UAE family offices advices by Obediah Ayton? Following the Unite Monaco event organized by the Private Investment Group, earlier this month, which gathered high-level public sector figures and private families from the UAE and Monaco, Wealth Monaco caught up with Obediah Ayton, Chief Operating Officer of the Private Investment Group. What is the Private Investment Group mission and process? We have acted for the last three years as an international gateway into the GCC region which is very much open for business and has consistently been the biggest allocators of capital despite the global pandemic. We have established built relationships with the public and private sector within the GCC with a focus on supporting International business, businesses that seek access to the region through a joint ventures and partnership for the distribution and licensing of products and services but also attracting investment both indirect and directly.
Companies currently raising rounds of venture investment are inevitably learning some hard truths. Primarily, VC dollars aren’t as readily available as they were in previous years due to COVID, and for the companies that are receiving funding, they’re finding that the terms are becoming increasingly less palatable. The good news for startups looking for funding is that a new pathway for direct investment is emerging: the family/multi-family offices of wealthy individuals and families. Single-family offices (SFOs) were first pioneered by the Al Futtaim’s, Olayan’s, Mansour as a way to centralize the management of the family fortune. Multi-family offices (MFOs) work under the same concept, but typically work with several wealthy families instead of just one. These offices traditionally managed investments and handled administrative items, like accounting and tax planning, property management, payroll activities, succession planning and legal affairs.
All hubs are set in an identical structure – VentureRock SPICs, and follow the same formula to venture building – VentureRock OS®. “90% of all early-stage startups fail in the first 3 years. This is normal we wanted to change by changing how venture capital works in early-stage investing. The VentureRock OS® is how we organize not only capital but also strategists, problem solvers and industry-specific knowledge around our portfolio ventures”, says Xander van der Heijden, General Partner at VentureRock. The novel venture building system digitizes the investment supply-chain, from cap table to KPI reporting and legal agreements, to de-risk and unlock the free flow of capital throughout ventures’ lifecycle risks through real-time audited data. Further Venturerock OS® pioneers a 72-step methodology to systematically guide ventures from early-stage startups to fully compliant scale-ups. Director of Business Development at The Private Investment Group Obediah Ayton added “I am very happy to see Venturerock demonstrate the way venture capital funds are now being deployed post covid here in the UAE. The portfolio companies within Venturerock are some of the most professional and innovative we have seen and I have no doubt they will be a welcome asset to both the public and private sector in the Middle East.”
The ascent of a business executive : Obediah Ayton? Obediah Ayton is a trust manager at Ayton Family Office Trust and a consultant at Tennor Holding B.V., a specialist in family office business, AI driven accounting services, finance and accounting. Obediah Ayton about what happens when a Family Office takes the VC model: In addition, Family Offices want to avoid paying the typical “2 and 20” — a deal structure that requires investors to pay a 2 percent annual fee (some as high as 3 percent) to the VC firm on top of the 20 percent return on investment. This is why we’re seeing more of the mega-wealthy move away from only investing in private equity funds to increasingly working with their family offices to find the right types of direct investments that fit their long-term wealth-generation strategies.
Alongside this monumental shift in wealth, we are witnessing a modernisation of family offices here in the UAE. Family offices are not only selecting business models that allow for more control and greater returns but are also expressing a heightened interest in “impact investing”. Typically, this means investing in small or medium-sized organisations that are purpose-led and have a focus on sustainable or ethical business practices. As the number of UAE family offices and the pool of wealth amassed by them increases and is passed on to a new generation, the way they conduct themselves is evolving rapidly, investing in innovative, creative and socially conscious ways. SMEs should take note of this enthusiasm and use it to their advantage.
Obediah Ayton on how to raise money from family offices: Not to do: Don’t pitch them without understanding their goals and objectives. Don’t brag about your track record or accomplishments. Don’t interrupt them in the middle of a conversation. Don’t be aggressive. To Finish: Do exactly what you say you are going to do. Meet for coffee or at their office in order for you to understand their goals and objectives better. Respect their privacy and don’t share any information about them with anybody else. Feel free to reach out and speak soon.
Right now is a great time to build close relationships with Family Offices for future capital raises! Begin Locally: If you are looking to connect with just a few family offices, the best place to begin is in your own backyard. The best method is to begin locally. These family offices are usually the easiest to initially meet and spice up a common interest. You can focus on getting to know every single family office in your city. With this base network, you are able to use it as a foundation for further outreach and referrals. But what happens if you do not know any family offices in your city or region? After all, they are submerged whales. Google is one of the best places to begin the search. If you don’t know any [family offices], start by searching Google. You will probably discover at least 2 or 3 in your area. Google search simply include your area (i.e. London) and the phrase “family offices.” Alternatively, you could search for the ultra-affluent residents of your area, and search for an associated family office.
Obediah Ayton about the new definition of a billionaire is not the net worth but in achieving change in a billion lives: We have seen family offices become much more engaged in discussions about sustainable and impact investing over the last 12 months. This is no longer seen as a ‘side project’ or preoccupation of the Next Gen, but a priority for the family as a whole. Many products are now recognised by family offices as fully-fledged investment tools that can generate good returns. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cryptocurrency, blockchain and even gaming have made their way onto the family office radar and into their budgets.