N&Q: Family office deals; appointments...

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Family office deals

Willett Advisors, the family office of Michael Bloomberg, has invested in a biotech company called Finch Therapeutics Group. Willett invested in a Series B funding round worth $36 million with three other investors, including another private investment group called Shumway Capital.

Emerald Investment Partners, a family office set up by Alan McIntosh, the co-founder of the UK-based Punch Taverns, has bought up £140 million of debts in the secondary market of outsourcing group Interserve, according to UK press reports. The recent collapse of UK facilities management and construction group Carillion has left Interserve exposed to high levels of debt.  

Vigeo Investments, a US family office, has invested in an Alabama-based group called Pinnacle Manufacturing. Vigeo co-invested with private equity group, Turning Basin Capital. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

Blue Haven Initiative, a family office set up by Liesel Pritzker Simmons and her husband Ian Simmons and committed to impact investing, has helped seed a news site called NewsGuard. The startup says it will: “address the fake news crisis by hiring dozens of trained journalists as analysts to review the 7,500 news and information websites most accessed and shared in the United States.” Blue Haven along with 17 other investors seeded the startup with $6 million.

Dolby Family Ventures, a family investment group, has helped to fund an artificial intelligence startup called Atomwise. Dolby, which was set up by the family of Ray Dolby, the inventor of the noise reduction system known as Dolby, participated in a Series A round worth $45 million with eight other investors.

Reports in India say Wipro chairman Azim Premji is merging his family investment office PremjiInvest with philanthropic unit Azim Premji Trust.



Melinda Barber, a managing director at Harvard University’s investment arm, is leaving to join Pilot House Associates, the family office of US billionaire Amos B. Hostetter Jr, according to various reports. Barber isn’t the first university investment specialist to leave and join a family office. Kristin Gilbertson was an investment specialist for a number of university endowments before joining Access Industries, the investment office of billionaire Len Blavatnik.