The private investment vehicles of wealthy families, single family offices or SFO have become increasingly important in international financial markets. Generally a means to maintain and expand the wealth of affluent families, SFOs have been largely responsible for the founding or funding of some of the largest companies and non-profit organizations in the world.
Among the most notable include Bezos Expeditions, the SFO of Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, otherwise known as the largest e-commerce and cloud services company, and simultaneously is the largest internet company by revenue, in the world. Another is MSD Capital, the SFO of Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, which remains one of the world’s largest computer technology companies in the world with more than $91 billion in revenue.
There are also other largely successful SFO that remain low-key at the moment, be it because they sport names that are not similar to the successful assets they fund and manage, making it not as easy to recognize, or are still in the midst of building their legacy and overall profile.
One such SFO worth looking out for in the near future? The Gastauer Family Office.
An Emerging Force in Finance and Technology in the Making
The Gastauer Family Office, also known as GFO, was established in 2008 by German billionaire Michael Gastauer.
Prior to this, Gastauer and three partners founded a Zurich based asset management company in 2001. Within three years, the business was partly sold to a German Hedge fund manager and later sold for US$15m (CHF 16m) to a Swiss Investment firm.
This was followed by Gastauer creating a payment solution for e-commerce and other internet based industries, by offering a global platform for accepting card payments. Being a pioneering payment solution in Europe that also served fast growing high risk online industries such as gambling and adult, the business grew exponentially.
Expanding its operations and opening offices in North America and Asia, it achieved a valuation of US$480 million before its assets were sold in 2008 to an Asian Banking Group.
The windfall from the two companies served as the initial capital for GFO. Via its venture capital arm investing in fintech companies, GFO serves as the main proprietor for Black Banx, a global digital banking company also founded by Gastauer.
According to various public sources, Gastauer has invested as much as US$380 million between 2014 to 2018 via GFO to build and expand Black Banx. By the end of 2018, the Black Banx group has reached a US$9.8bn valuation, making it one of Europe’s most valuable fintech companies.
By 2022, Black Banx had earned a customer-base of over 22 million, and an annual revenue of US$1.1 billion. This year, the group is in a position to substantially surpass those recent milestones as, in just the first nine months of 2023, Black Banx has already reached 33 million customers and is set to reach year end with revenue of more than US$2.0 billion.
Thanks largely to the sustained success of Black Banx, the Gastauer Family Office finds itself in the elite group of the top 20 richest single family offices in the world in terms of assets under management. Officially ranked by the premier resource for private wealth data, these are the top twenty single family offices ranked by their Assets under Management (AUM) as of mid-2023:
|Rank||Single Family Office||Location||AUM (in US$)|
|1||Walton Enterprises||United States||224 billion|
|2||Cascade Investment||United States||170 billion|
|3||Bezos Expeditions||United States||100 billion|
|4||Mousse Partners||United States||89 billion|
|5||Ballmer Group||United States||85 billion|
|6||MSD Capital||United States||68 billion|
|7||Waycrosse||United States||65 billion|
|8||Fedesa SAM||Italy||55 billion|
|9||The Woodbridge Company||Canada||54 billion|
|10||Pontegadea Inversiones||Spain||53.8 billion|
|11||Athos KG||Germany||30 billion|
|Soros Family Office||United States||30 billion|
|12||Emerson Collective||United States||28 billion|
|13||The Grosvenor||United Kingdom||25 billion|
|14||Hartono Family Office||Indonesia||21 billion|
|KIRKBI A/S||Denmark||21 billion|
|15||Harald Quandt Holding||Germany||17.0 billion|
|16||Carl Bennet AB||United States||16.4 billion|
|17||Gastauer Family Office||Monaco||11.4 billion|
|18||Ding Shizhong||China||9.7 billion|
|19||Elysium Management||United States||9.0 billion|
|20||Ma Jianrong||China||8.9 billion|
While GFO has substantial work to do, given Black Banx rapid growth and expansion, and Michael Gastauer’s knack for starting and investing into new ventures that eventually turn into gold, it will seemingly only be a matter of time before the Gastauer Family Office sees itself being counted among the top ten on that list.