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Where are all the billionaire next gens? Running venture funds and doing lots of deals

Scions of very rich families think venture is where the action is when it comes to the business world. And many of them are setting up venture funds to mix in arguably the most glamorous part of the business world. They see venture and the digital economy as the future for business and their backing their hunch with family money as well as funds from other investors who believe they’ve got a good investment story to tell. Who would bet against them? 

Below is a list of the most prominent 

C Ventures – Adrian Cheng

Hong Kong-based C Ventures is owned by Adrian Cheng, the eldest son of Henry Cheng, a Hong Kong real estate billionaire and chairman of New World Development. Adrian, 40, set up C Ventures in 2017 with an eye on building a portfolio of consumer-focused and venture businesses, aimed at Millennial and Generation Z consumers, particularly in the greater China region. But its investments have been global across the US, China, and Europe. 

C Ventures has certainly been busy in the last year, participating in 21 venture rounds, and leading 14 of them. Last month, C Ventures invested in Agile Robots, a German-based robotics/AI maker. Adrian said he wants to build the Estée Lauder of Asia, but judging by C Ventures investments his ambitions might even be greater. 

HOF Capital – Onsi Sawiris

HOF Capital was set up in New York City five years ago by Onsi Sawiris, the son of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, and two other Egyptian expatriate next gens, Hisham Elhaddad and Fady Yacoub. It has been pretty busy in 2020, investing in four companies, including most recently ASAPP, an artificial intelligence customer service platform. Naguib Sawiris is an advisor to HOF and the venture group says it has more than 70 family and institutional investors in its funds. 

Holt Ventures  – Peter Holt and Corinna Richter Holt

Holt Ventures is the venture arm of Holt Cat, the biggest Caterpillar dealer in the US, but given its 100% owned by the Holt family, it’s effective a family venture group. It’s run by two members – Peter Holt and Corinna Richter Holt – of the fifth generation of Holt family business, which goes back to Benjamin Holt, the investor of the Caterpillar tractor. 

Founded in 2016, Holt Ventures has been pretty active in the venture sector including backing two rounds this year, one of which was ZAF Energy Systems, which is developing cutting edge, environmentally friendly battery technology.

Koch Disruptive Technologies – Chase Koch

Venture group Koch Disruptive Technologies was set up in November 2017 by Chase Koch, the son Charles Koch, and some say the heir apparent at the huge privately controlled Koch Industries. Chase and KDT have established themselves pretty quickly as a powerful player in the venture world. Already this year KDT has led three investment rounds worth $200 million, including its most recent, a Series A round worth $30 million into Beyond Identity, which is developing passwordless security systems. 

La Famiglia (The Family)

Munich-based venture group La Famiglia wasn’t set up by a next gen from a billionaire family dynasty, but it has many next gen members of European family dynasties as limited partners in its funds. Founded by Jeannette zu Fürstenberg and Robert Lacher in 2016, La Famiglia is backed by next-gen members from the families behind the giant appliance maker Miele; members of the Siemens family, the Viessmann family, who own the eponymous German business, the family behind the Austrian luxury group Swarovski, and family members of the owners of the Belgian chemical group, Solvay. La Famiglia has been pretty active in the venture sector, backing around 35 rounds in a host of startups in Europea and the US.  

Max Ventures – Sophie and Max Stenbeck 

New York City-based Max Ventures was set up by siblings Sophie and Max Stenbeck, scions of one of Sweden’s best-known investment dynasties. Founded in 2013 and named after Max, the venture fund continues to thrive despite the untimely death of Max in 2015. In fact, Max Ventures has already participated in three investment rounds this year and altogether has participated in 40 rounds since it was founded. A great legacy for its deceased co-founder. 

Peak Capital – Heleen Dura-van Oord  

Heleen Dura-van Oord is a well-known businesswoman in the Netherlands, having one various award for her entrepreneurial efforts. But she’s also a member of the van Oord family, who control the eponymous huge dredging and land reclamation company. Heleen co-founded Peak Capital in 2007, which has become a big investor in mainly local venture firms.  Earlier this month Peak Capital led a €2.5 million investment in German-based GraphCMS, a content management startup. Altogether, Peak has participated in 27 funding rounds since it was set up.

Prelude Ventures – Nat Simon

Set up in 2011, Prelude Ventures is a cleantech/impact-focused venture group owned by Nat Simon, the son of Jim Simon, the founder of hedge fund behemoth Renaissance Technologies. Prelude has been a prominent investor in cleantech, agri-tech and more. It’s participated in more than 50 investment rounds in the last 10 years including five rounds already this year. It’s latest investment was in a Series C round worth $100 million for PivotBio, which is developing microbiome technology for game-changing advances in crop nutrition.  

Rhodium – Daniel Recanati 

Daniel Recanati is the son of prominent Isreal-based investor and entrepreneur Leon Recanati, and Daniel’s sister is married to New York-based billionaire investor Thomas Kaplan. Rhodium was set up in 1999 and has since invested in startups in mostly the US and Israel. Its most recent investment was in LitiGate, an AI-powered litigation platform. 

 

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