alternative transportation, software, and healthcare diagnostics.
The firm has made over 30 direct transactions in the software space. For instance, in August 2021, Moore Ventures made a $100M Series C investment in Khatabook, a fast-growing Saas company in India. Founded in January 2019, Khatabook has become India's leading business management app for MSMEs with 13 languages and 50M+ downloads. Khatabook enables micro, small and medium merchants to track business transactions safely and securely. It also offers features such as online payment collection through UPI and QR, periodic reminders to creditors via messages, and report generation.
In September 2021, Moore Ventures made a $26M Venture investment in Bidgely, a software development company based in Mountain View, California. Bidgely’s patented disaggregation technology unlocks opportunities for utilities to optimize shareholder value, personalize customer engagement, and modernize grid operations. With more than 15M homes under contract, Bidgely is the choice of leading utilities. The same month, Moore Ventures made an $85M Series C investment in Omaze, an online fundraising platform that gives everyone the chance to win incredible prizes to support nonprofits worldwide. Omaze connects influencers, nonprofits, and donors to help support the fundraising initiatives of over 350 charities.
In January 2022, Moore Ventures made a $200M Series B investment in Wayve, a London-United Kingdom-based software development company for self-driving cars. Wayve operates a fleet of electric vehicles fitted for autonomous operation and technology development. Its unique end-to-end machine learning approach learns to drive in new places more efficiently than competing technology. Wayve has been testing autonomous vehicles on public UK roads since early 2018.
In March 2022 Moore Ventures made a $20M Series A investment in Simetrik, a software development company based in Bogotá, Colombia. Simetrik's tech stack extracts, normalizes, checks, and reconciles transactional data. The result is a 'detailed single source of truth' used for reporting, business intelligence, and accounting purposes. In May 2022, Moore Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Razorpay, India’s first full-stack financial solutions company with a mission to enhance the payment experience of 300+ million consumers. Razorpay was started in 2014 by Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar.
Prime portfolio targets typically have a diverse management team due to the fact the group believes it drives capital efficiency. The group also seeks leaders that are passionate about their companies and remain aggressive in achieving sustainable growth. Moore Ventures leverages its comprehensive media experience, allowing its portfolio companies to gain market traction faster. The firm deploys its leadership assessment and development platform, Apertur, to identify founder teams with the highest organizational potential. Moore Ventures will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.
With roots tracing back to 1988, Diamond Ventures is a Tucson, AZ-based single-family office managing the wealth of the late Donald R. Diamond and his family. Donald was the original founder of the firm, having been an opportunistic investor in Arizona real estate and a business partner in several operating businesses. Donald, a career entrepreneur, established Diamond Ventures to expand its acquisition capabilities and investment activities. Prior to moving to Arizona, Diamond had a successful career as a commodities broker on Wall Street. Over the years, Diamond Ventures has assembled a portfolio of a range of real estate types besides equity holdings in several private companies. The group works independently with its strategic partners to protect and expand the Diamond Family's wealth for generations to come.
Today, Diamond Ventures invests across private equity, venture capital, and real estate via direct investments. The firm takes an agnostic approach to its deal sourcing but has historically focused on North American-based opportunities, specifically in the Southwest region. Diamond Ventures operates each of its asset class investments from separate entities, with DVI Equity Partners specializing in private equity and Diamond Ventures handling the real estate holdings.
Regarding the firm's private equity investing, the firm specializes in micro-cap investments in start-up and early-stage companies. The group seeks to be the first source of private funding with the goal of helping build out the company. Prime portfolio targets are companies operating in the technology sector, emerging-growth, and growth-equity opportunities that display high scalability. The firm looks for software enterprises that use technology and data to unlock new value while delivering new insights into established markets. Specific industries of interest include artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cloud, cyber security, video analytics, robotic process automation, process improvement, and automation.
In September 2018, Diamond Ventures made a $68M Series B investment in Wasabi Technologies, a hot cloud storage service provider based in Boston, MA. Since 2017, Wasabi has been changing the cloud storage landscape with Hot Cloud Storage, a disruptively simple, one size fits all cloud storage technology that is 1/5th the price and faster than the competition with no egress fees, API call charges, or additional hidden fees. Wasabi's leading-edge cloud technology allows users to affordably store a nearly infinite amount of data.
In February 2019, Diamond Ventures made an undisclosed private equity investment in AppDome, a Redwood City, California-based data security software company. The Appdome product is the industry’s first no-code mobile app security and fraud prevention platform that enables anyone to build mobile app security features into any iOS or Android application without coding. Leading financial, healthcare, government, and e-commerce providers use Appdome to deliver rich mobile experiences, eliminating development complexity and accelerating mobile app lifecycles.
In November 2019, Diamond Ventures made a $10M Series A investment in Siren, a software development company providing an Investigative Intelligence Platform to some of the world’s leading Law Enforcement, National Security, and Cyber threat investigators. Rooted in academic R&D in information retrieval, distributed computing, and knowledge representation, the Siren platform combines the capabilities of search, business intelligence, link analysis, and big data operational logging & alerting.
Diamond's investment strategy is motivated not just by financial return but also by societal and environmental impact. Regarding the firm's real estate investing, Diamond invests in both residential and commercial properties across the Southwest region. Examples of past projects include planned communities, custom homesites, mixed-use, retail, industrial, office, and hospitality. Diamond Ventures will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.
Founded in 2016, Grok Ventures is a Sydney, Australia-based single-family office managing the wealth of Mike Cannon-Brookes and his family. Mike is an Australian billionaire, best known for co-founding Atlassian, a United Kingdom-based software company that develops products for software developers, project managers, and development teams. The company went public in 2015 at a $462M valuation in addition to historically holding NASA, Tesla, and SpaceX as clients.
