BITKRAFT Ventures raised €139.5M for their new Venture Fund I, focused on gaming, esports as well as interactive media. Among the investors are three important single family offices from Bruce Karsh, David M. Rubenstein and Jonathan Soros.

BITKRAFT Ventures: Leading esports venture capital fund

The San Francisco-based venture capital fund BITKRAFT was founded by veterans of the gaming industry. General Partner Jens Hilgers is the co-founder of the esports league ESL, Malte Barth has more than 20 years experience in executive roles in the media and gaming industry, Scott Rupp has more than 20 years of experience at Modern Times Group, McKinsey or Carlyle. BITKRAFT focuses on funding of Seed and Series A investments. A special focus is on game studios, gaming platforms and “immersive technology”. The main thesis of the fund is that physical and digitial worlds converge – and BITKRAFT is with its investments amid the changing media, gaming and esports environment. Portfolio companies include Askott Entertainment, EPIC Game, Koji or Manticore Games.

Major US single family offices invest in new €139.5M gaming fund

Now, €139.5M were raised for the new Venture Fund I. The round was significantly oversubscribed: the nitial target for the raise was at €105.8M. Besides corporate investors as Adidas or Logitech, also three different major single family offices invested in the round. Bruce Karsh’s single family office, Carolwood Capital Management LLC, was one of the investors. Karsh is a billionaire and founder of Oaktree Capital Management. Another single family office investor is Declaration Partners, the single family office of David M. Rubenstein. Rubenstein is one of the co-founders of private equity giant Carlyle – and also a billionaire. Also, the family office of Jonathan Soros participated in the round.

Source: EU Startups, 30.08.2020
Picture Source: SCREEN POST

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The fundamental objective of (multi) family offices is to hold and increase wealth. Depending on risk aversion, desired margins and area of interest, there are a variety of investment opportunities. A large part of the private equity business is venture capital: temporary equity investments in young companies, mostly in the growth segment. Especially when investing in start-ups, venture capital investors not only invest, but often also provide advice. In the following, three Swiss multi-family offices that invest in start-ups and venture capital are presented. This article is based on the unique List of the 150 largest Multi Family Offices in Switzerland.

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Wille Finance AG

Wille Finance AG has entrepreneurship in its blood right from the start: in 2007 a group of founders and their families and friends founded the AG. Entrepreneurship is one of the three pillars on which the philosophy is built: trust, long-term thinking and entrepreneurship. The family office, based in Zurich and Baar, now has 18 employees and 28 portfolio companies. Early stage investments focus on Europe and life sciences as well as information and communication technology.

Winterberg Group AG

Winterberg Group AG was founded in 2011 by investment and strategy consultants. Meanwhile, the Multi Family Office has offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Moscow and Johannesburg, with the head office in Zug. The AG has two investment strategies: majority investments in medium-sized companies and growth capital for start-ups. The company invests primarily in seed/series A financing rounds and places particular emphasis on exponential growth for portfolio companies. Geographically, the family office focuses on the USA, Europe and South Africa. Its sectoral preference is broadly diversified: Transport & Mobility, Internet of Things, Health and Fitness and Cyber Security are four of the total six sectors.

General Invest (Switzerland) AG

Mikro Kapital, which belongs to General Invest (Switzerland) AG, was founded in 2008 and focuses on impact investing and social responsibility. The company, which is represented in 15 countries, employs over 1700 people* with its portfolio companies and has 131 offices. The investments are made in Russia and along the Silk Road, always with the prerequisite that the respective micro-enterprises/start-ups have a high growth potential and a strong social orientation and impact.
Source: Listenchampion

Picture source: Unsplash

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Apheris, a deep tech company from Berlin, Germany, has raised €2.5M in an investment round. One of the investors is Dig Ventures, the UK single family office of Mule Soft founder Ross Mason.

Building a data privacy ecosystem for data scientists

Apheris is working on fundamental technology for privacy-preserving data access. The Berlin-based startup has a strong research focus: 60% of the employees have a technical PhD who produced more than 65 publications. The main product of apheris is a platform that enables data sharing, while upholding privcay of the users. The startup’s privacy engine is based on federated machine learning and state-of-the-art crytopgraphy. Through Apheris solution, data scientists can access third-party private data for their machine learning models, without compromising the used data. Some underlying technologies of the company’s solution are multiparty computation, differential privacy, record linkage and homomorphic encryption. The company was launched by Robin Röhm and Michael Höh in January 2019, the product was released in September 2019.

