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FB roundup: Paul Allen, Ritesh Agarwal, Alpha Blue Ocean

The estate of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen expands its investment management group, Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal gets into agritech and family office Alpha Blue Ocean signs a new financing agreement.
The late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Paul Allen’s family office expands its investment management group

Vulcan Inc., the family office of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has expanded and renamed its investment management group.

Vulcan Capital has been retitled Cercano Management and is positioned as a public markets, private equity, private credit and real estate investment-advisory firm to ultra high net worth individuals, with managed assets totaling $7.7 billion. 

Based in Washington state, Cercano Management, which is led by former Vulcan Capital chief investment officer Chris Orndorff, is an offshoot from the family office which manages Allen’s estimated $26 billion fortune since he passed away in 2018. Through Vulcan Inc., currently chaired by his sister Jody, Paul Allen acquired American football team the Seattle Seahawks and the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trailblazers. He also purchased an extensive art collection, considerable real estate and invested in startups.

Earlier this month, Cercano invested in Pendulum, an online platform for detecting harmful narratives on social media.

Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal's family office funds agritech startup

Aroe Ventures, the family office of Oyo (the world’s third largest and fastest-growing hospitality chain) founder Ritesh Agarwal has invested $2 million in Pre-Series A in Agrowave, an agritech startup dreamt up by IIT Delhi alumni Anu Meena.

Founded in 2017, Gurugram-based Agrowave aims to build 40,000 mobile pickup stations at farm gates to procure fresh produce directly from farmers.

“Growing up, I saw the challenges my farmer grandfather faced,” said Meena. “Solving the challenges that farmers across India face has since been my mission. Agrowave are building solutions which enable farmers to sell the produce from their farm gates in just a few clicks. This funding will help us further expand our network of farmers, bring more transparency in the value chain, and most importantly positively impact the livelihood of farmers.”

“Innovation and technology shifts in this sector are critical to ensure that farmers have access to the best markets and prices,” said Gaurav Gulati, head at Aroa Ventures. “We are delighted to be supporting Agrowave in their mission to empower farmers.”

Though Agrowave has already set up its base in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the company has aggressive expansion plans in remote  areas where it intends to work with multiple skilled farmers and mobile pickup stations.

Family office Alpha Blue Ocean signs new financing agreement

Alpha Blue Ocean, the family office and alternative financing specialist founded by Pierre Vannineuse, has signed a new financing agreement of $3.4 million to support the firm over the next three years.

Teaming up with Adthink (recently renamed NFTY), Alpha Blue Ocean announced the signing of the contract in bonds convertible to redeemable shares with a view to strengthening its diversification.

“Alpha Blue Ocean is thrilled to diversify its portfolio with this new investment in France in an AdTech leader and a future leader in the market for NFTs [Non Fungible Tokens],” said Vannineuse. “Our continuing quest to align the interests with all of the stakeholders of the companies in our portfolio and participations has led us to be the first to implement a financial instrument of this type on the French market.”

“This innovative financing solution will allow us to meet the specific needs of Adthink by aligning the interests of each party with the existing shareholders,” said Jonathan Métillon, chief executive office of Adthink. “The net product of the issue will be allocated to the general requirements of the group, to the working capital required for the growth of our advertising activities and the technical and sales growth of our new NFT marketing services.”

Since starting in 2017, Alpha Blue Ocean has completed more than $1.7 billion in financial commitments, of which 60% has been in the health and innovation sector.

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