In December of 2020, Cannon-Brookes purchased a minority stake in the NBA's Utah Jazz, along with Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith. Regarding his philanthropic work, he has pledged over $350M in personal funds to causes targeting climate change, as well as allocating capital to sustainable, green technology companies.
Today, Grok Ventures primarily invests in private equity and venture capital-staged companies via direct investments. The firm takes an agnostic approach to its deal sourcing, utilizing a global scale. Sectors and industries of interest have historically been cyber security, enterprise software, green energy, waste collection, robotics, biotechnology, food & drink, transportation, human services, retail, and more.
Grok Ventures has made over 10 direct transactions in the software landscape. For instance, in December 2017, the group made a $3.5M Series A investment in Cog, a Chicago, Illinois-based software development company with a mission to redefine the design and development of embedded systems, and in the process, help customers deliver more reliable and secure systems, faster. Cog has been preparing for the revolution in connected device architecture since 2014. Since its inception, Cog software has been deployed in several billion devices worldwide.
In July 2018, Grok Ventures made a $40M Series D investment in Culture Amp, an Australian-based software development company with a mission to provide the education, community, and support needed to bring a culture-first approach to your organization. Culture Amp revolutionizes how 25M+ employees across 5,000+ companies create a better working environment. As the global platform leader for employee experience, Culture Amp empowers companies of all sizes and industries to transform employee engagement, develop high-performing teams, and retain talent via cutting-edge research, powerful technology, and the largest employee dataset in the world. Culture Amp is backed by 11 years of innovation, leading venture capital funds, and offices in the U.S, U.K, and Australia. Grok Ventures made follow-on investments in the company in September 2019 and July 2021.
In August 2021, Grok Ventures made a $3.6M Seed investment in Dovetail, a software development company with a mission to create better products and services through deep customer understanding. Dovetail empowers 45,000+ people, from agencies and universities to Fortune 100 companies, to make sense of their customer research in one collaborative research platform. Founded in 2017 by Benjamin Humphrey and Bradley Ayers, Dovetail has 65+ employees across offices in Sydney and San Francisco. Grok Ventures made a follow-on investment in January 2022.
When considering portfolio companies, Grok Ventures backs passionate entrepreneurs who actively aim to solve large-scale problems. The group considers companies from early to late funding rounds and will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.
Established in 2018, Huff Capital (Rick Huff Family Office) is a Toronto, Canada-based single-family office managing the wealth of Rick Huff and his family. Huff is a serial investor who spent a significant amount of time leading the sales, marketing, and client relations teams at KUBRA, an IT service and consulting company providing management solutions to some of the largest utility and government entities across North America. Huff has also served as a board member for several companies, including WellnessLiving, FlipGive, and PathFactory. Huff Capital seeks to partner with private companies and entrepreneurs that are actively pursuing aggressive growth strategies. The firm brings entrepreneurial experience, relationships, marketing, and product backgrounds to the table.
Today, Huff Capital invests across multiple asset classes, including private equity, venture capital, and real estate via direct investments. The firm takes an agnostic approach to its deal sourcing, utilizing a global scale. Huff Capital has financed companies across the enterprise management systems and point-of-sale software industries. Other sectors of interest include restaurants, marketing, and e-commerce. The firm focuses on companies that impact and transform marketplaces while creating long-term and meaningful value. Huff Capital will co-invest alongside other LPs and family offices.
Huff Capital has made six direct investments in the software space. For example, in October 2016, the firm made a $13.2M Series B investment in TouchBistro, an Ontario, Canada-based software development company offering a restaurant management system with payment processing, online ordering, reservations, and more, to help make running a restaurant easier. Providing the most essential front-of-house, back-of-house, and guest engagement solutions in one solution, TouchBistro helps restaurateurs streamline their operations, allowing them to spend more time connecting with guests and growing their business. Founded in 2010, TouchBistro has powered more than 29,000 restaurants worldwide.
In June 2017, Huff Capital made a $12M Series A investment in Dispatch, a Boston, MA-based field service experience platform provider aiming to solve the communication gap between enterprise brands, 3rd-party contractors, and consumers. Dispatch powers modern service by connecting brands to an army of on-demand contractors, providing those contractors an intuitive platform to assign and manage jobs, and communicating service details to the customer via their mobile device. When coupled with a CRM or existing field service management software, Dispatch automatically synchronizes customer, performance, and job data between systems. Ultimately, Dispatch links the people, process, and data to create a service experience that empowers contractors and promotes a positive brand image for the enterprise.
In August 2017, Huff Capital made an $11M Series B investment in PathFactory, a software development company based in Ontario, Canada. PathFactory offers a B2B Content Intelligence Platform that removes friction from every stage of the customer lifecycle to accelerate revenue. Leading enterprise and mid-market companies use PathFactory to accelerate nurture, improve win rates, and understand content performance by delivering intelligent content experiences across the buyer journey. Huff Capital made a follow-on investment in November 2021.
In July 2019, Huff Capital made a $5M Series A investment in FlipGive, an Ontario, Canada-based company whose cashback app unlocks sales and shopper loyalty through community givebacks. Designed to help sports parents lower the cost to play, FlipGive shops from over 700 top brands. Cashback from groceries, gas, dining, gear, and travel help reduce player fees, ensuring no family has to choose between sports, budgets, and time. FlipGive is used by 400,000+ families across North America.
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June 15, 2022
Renae Hatcher is a member of the marketing team at FINTRX - focused on delivering targeted & relevant family office and registered investment advisor content to our subscribers.