When tech financier Ian Osborne invests in a company, executives must agree to an unusual rule: it should not be talked about without his permission.
Despite such strategies involving high-profile investments and takeover bids over the past decade, Osborne and his firm Hidosophia have largely helped fly under the radar.
Osborne, 38, has quietly built a ব্যবসা 1.5 billion venture capital business with the initial support of media baron Michael Bloomberg, Hong Kong tycoon Lee Ka-shing and funds linked to the Burda family in Germany.
According to people familiar with the matter, all companies in Europe, from Spotify, Transferwise and Raisin to Asia’s Alibaba, Ant Financial and Airwallex, have received investments from Osborne.
One technology investor compared Urban to a British investor compared to Matthew Freud, a well-connected PR fixer: “Everyone knows,” said another who tried his best before working with Osborne: “He’s the guy behind you on the Rio flight. Come back in. He’s a real man of mystery.
As one of the architects of the boom of special-purpose acquisition firms (SPACS) – which raises cash in listed funds to hunt for public acquisition of any firm – Osborne has helped turbocharge technology valuations.
Even as regulatory investigations escalate as the phenomenon cools in the U.S. market, Osborne hopes it will become so popular. Empty check vehicles in Europe With plans to expand to 60 460m with a spec list in Amsterdam.
Describing the acquaintances as “obsessively confidential”, Osborne strongly protects his privacy and allows it to be propagated to high-profile partners, such as an enterprising capitalist named Chamath Palihapitiya.
Palihpitiya, a courageous former Facebook executive, follows a huge social media medium and describes Osborne as “a very good yin for my youngster,” with a love of provocative comments on TV.
Osborne is best known for relaunching SPACS in 2017, teaming up with the social capital of Palihapitiya to back up the list of companies like Virgin Galactic, Clover Health and Opendor.
Along the way, Osborne has amassed nearly 300 300 million worth of shares, according to someone familiar with the matter, encouraged by the juicy “Promote” share awards given to list sponsors.
To friends and investors, he is a Canyon Deal maker and customer network, rich family offices need funding to expand companies with companies.
Others have expressed concern that he is in the vicinity of a wave of speculative cash, with stratospheric assessments at predictable firms.
Virgin Galactic – which he helped take to the public in 2019 – opened the floodgates for Monsanto companies to earn some money to get listed through specs. More than 300 specs have increased 97bn this year, according to Refinitive.
As the move now moves to Europe, it marks the return of Osborne, who is spending time between London and Hong Kong, where he lives.
From Bloomberg to Zuckerberg
Born and raised in Richmond, London, Osborne, the son of a lawyer and doctor, attended St. Paul’s School, King’s College and the London School of Economics, graduated in 200 and went on to work as a consultant for Bloomberg. Thread in Osborne’s career.
After co-hosting a dinner in London, Osborne began working for the then mayor of New York, whose guests included actress Claudia Schiffer and media scout James Murdoch, said Kevin Shakey, Bloomberg’s longtime publicity and communications chief.
Bloomberg was speaking at a Conservative Party conference in Blackpool for the connection of Osborne between 2007 and 2007. “It seems like an easy task to do but connecting with people is a rare talent,” Shekey said. “Dozens of people around the world have identified Ian as having a good relationship with Mike and me. Global business leaders never meet without mediation. There is no yellow page for this. ”
He describes Osborne as a jelly-like quality: “His nature is not to promote himself.”
Osborne continued his networking skills as an international consultant for the next four years at Bloomberg, gaining access to people who would become his ticket to the world of tech finance.
“At first it seemed, ‘What are these British doing in the midst of American politics?’ It doesn’t mean much, “said Daniel One, founder of Spotify, who met Osborne at the time.
At first, Osborne “connects people with advice,” according to one. “But his Rolodex was off the charts for someone so young. The connection between politics and business seems a clear fit today but no one was making the link at the time. ”
Osborne began advising and later investing in the social capital of Palihapitia after meeting with Mark Zuckerberg in 2006.
Palihapitia described Osborne as “extremely, exceptionally prudent and incredibly believable. He is incredibly connected. He is the modern version of our homeless millionaires. Ian continues to work, travels regularly and collects people.”
In 2009, he set up his own consultant Osborne and partners, which took clients, including DST Global, an entrepreneurial capital firm run by Israeli-Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.
In 2010, he helped lead DST investments in Spotify and Alibaba – where he formed relationships with Founder One and Jack Mae, respectively.
After working with DST and beyond, Osborne continued to conduct PR and business development consultancy with Travis Callahan and Evan Spiegel advising billionaire U.S. technologists in Zuckerberg. He was close to Bloomberg, helping to buy the Financial Times from Pearson in 2013.
This year, he was firmly established on the tech scene as one of the organizers of Davos’ hottest party – a “taxidermy” themed bash thrown in with Napster co-founder Shane Parker and Salesforce CEO Mark Benef.
He also began working unofficially for the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, to whom he is close, helping open doors in the United States. During the 2010 election campaign, he helped prepare Cameroon for the TV debate. At the same time, he arranged a trip to the United States for Boris Johnson, then mayor of London.
Gathering people from politics, technology, finance and fine arts, Osborne became the “ultimate co-host”, according to someone familiar with the times. It was at a dinner hosted by Osborne in 2014, in the presence of actors Ed Norton and Ariana Huffington, that an Uber executive got into trouble for suggesting that this critical journalist might get dirty.
Taking ‘IPO 2.0’ to Europe
Osborne Hydosophia was founded in 2012 with the aim of acquiring skills in technical companies at an earlier stage – after the Greek god of joy and wisdom –
Early supporters included family offices such as the Burda in Germany and the Business Lee Fund in Hong Kong, a source close to the group said, adding that it now has more institutional investors, non-governmental organizations, public pension funds and insurance companies in the United States, Japan, Canada and Canada .
At a dinner in Hong Kong with Palihapitiya in early 2013, he came up with the idea of a new kind of SPAC to provide a simple public listing without the risk and control bag of a traditional theological IPO of technology founders.
Despite being a partner in a sponsoring company, the pair did not split income evenly, according to people familiar with the situation, Palihpitiya has made the most profits but also kept more capital. Palihapiti also coined the new term for SPAC – “IPO 2.0” – which landed on the New York Stock Exchange at launch in 2013.
Hundreds of SPAC have followed this strategy since then, with former bank executives, athletes and politicians eager to enjoy the SPAC sponsor model almost risk-free. Even those who are campaigning around Osborne wonder if the market is too far ahead now. “The bubble is definitely bursting now,” one said.
The Osborne / Palihapitia Spac franchise has suffered losses as the market has turned – Clover’s shares have fallen more than 50 percent from their high to version of Galactic – which has not yet flown commercially – less than 70 percent of its peak.
By cutting the sponsor’s financial rewards and assembling a heavyweight board, Osborne is determined to get its European spec right.
This month, he will return to the theater early on in emotion, creating the first musical instrument to open after the end of the epidemic ban on the West End – Everyone is talking about Jamie.
He needs to become accustomed to being at the center – at least in Europe, with no palliative care to hide behind it, and the surveillance of specs in the United States has begun to raise similar questions for investors and sponsors alike. , Very fast.
Additional reporting by Tim Bradshaw and Arash Masoodi