Linda Mack of Mack International moderated a venture case study at Campden’s 12th Annual Family Alterative Investment Conference in London, February 9-11, 2016

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Linda Mack, founder and president of Mack International, conducted an interview with Brian Smiga, Partner and Co-founder of Alpha Venture Partners in a session focusing on his firm’s experience as strategic advisor to Pritzker Group Venture Capital and a case study of an accelerating high growth company at the February 9-11 Family Alternative Investment Conference in London, UK.

"First and foremost, partner with the right people or hire someone who really knows the business and has access to sourcing the best opportunities."

Linda C. Mack, founder and president of Chicago-based Mack International LLC, the premier strategic family office/human capital management consulting firm, conducted an interview with Brian Smiga, Partner and Co-founder of Alpha Venture Partners during the 2016 Family Alternative Investment Conference, Feb. 9-11 at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. It was the 12th annual private forum for significant private business and financial families and their family offices. Each year Campden Wealth brings together over 120 families from around the world. The theme in London was “Investing in a Changing and Volatile World.”

According to Campden Wealth’s Global Family Office Report, alternative investments make up 49% of the average family office allocation. Over the last 12 months, this type of investment has grown 0.7%. The conference was designed to feature a number of global family offices with decades of investment experience and knowledge who were willing to share their best practices and approaches on the “how” and “why” of alternative investments.

Linda Mack interviewed Brian Smiga of Alpha Venture Partners during a session titled, “Family Investment Case Study--Positive Selection into Late Stage Venture via Pro Rata Rights." Alpha Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that focuses on primary investments in category-leading venture backed companies. They serve over 100 early stage investor partners and are strategic advisors to Pritzker Group Venture Capital, who this year celebrates their 20th year and 150 investments in technology ventures. Linda and Brian talked about how J.B. Pritzker got started in venture capital 20 years ago when he was a newly graduated JD working sixty hour weeks in investment banking.

“The audience was inspired by the J.B. Pritzker story which illustrates there are no short cuts to success in venture capital success,” says Linda. “Brian cited examples from Pritzker’s playbook.” Additional examples are available at alphavp.com/news/category/videos.

The presentation showed how families might emulate parts of the Pritzker story as a way of engaging and teaching rising generations about getting active in direct venture investments. Linda, who consults with Family Offices about the next generation added, “Getting younger family members involved in venture both from an operating business as well as investment analysis standpoint can be an effective way of educating the next generation. If they are willing to work hard they can make their own luck. It’s all about gaining experience, knowledge and building the right relationships necessary to be successful.”
According to Linda, several panels addressed social impact investing at the conference: “During the interview we talked about the technology sector and how social impact and technology investments play well together. There is a compelling connection between the two disciplines. You can have both.”

A highlight of the interview was the case study Mr. Smiga detailed about Alpha Venture Partners’ primary investment in Coupang--Asia’s fastest growing and most highly rated e-commerce company. The case study illustrated how the process works from the beginning, by building relationships with the early stage venture capitalists. Smiga underscored the importance of how a family office’s selection of VC relationships can lead to accessing category-leading co-investment opportunities: “Brian described the number one consideration for any family interested in investing in technology venture capital as being access to category-leading deal flow. First and foremost, families need to partner with the right firms or hire someone who has access to sourcing the best opportunities. That’s the way to capitalize on great alternative investments and avoid costly mistakes.”    

An active dialogue followed the interview and supported the conviction that the alternative investment sector offers families an interesting, rewarding place to invest--especially when families leverage their relationship capital.        

About Mack International LLC
Mack International is the premier, boutique retained executive search and strategic management/human capital consulting firm serving national and international clients in the family office, family business enterprise and the wealth management industries on national and international basis. Founded in 2002, the firm has achieved an exceptional track record of success as evidenced by its unmatched industry expertise, in-depth market knowledge and unparalleled track record of success. Founder and President, Linda C. Mack has established proprietary methodologies such as the Mack 360© and is credited for having coined the term “expert generalist” in the industry.

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