Ross Mason Single Family Office invests in Apheris

Now, the tech company raised €2.5M for its further growth. The round was led by seed investor LocalGlobe. Other investors include Patrick Pichette (former Google CFO) and Dig Ventures, the single family office of Ross Mason. Ross Mason founded MuleSoft in 2006, a software company working on SaaS integration solutions. The company filed for an IPO in 2017 and was acquired in 2018 by Salesforce for €6.5BN. Through his family office Dig Ventures, Mason invests in Pre-Seed and Seed-Stage B2B SaaS companies. Mason comments the investment in the Berlin startup with: “Enterprises are sitting on treasure troves of data that cannot be leveraged because it’s been an impossible task to open up data to third-party companies without losing data or diminishing its value.” Other portfolio companies of Mason’s single family office include Comply Advantage, Rasa or Dig Ventures’ most succesful exit was ride hailing company Lyft.

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Source: PrivateEquityWire, 24.08.2020
Picture Source: Jaanus Jagomägi

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Felton Group LLC, the single family office of Jaffray Woodriff, led Trilogy Mentors $1.1M seed funding round. Trilogy Mentors is a SaaS technology platform for tutors and education from Richmond (Virginia).

Seed Funding Round by Woodriff Single Family Office For Further Growth

The capital raise will be used for further development of the platform and marketing. In combination with the funding round, Trilogy Mentors also started a strategic partnership with Tuscany Strategy Consulting. So far,Trilogy was already used for more than 10,000 learning sessions. Woodriff – whose family office led the funding round – is a successful hedge fund manager who co-founded the multi-billion hedge fund Quantitative Investment Management. Woodriff is an active startup investor in software-based startups, especially in his home state Virginia. Familyofficehub already reported about his $2.3M investment in Yogi.

Source: Finsmes, 30.07.2020
Picture Source:  Element5 Digital

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PharmEnable is a drug discovery startup from Cambridge that is focused on finding complex candidate molecules for drug development. Now, the startup raised its seed financing round. The funding round was heavily oversubscribed. One of the ivnestors: Paul Forster, the co-founder of Other investors include Cambridge Enterprise (who led the round), Jonathan Milner or David Ford. PharmEnables technology predict small molecules that might be suitable for various disease areas. Dr Christine Martin of Cambridge Enterprise commented the investment with: “Cambridge Enterprise is really pleased to be investing in this exciting opportunity. To have closed the round during these last few months, and to have attracted such a strong investor syndicate, is a testament to the potential of the AI-enabled platform that PharmEnable has built. We are pleased to support the company in its transition to in-house drug discovery. We believe it will have significant impact through addressing undruggable therapeutic targets.”

Paul Forster Family Office as angel investor

Paul Forster launched Indeed in 2004. The portal was acquired by Recruit Holdings in 2012. Since then, Forster (and his family office) is an active startups investors. His investments are mainly focused on the tech space. Portfolio companies include Personio, Sano Genetics or Speechmatics.

Source: Cambridgenetwork, 30.06.2020
Picture Source: Jean-Luc Benazet

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Dresden-based robotics startup Wandelbots closed its €26M Series B financing round. One of the investors is the Haniel family office from Duisburg.

No-Code robotics for the industry

Wandelbots is working on „no code robotics solutions“. Through a so-called „Trace Pen“ and an intuitive app, customers can teach robots for their purposes without any required coding skills. The Wandelbots software platform works with several robotics programming languages and types of robots. Wandelbots enables customers to work with robots in just a few minutes – which decreases programming costs tenfold.

Market Launch supported by Series B – and Duisburg Family Office

Now, Wandelbots is working on the market launch of its „Trace Pen“. The concept convinced several investors: Microsoft’s venture capital firm M12 or the London-based venture capital fund 83 North. One of the German investors (besides Paua Ventures and EQT Ventures) is the Haniel Family Office from Duisburg. Daniel is a family equity company with more than €4BN in revenues and almost 20,000 employees. Wandelbots is one of the few startup investments of Handel; other investments include ELG, CWS or BekaertDeslee. The company is also holding 22.7% of German consumer electronics retail firm CECONOMY.

Picture Source: Franck V.
Source: Juve, 29.06.2020

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LA ROCA Capital, the single family office of insurance entrepreneur Kersten Jodexnis, is one of the investors of Gapless‘ most recent €5.5M funding round.

Blockchain-based all-in-one car app

Gapless is a German blockchain startup working on a blockchain-based all in one app for vehicles. Through Gapless’ app, users can get an overview of the history of their car. The app enables users to manage cars, to track costs and to get notifications for due maintenance works. Gapless was founded by Jan Karnath, Andreas Joebges and Malte Häusler in 2018 in Berlin. Legally, Gapless is a brand of the New Horizon GmbH.

