Some of Europe’s wealthiest business dynasties are backing a variety of startups around the world in an attempt to secure their wealth for many more generations, and they’re doing this very discreetly, quietly making waves with their recent investments into these startups.
A good example of this is the recent activity of the appropriately named venture capital group La Famiglia. The Munich-based group has attracted the capital of some leading German and other European family business owners to back startups, according to reports. Among them are the family owners connected to the giant appliance maker Miele; members of the Siemens family, who are still the biggest shareholders in the huge German conglomerate, the Viessmann family, behind the same-named German family business, the family behind the Austrian luxury group Swarovski, and family members of the Belgian chemical group Solvay.
Founded a little over a year ago by Robert Lacher and Jeannette Fürstenberg, the Munich-based venture fund has been involved in eight funding rounds involving six startups, notes CrunchBase. These include two rounds of funding for the bish logistics startup OnTruck, and a Berlin startup called Finiata, which offers factoring services to small and medium-sized businesses.
Another example is big corporate venturing groups backed by family business dynasties. Vorwerk Ventures is part of one of Germany’s most successful family businesses, the big appliance maker Vorwerk, owned by the Mittelsten Scheid family. Vorwerk Ventures has backed a number of startups including the Berlin-based healthy food group HelloFresh, a fashion business called Pippa Jeans, and robotic vacuum maker Neato.
Perhaps the family backing the most startups out of any in Europe is the Haubs, owners of the huge German holding group the Tengelmann Group. The Haubs, one of Europe’s wealthiest families, own two venture capital/private equity groups - Tengelmann Ventures and Emil Capital Partners - which together have made a remarkable 64 investments in 44 companies. The power of family capital looks to have established itself on the continent, owing to moves such as these.
Although the families behind these groups are no doubt confident of the progress of their core businesses, backing startups provide a further safety net to ensure the long-term survivability of their family’s wealth. It is also a useful way to engage the next generation into their business empires and to guarantee family wealth for generations to come.