Business

Florida-based family office eats up deals

A little-known family-backed investment group based in Florida is making its mark as a deal maker as it scoops up stakes in businesses across the US. 

Delray Beach-based CEAS Investments I, which describes itself as an: “investment vehicle within a single-family office”, has bought stakes in a host of businesses since it was set up seven years ago, but has especially picked up its dealmaking in the last six months. The SFO is linked to CEAS Investments appears to be Otter Inspirations, also based in Delray Beach. Mike Wohl is the CIO of both groups. 

Both groups are believed to be owned by Leslie Alexander, a billionaire entrepreneur and financier who previously owned the National Basketball Association side, the Houston Rockets. Alexander sold the Rockets three years ago for $2.2 billion – so he’s got a serious pot of money to invest. 

CEAS Investments certainly has the wherewithal to do deals across the venture scale from seed to growth capital. And last month, it participated in a Series C round for data group Fivetran, based in Oakland, California. 

CEAS Investments co-invested $100 million with venture heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Matrix Partners. So it’s willing to commit serious funds and invest with the best to participate in the tastiest of deals. 

But it’s also investing smaller amounts. A few weeks before the Fivetran deal, CEAS Investments seeded Austin-based warehouse management startup CognitOps. The deal was worth $3 million and three other investors participated. 

Altogether CEAS Investments has been involved in fourteen deals worth a total of $373 million (which includes other investor commitments) in the last 18 months. It has led three of these rounds.  

CEAS Investments says on its website that it has: “a very aggressive risk appetite.” The deals in the venture sector suggest it is living up to its profile. 

The investment group adds:  “We are patient and fair, long-term investors that maximize total return over liquidity or LP/GP constraints.”

CIO Mike Wohl is leading the investment charge at CEAS Investments. He has been linked to Otter Inspirations since leaving MIT with an MBA seven years ago, and was promoted to the CIO job in 2017. 

Wohl’s efforts at CEAS Investments and Otter suggest he will be a name to watch in the private investment world in the years ahead.

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