Funding by the family office of Kersten Jodexnis and other investors

Now, Gapless received a €5.5M funding round to further accelerate its growth. Investors include luxury carmaker Porsche and LA ROCA Capital, the Jodexnis family office. The FinLab EOS VC Fund acts as the lead investor (a joint venture of FinLab and Block.One). Kersten Jodexnis is a German insurance entrepreneur who led the JODEXNIS Versicherungsmakler GmbH and is the majority shareholder of the Wertgarantie AG (more than 600 employees, 240 millions of yearly revenues). The LA ROCA family office is an active investor in the startup universe, investments include simplesurance, UniversalQuantum, or Mountain Partners. The Jodexnis family office also had various successful exits in the past, like JimDrive or Horse Analytics.

Dgap, 30.04.2020
Erik Mclean, 30.04.2020

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Inpera is a Berlin-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup working on automated sourcing solutions for the building industry. Now, Inpera received a Seed-II investment round for the further development of its product. One of the investors is the German family office Eisbaer Capital.

Software for sourcing in the building industry

The startup from Berlin simplifies the tendering and procurement process in the building industry. Through Inpera’s cloud solution, procurement requests can be easily sent and transparently compared. The whole procurement process of materials and services moves from Excel sheets to the cloud. Inpera is listed on Builtworlds ConTech GlobalTop 100 Map.

Family office invests in Seed-II round

The Berlin-based startup managed to convince several experienced investors from the industry for its Seed-II round: proptech focused venture capital fund PropTech1 Ventures, Vito ONE, an investment vehicle of the building conglomerate Martin Meier, Alexcander Meier (the former Commercial Director of Holcim) – and the German family office Eisbaer Capital.

PropTech1 Ventures, 08.04.2020
Jonas Tebbe, 08.04.2020

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This week, European venture capital firm Lakestar announced the closing of its most recent fund. The fund now officially closed with a size of  $735M. One of the investors is – allegedly – the single family office of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

Lakestar as leading European venture capital investor

Lakestar was founded by Klaus Hommels in 2012. The venture capital firm is one of the most successful European startup investors. Hommels was an early backer of tech firms like Facebook or Skype. Investments of Lakestar include Spotify, Oscar, GetYourGuide or SoFi. Through the new fund, Lakestar is gearing up for the heavily increasing volumes of funding rounds in Europe. A third of the fund will be invested in early-stage ventures, the rest in later rounds of growing startups.

Jack Ma Family Office as an investor in venture capital funds

The largest part of the $735M fund is contributed by Singapore’s national investment fund Temasek. Allegedly, other major investors include the European Investment Fund, German chemical company Henkel and Jack Ma’s family office.  Jack Ma is the founder and former CEO of Alibaba, one of the world’s most successful internet and e-commerce companies.  Ma’s net worth is estimated at $42.5BN. Jack Ma is an active investor in the startup sphere, through third-party funds like Lakestar, as well as through direct investment. Through his family office Blue Pool Capital, which he runs together with Joe Tsai, he invested $20M in “Rent the Runway” in 2018. Besides that, Ma donates to various philanthropic causes.

Techcrunch, 01.03.2020
Gründerszene, 01.03.2020
Wikipedia, 01.03.2020
Bady Qb, 01.03.2020

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Seattle-based yogurt brand Ellenos received an investment from Daniel Lubetzky’s single family office Equilibra Partners Management. Lubetzky is an American billionaire, mainly known for founding the popular snack brand Kind LLC.

Ellenos: Seattle-based yogurt manufacturer

Ellenos was launched by the Klein and Apostolopoulos families in 2013. The Seattle-based firm started as a scooped yogurt bar in Pike Place Market. Since 2016, the brand launched selling its yogurt in retail grocery stores. Ellenos developed to one of the fastest-growing yogurt brands. At the core of Ellenos is the family’s secret recipe which is based on a proprietary five-day process and the use of blended yogurt cultures.

Lubetzky Single Family Office as second private equity investor

Now, Ellenos’ received its second private equity financing through Daniel Lubetzky’s family office Equilibra Partners Management. In 2018, the LA-based private equity fund Monogram Capital Partners already invested in Ellenos. Lubetzky is an industry professional as well: In 2004, he founded the snack bar company KIND LLC. KIND reached sales in the amount of $1M already in the first year of operations. In 2008, KIND (like Ellenos) received an investment from private equity firm VMG Partners. In 2014, the company already sold more than 450 million snack bars. Forbes values Lubetzky’s stake in KIND at $1.5BN. Lubetzky’s private equity focused family office is an experienced investor in the food sector. Another investment of Equilibra is Justin’s (almond butter) which was sold to Hormel for $286M.

Wikipedia, 29.02.2020
Yahoo Finance, 29.02.2020

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