News in Brief: Family office backs family-business targeted fund; Family businesses optimistic about post-pandemic growth


Billionaires back Michigan fund

Continuum Ventures, the family office of Doug and Maria DeVos, has partnered with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based private equity group Auxo Investment Partners, to launch a fund to invest in local family-owned companies. 

The Michigan Opportunity Fund will back family-owned companies whose owners are ready to retire and lack the next generation to take over, according to local reports. The fund has also attracted funding from the auto racing billionaire Roger Penske and other prominent local business people. 

Auxo, which launched in 2016, says it wants to pursue a long-term strategy with its investments and has targetted family offices as limited partners, as Family Capital wrote about when it was launched. 

Family businesses confident about their post-pandemic position, research

Family businesses believe they are in a good position to take advantage of the post-pandemic economy, according to a report from Boston-based BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors. 

The research found that 80% of respondents report overall optimism about the future of their businesses, with 68% citing more efficient operations, 60% new business opportunities, and 56% more efficient decision-making processes.

“We will see family businesses emerge from this pandemic with loyal workforces, more efficient systems, and new opportunities to explore,” said BanyanGlobal co-founder and partner Josh Baron. “Family businesses could be surprisingly strong coming out of the pandemic.”

But the research also found that family relationships within these businesses are more complicated, with 33% of respondents reporting a negative impact on relationships. ”

Rob Lachenauer, co-founder and CEO of BanyanGlobal, said families can rise above these relationship difficulties if they are willing to work together through challenging times.

“Family business is a team sport. You win together or you can lose together,” he said. 

The research contains data from more than 140 companies, from around the world, and from more than 25 industries.

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