The world of family and private investment offices is a very patriarchal one. Out of the 750-plus on Family Capital’s database, only 20 are owned outright by women. There are around 30 that are held by a husband and wife teams, but women-owned family offices are a rarity.
Interestingly, many of the 20 listed below have an impact/sustainability focus when it comes to investing. Perhaps women-controlled family offices see these issues as more of a priority. As women play an increasing role in the economies of the world, many more women-owned investment offices will be set up. They will, no doubt, look at the ones below as pathfinders.
Owner: Diane Isenberg
Based in London with offices in New York and San Francisco, Ceniarth describes itself as “a single-family office focused on funding market-based solutions that benefit underserved communities”. Its principal is Diane Isenberg, whose father, Eugene Isenberg, was an investor and manager of a company called Nabors Industries, which he built to be one of the biggest makers of gas and petroleum drilling machinery in the world. Ceniarth investments include a number of clean energy groups, including the Tanzania-based Off Grid Electric group and UK-based Bboxx Solar.
Owner: Laurene Powell Jobs
Set up and run by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective is a social change investment group, centred on work on education, immigration reform, the environment, health, and other social justice initiatives. Emerson Collective says it uses philanthropy, impact investing, advocacy, and community engagement as tools for change.
It has invested in a broad cross-section of investments, mostly in sustainable and impact focused companies and groups, including Aclima (a group involved in delivering hyperlocal air quality data and insights to improve human and planetary health); Panorama Education(a data group for school districts across the US); Angaza (a technology platform that allows manufacturers and distributors to make energy products affordable to one billion off-grid consumers); MycoTechnology (a company using fungi based food-processing platforms to transform the flavor and value of agricultural products).
Freelands Ventures/Freelands Family Investment Group
Owner: Elisabeth Murdoch
Elisabeth, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch, set up Freelands Ventures/Freelands Family Investment Group in London in 2014. Based in a Mayfair, London townhouse, Freelands is connected to an active foundation, which, among other things, gives an annual award to a creative arts-led initiative in the UK. Freelands Ventures has been pretty active in the venture sector, investing in a virtual reality media group called WITHIN in 2016, as well as other groups.
Howard de Walden Estates Holdings
Ownership: Camilla Anne Bronwen Acloque, Blanche Susan Fionudbhar Buchan, Mary Hazel Caridwen, or Lady Howard de Walden, and Jessica Jane Vronwy White
A London-based real estate property investment and holding group, Howard de Walden Estates Holdings is owned by the heirs to the Howard de Walden estate, one of the biggest in London. The heirs are Camilla Anne Bronwen Acloque, Blanche Susan Fionudbhar Buchan, Mary Hazel Caridwen, or Lady Howard de Walden, and Jessica Jane Vronwy White. They are the four daughters of John Osmael Scott-Ellis, the 9th Baron Howard de Walden. The family’s wealth is pretty much all linked to prime central London property.
Keller Enterprise – set up in 1998 by Caroline Murphy Keller Winter and now chaired by her daughter, Elisabeth Keller – combines venture investing with a significant commitment to philanthropy and impact investing.
The investment group is also involved in a number of venture philanthropy/impact investing initiatives including the Good Food Project based in Louisiana. Keller Enterprises, which runs its ventures and investing arm from Charlottesville, has also backed some environmental groups, including a clean energy group called Apex and a recycling startup called TerraCycle. Here’s an interesting investment Keller made recently.
Owned: Gunhild Kirk Johansen
Kirk Kapital was set up in 2007 and oversees the assets of Lego heiress Gunhild Kirk Johansen and her family. It is probably best-known for is headquarters – Fjordenhus, in the Danish city of Vejle, which was designed by one of the world’s most acclaimed artists, Olafur Eliasson. The building, which comprises four intersecting cylinders and rises to a height of over 90 feet, is built in Vejle’s harbour with a bridge linking it to the mainland.
Kirk Johansen is the sister of Lego’s principal owner, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. Kirk Kapital manages around $1.2 billion. It has investments in Denmark and Sweden, and these include Alliance+, FMD, Kompan, PNO, Tacton, Globeteam, TPS Rental Systems, Beck Pack, Exxit 59 and KIRK Aviation.
Ownership: Alicia Koplowitz
Omega Capital is the investment office of Alicia Koplowitz, a Spanish heiress who inherited with her sister one of Spain’s biggest construction businesses, Construcciones y Contratas. Omega does most of its investments indirectly, and, according to Spanish media reports, is responsible for some €950 million of assets in third-party funds, of which €400 million is invested in hedge funds.
Owner: Oprah Winfrey
OW Management manages the investments of one of America’s most famous personalities, Oprah Winfrey. The Los Angeles-based investment office gained some notoriety back in 2010 when it poached Peter Adamson from Eli Board Family Office to be OW’s chief investment officer. Adamson has since left, and that job has passed to Renata Erlikhman. Investments have included True Food Kitchen and Waywire – an online community: “focused on social inspiration, leading voices, and syndicated and community-created video content.”
