Investment

Illustrious UK family invest in analytics platform through their family office

Venture investing might be slowing down, but one of the UK’s most illustrious families through their family office has just invested in a deal worth more than $100 million. 

General Oriental Investments, a family office started by Sir James Goldsmith, has invested in Pyramid Analytics, which helps companies use data to improve their decisions.

Based in Geneva, General Oriental was founded by Sir James Goldsmith for the exclusive benefit of his family

Pyramid is backed by other investors with access to family office money. They include Maor Investments, backed by Rothschild & Co; US wealth adviser Kingfisher Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners. HIG Capital, another backer, was started by two billionaires, Sami Mnaymneh, former managing director at Blackstone and Tony Tamer, previously a partner at Bain & Co.

Pyramid has defied the gathering gloom in the VC market by raising $120 million in its latest funding round, $20 million ahead of target. According to analysts, data analytics remains a sweet spot for investors, as companies strive to stay ahead of the competition. 

Seattle-based Pyramid says it wants to become a next-generation supplier of data analytics via a single platform, helping executives reach faster, more intelligent, decisions. It is connected to Israel’s thriving technology sector and claims 97% satisfaction from clients ranging from Google to SAP. Its chief executive is serial entrepreneur Omri Kohl, who founded the company in 2009. 

Getting backing from General Oriental is a coup for Pyramid, Its only other recent deal, according to Crunchbase, was a 2018 investment in GenomiCare Biotechnology which targets cancer cures in China.

Based in Geneva, General Oriental was founded by Sir James Goldsmith for the exclusive benefit of his family. 

Goldsmith was a swashbuckling postwar financier who started out in the pharmaceuticals trade in 1953 by marketing a rheumatism remedy for his brother Teddy. 

He made his first fortune with Cavenham Foods, built through a series of acquisitions.

Wary of the UK’s economic boom, Goldsmith buckled down ahead of the slump of 1974. He sold his European food business and funded a series of ventures including an oil exploration and a luxury casino in London owned by John Aspinall. He became embroiled in a legal battle with satirical publication Private Eye and set out to develop a media business in France and the UK.

He pioneered bidding wars for flabby US corporations, with a view to breaking them up to produce profits and efficiencies. He was paid millions by some companies to go away. In 1989, he was involved in failed $13 billion consortium bid to unbundle UK-listed tobacco company BAT with Lord Jacob Rothschild and Kerry Packer.

Goldsmith was a renowned environmental campaigner, long before ESG shot to prominence. The JMG Foundation, co-led by his son Ben, continued to back environmental causes. Before his death in 1997,  he campaigned against the European Union bureaucracy,  nearly twenty years before the British finally voted to leave. 

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