Aspire Ventures and Yellow Brick Capital Advisers (UK) Limited Announce Merger & Formation of Aspire Universal

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A major venture capital firm in the US is merging with a prominent family office advisory in the UK to create a next-generation funding model.

Coupling Johnanthan's expertise with our shared commitment to impact investing ensures our missions are perfectly aligned. - Essam Abadir

Aspire Ventures and Yellow Brick Capital Advisers (UK) announced a pending merger which will allow the two organizations to unlock powerful synergies in expertise and technology under a new umbrella organization to be called Aspire Universal. Both companies share a common mission around investments in transformative companies, powered by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and addressing basic human needs like food & water, education, health care, shelter and finance.

“Seemingly overnight, whole industries are being transformed by the ‘Internet of Things’ technologies– namely mobile, cloud, and machine learning. While it’s nice that Facebook can give you better mobile recommendations and Amazon has a device you can talk to when you want to restock your paper towels, such change seems to come too slowly to the industries we value most like healthcare, education, and agriculture. Aspire has been designed from the ground up to reduce the time and expense of pursuing start-ups in these important areas and the addition of Yellow Brick dramatically expands the global scope of our efforts,” said Essam Abadir, Aspire Universal Group Manager and CEO of Aspire Ventures.

Yellow Brick Capital Advisers (UK) Limited, headquartered in London, brings deep advisory expertise in these investment sectors by providing cutting-edge financial services to a select number of ultra-high net worth families and individuals.

“We share Aspire’s vision to invest in technologies that solve the problems of basic human needs,” said Johnathan Kol-Bar, Chairman and CEO of Yellow Brick Capital Advisers. “Our holdings in ventures like PhyTech, Square, Smart Fertilizer, Okeanos and Smart Sparrow align with the Aspire portfolio and create opportunities for those organizations to leverage Aspire’s core technologies for even faster growth."

Aspire Ventures is an innovator in technology platform driven start-up investment model backing 5 to 10 early stage start-ups each year with several million dollars each, license access to the Aspire Community Intellectual Property, the full time involvement of over 70 technology professionals, and working space at its 20,000 sq. ft. venture lab in Pennsylvania. Aspire’s “community” intellectual property includes many of the most advanced fundamental technologies in the areas which drive IoT – mobile, cloud computing, and machine learning.

Kol-Bar brings extensive experience to the Aspire team, with more than twenty-five years in the private and investment banking industry. His global expertise and unique investment vision comes from working and living in New York City, London, Switzerland and several countries in South America. He has been the regional Head of Private Banking for several different institutions around the world and maintains an excellent reputation in the industry and among investors.

For Kol-Bar, the merger is about Yellow Brick leading the next generation of family offices.

“Our clients trust us to provide them access to very unique investment opportunities. This gives us a role helping these ventures to implement shared technologies and grow more quickly. This merger is the final step to building a family office with expertise.”

Effective with the merger, Kol-Bar has been named as a Group Director of Aspire Universal, and will continue his duties as Chairman and CEO of Yellow Brick.

“One of the many reasons for our early successes has been the diversity of our leadership, particularly at the position of Group Director,” said Sam Abadir, Group Manager of Aspire Universal and CEO of Aspire Ventures. "Johnathan rounds that out even further by bringing us the unique skill set of banking and financial advisory at a very high level. Coupling his expertise with our shared commitment to impact investing ensures our missions are perfectly aligned. We expect this merger to accelerate the growth of both Yellow Brick and Aspire."

Abadir further explained the rebranding under Aspire Universal.

“Simply put, our vision has expanded to encompass opportunities beyond what even we envisioned just two years ago. Bringing all of our endeavors under the Aspire Universal name helps to recognize all of our efforts within a single brand."

The merger is expected to close by the end of 2015.

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