For better or worse, the world is often shaped by the outsized influence of the world's wealthiest individuals. Often the leaders of industry – steel, railroads, consumer staples – these families shape how we conduct our day-to-day lives.
However, they often also operate on a more subterranean level through philanthropic endeavors, political activism and funding new, and sometimes moonshot, ventures.
The latter actions can go unnoticed to the observant eye but drastically alter the future and fortunes of our society nonetheless. The following individuals and families are some of the most influential billionaire families in the United States:
David & Charles Koch
1888 Management is a new family office set up by the Koch Brothers, David Koch and Charles Koch, in 2016 to manage part of their personal wealth. It operates under the umbrella of Koch Industries, originally established as Wood River Oil and Refining Company in 1940 and is now the second largest private company in the United States. 1888 Management reportedly manages $2 billion of assets currently, according to Forbes.
AME Cloud Ventures
Palo Alto, California
AME Cloud Ventures was founded in 2012 by Jerry Yang, the founder and former CEO of Yahoo!, Inc. Mr. Yang is the sole LP and the firm invests in seed- to late-stage tech companies that build infrastructure and value chains around data. “Ame” is the Japanese word for rain, a nod to the firm’s investment thesis that data will be the leading growth catalyst in the next generation of companies. AME investments include Treasure Data, a cloud service for big data; Zymergen a biotech firm; and Ozlo, an AI assistant.
Cascade is the family office tasked with overseeing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ personal wealth, the Bill and Melinda Gates Investments (BMGI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. Chief Investment Officer Michael Larson, who was hired by Mr. Gates in 1993, has taken a diversified portfolio management approach, investing across alternative asset classes and geographies. While asset allocations are a closely held secret, Cascade has multi-billions invested in public securities and bonds, real estate, timber assets and private equity, according to a Wall Street Journal article from 2014. From 1995 to 2014, Larson delivered a compound annual return of around 11%, according to a Financial Times article.
Hillspire manages more than $5 billion of Eric Schmidt and his family’s wealth. Mr. Schmidt is the former CEO of Google from 2001-2011 and current executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc. Hillspire is managed by Chuck Chai, a former Treasury official and hedge fund executive.
Soros Fund Management
New York, NY
Soros Fund Management is the investment management firm and family office of the acclaimed investor George Soros. The firm was founded in 1969 and has reportedly delivered an average annual rate of return of 20% over four decades. In January, Dawn Fitzpatrick, a former head of UBS Group’s wealth management division, was named chief investment officer.
Michael R. Bloomberg
New York, NY
Willett Advisors manages $25 billion in assets for Michael R. Bloomberg, businessman and former Mayor of New York City. In 2010, Willett spun out from Bloomberg’s private equity firm, Quadrangle Group.
Equity Group Investments
New York, NY
Sam Zell was a key founder of modern commercial real estate. He founded Equity Group Investments in 1968, from which spawned the three of the largest public real estate companies: Equity Residential, Equity Office Properties Trust and Equity Lifestyle.
Bayshore Global Management
Bayshore is the family office tasked with managing Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wealth. Brin who has a net worth of $55 billion, launched Bayshore in 2006, two years after Google’s IPO. The firm’s name stems from the North Bayshore section of Mountain View, California where Google is headquartered.
Stay tuned for part two of 16 Of The Most Influential U.S. Family Offices. Read previous Trusted Insight articles here.