PSP Capital Partners
Ownership: Penny Pritzker
PSP Capital Partners is the family office of Penny Pritzker, who served as US Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Based in Chicago, PSP Capital Partners looks to take long-term stakes in private businesses and property. It has made direct investments in Icertis, a contract management platform, and Measure, a drone technology company.
Ownership: Corinne Danièle Goddijn-Vigreux
Rinkelberg Capital is the London-based investment office of Corinne Vigreux who co-founded of the Dutch consumer electronics company TomTom. One of its main investments has been in the Swedish music streaming company, Spotify.
Owner: Annie Chen
Founded in 2008, Hong Kong-based RS Group is owned by Annie Chen, who is the daughter of Tseng Tao Chen, one of the founders of property group Hang Lung Group. It has a big focused on sustainable investing. Invests indirectly through SJF Ventures III, a private equity fund which focuses on the resource efficiency, sustainability and technology-enhanced services sectors in the US and Social Ventures Hong Kong, a philanthropic venture fund designed to improve social outcomes in Hong Kong.
Ownership: Ruthi Wertheimer
7-Main/7-Industries Holding is the Israel and Amsterdam-based private investment group of Ruthi Wertheimer, who is the daughter of billionaire industrialist Seth Wertheimer. The investment group has directly invested in a number of venture-type businesses, including Synapticon, a German-based robotics company.
Silver Fox Partners
Ownership: Anne Mulcahy
Silver Fox Partners was set up by Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox in 2017. Based in New York City, Silver Fox looks mostly to do direct investments, taking minority and majority stakes in privately controlled businesses. It bought an undisclosed amount in Denver-based Renegade Brewing Company in 2016.
Ownership: Susanne Klatten
SKion is the private investment group of Susanne Klatten, Germany’s richest woman. SKion likes direct investments and last year made one of its biggest when it invested $300 million in Landa Digital Printing, an Israel-based company developing a digital technology called nanography for commercial printing, packaging and publishing sectors.
Based in Bad Homburg, a wealthy town just north of Frankfurt, SKion is one of Germany’s most active family offices. Beyond its 100% ownership of Altana, many other of SKion’s investments have a sustainable aspect to them and include a 28% stake in SGL Carbon, shares in wind energy group Nordex and recycling oil group Avista Oil. It also owns stakes in several companies specialising in wastewater treatment.
Owner: Brigitte Mohn
Sunrise is a Munich-based investment group set up by Brigitte Mohn, a member of the family behind the German media group Bertelsmann. Sunrise has invested in the London-based Social Stock Exchange among other impact-focused investments. Mohn is a big advocate of impact investing and has worked with other impact/family office groups on a number of initiatives, including an impact investing group called Econnoa.
Ownership: Jennifer Pritzker
The private investment office of Jennifer Pritzker, the former colonel in the US army who announced her transgender from James to Jennifer in 2013. Tawani does a lot of impact-led investments linked to the redevelopment of property in Chicago.
The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO)
Ownership: Radha Kapoor Khanna, Raakhe Kapoor Tandon, and Roshini Kapoor
Three Sisters was set up in 2013 by Radha Kapoor Khanna, the eldest daughter of Rana Kapoor, a prominent Indian-based billionaire banker. It is owned by Radha and her two sisters, Raakhe and Roshini. Investments have included Awfis, India’s largest co-working space group.
Ownership: Ina Chan
Based in Hong Kong, UNIR is the investment office of Ina Chan, the third wife of Stanley Ho, the most prominent Hong Kong-based gambling tycoon. UNIR owns around 10% of the casino and hotel business Macau Legend. It also owns the helicopter service that connects Hong Kong with Macau.
Ownership: Jody Allen
Set up by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, Vulcan’s ownership was passed to Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, after his death last year. Vulcan is one of the biggest private investment groups in the world and has extensive holdings in numerous listed and private businesses, as well as real estate. Its subsidiaries include Vulcan Capital, which handles investments in public and private markets, and Vulcan Real Estate, which deals with investments in commercial and residential real estate.
Ownership: Sherry Brydson
Based in Victoria, Canada, Westerkirk Capital is the private investment office of Sherry Brydson, who is one of the biggest shareholders in Woodbridge, an investment firm that controls Thomson Reuters. Westerkirk does mostly direct investments, and its portfolio includes Canadian companies: Demers Ambulances, Viking Air, Vista Broadcast Group, Haliburton Broadcasting Group.
Ownership: Yajan Wu
Wu Capital is the Beijing-based family office of Yajan Wu, a prominent real estate developer. Founded in 2013, Wu Capital has been an active direct investor, which has a significant portfolio of businesses concentrated in healthcare, fintech, media, and AI/robotics. In 2017, Wu Capital recruited Hannah Chan, a top Harvard trained medical specialist, to lead its investments in the US. Investments include: Cloud Angel Fund, China Broadband Capital, Sequoia China, Northern Light Venture Capitaland GSR Venture, Xingshulin, Xiaohongchun, Babytree, Ivybaby, AirWheel, 100Credit, and Horizon Robotics.