Investment

Why are some of Europe’s top family dynasties seeding a small startup?

Capital sometimes moves in mysterious ways like this recent investment in a little known Berlin startup by some of the wealthiest families in Europe. But there’s a method in the seeming madness of the deal – these families don’t back losers.

The families involved are two German multi-billionaire dynasties: the Haubs (they invested through Tengelmann Social Ventures)  and the Henkel/Bagel-Trahs (they invested through the family business, Henkel). Then there is a third backer – a mysterious Luxmboug investment group called Fynveur. 

Through US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Fynveur looks connected to another Luxembourg group, Artal Group – the two share the same address. 

Artal is an investment group owned by the Wittouck and Lunt families. Eric Wittouck, Belgian’s wealthiest individual, is its chairman. The Wittouck family’s wealth goes back many years and is associated with sugar processing and, more latterly, shrewd investments. 

Eric took the family’s wealth to another level with the hugely successful New York City-based investment group Invus, of which he is the majority shareholder. Larry Lunt, who sits on the board of Artal is the son of Lawerence Lunt, who is married to Béatrice Wittouck, part of the Wittouck clan, although what relation she is to Eric Wittouck isn’t clear. 

Anyway, these dynasties are all investors in startup Hashtag You, which builds lifestyle brands in the direct-to-consumer e-commerce space. Under #You, the startup says it aims to build the next generation of social media brands by leveraging its expertise in influencer marketing. 

Its business model is a classic next-generation e-commerce platform, which its backers believe could make Hashtag You a big e-commerce/lifestyle brand business in Europe and beyond. 

In some ways, the Hashtag You is very similar to a deal Family Capital wrote about earlier this week in as much as it represents old money backing new ventures. In the case of this early deal, successful London and New York City-based financiers, through their family offices/private equity firms, have backed a very next generation startup in a burgeoning next gen-orientated sector, esports. 

In the meantime, keep an eye on Hashtag You – to gain the attention of the above families, suggest it might be onto something big. 

 

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