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Investment office of the year – and four honourable mentions

Moore Strategic Ventures, Louis Bacon’s venture investing group, is Family Capital’s Investment Office of the Year. 

The New York City-based group has quietly been going about building a portfolio of some of the most innovative businesses anywhere. 

Most notably, MSV has backed what Family Capital reckons is one of the most innovative new businesses, Commonwealth Fusion Systems. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based business has moved closer than any energy group to making fusion commercially viable. If Commonwealth succeeds, it will offer the world a safe and feasible way to deal with the ever-pressing issue of climate change. And backing from MSV might be a massive part of that game-changing technology. 

MSV-backed Commonwealth early, in a Series A round two and half years ago and has remained committed in a recent Series B round with many other investors worth a total of $1.8 billion. The sums of money spent on making fusion a commercial reality are enormous and Commonwealth is now attracting serious institutional money like Temasek Holdings and Google. But Bacon’s MSV remains committed. 

MSV hasn’t stopped there, backing other innovative businesses like Sierra Space, making space infrastructure like reusable rockets, and Ample, a modular battery maker for EVs. 

Bacon’s investment group doesn’t just invest in US-based startups and growth companies, but also likes India, investing in fintech and automotive platforms, among other businesses. Altogether MSV backed more than 30 startups and growth-orientated companies in 2021, making it one of the most active private investment groups in the venture world. 

Another aspect of MSV’s success is how Louis Bacon has used it as a vehicle to reinvent himself as a prominent force in venture from his previous reputation as being one of the world’s most famous hedge fund managers. 

Of course, others are doing this like George Soros, through his private investment group Soros Fund Management, and Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, but unlike the latter, MSV doesn’t raise funds. And unlike Soros, Bacon and MSV remain much more discreet. 

Other honourable mentions

DMGT (Daily Mail & General Trust) 

With its decision to de-list from the London Stock Exchange, DMGT is morphing into a family-owned holding and investment group – and doing it very well. 

Owned by Jonathan Harmsworth, or to give him his aristocratic title, the 4th Viscount Rothermere, DMGT is a wise investor and not just in media businesses. Family Capital’s editor profiled the group in July and pointed out that DMGT would be worth a lot more money if based in Silicon Valley. Let’s not forget the group also owns the most read English language news website globally, MailOnline. 

Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann

The German pharmaceutical multi-billionaire brothers are among the most cashed-up investors anywhere, given their spectacular success with BioNTech. The biggest single shareholders in the biotech group that benefited from the surge in demand for vaccines to fight COVI-19, the Strüngmann brothers are using their family office Athos and other linked investment groups to channel their growing fortune. Although continuing to invest in biotech groups, perhaps the most exciting aspect of their investment strategy in the last year is the brothers’ real estate acquisitions, as portrayed by Family Capital here and here

Koch Disruptive Technologies

Chase Koch is arguably the most successful next-gen member of a family business dynasty operating in the venture world today. The venture investment office he founded – Koch Disruptive Technologies – Case has built an impressive portfolio of businesses very quickly. KDT mostly leads its investment rounds in later-stage growth businesses, suggesting that Koch Disruptive takes big stakes in the companies it backs – and signs big cheques for them. Many of these stakes are in firms at the forefront of innovation, including quantum computing and cutting edge biotech groups. 

Scott Farquhar’s Skip Capital and Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures

Founders of the huge software group Atlassian, the two wealthiest Australians, use their investment offices to actively back venture groups. Farquhar’s Skip Capital and Cannon-Brookes’s Grok Ventures often invest together. And together they are among the most active private investment groups in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Last Year’s Winner: Horizons Ventures

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