Featured Q&A: An Interview with Family Office Networks CEO & Founder Andrew Schneider on FON Marketplace and Future of Fintech

Featured Q&A: An Interview with Family Office Networks
CEO & Founder Andrew Schneider on FON Marketplace and Future of Fintech

Family Office Networks created FON Marketplace as an online technology platform designed for family offices to access private deals and connect with other family offices to co-invest; research luxury goods and services; share philanthropic ideas; and more. It was created to streamline the process of investing in a private placement which today is still an antiquated system.

Family Office Networks CEO & Founder Andrew Schneider shares his insights on the innovative platform and the future of the fintech industry.

What is FON Marketplace?

During the 20 years I have been working with family offices, a common complaint is lack of access to good deal flow or other alternative investments. Many traditional family offices have accounts at the biggest banks which typically are too big to take advantage of many deals. FON Marketplace is a digital platform that provides family offices the ability to connect with other families through co-investments, educational events, and luxury products and services.

FON Marketplace was initially designed for only family offices that had their own deals and were looking for a few family offices to co-invest; however, as demand for our distribution grew exponentially, we decided to open the platform and allow other qualified issuers to list their offering. FON Marketplace is the largest platform of private placements consisting of hedge funds, venture capital funds, private equity, direct deals, PIPES, and anything that falls under the definition of a private placement

When did you launch luxury products on FON Marketplace?

That is a great question. I saw that family offices are the biggest consumers for luxury products and services such as private aviation, yachts, art, collectibles, fashion, vacation homes, etc. With this in mind, we rolled out a luxury newsletter four years ago that received a tremendously favorable response. The reason we added luxury to FON Marketplace is to help drive more traffic and quality families.  In addition, with today’s global macro conditions we have seen changes to almost all the major events, conferences and shows.  If you are looking to buy, sell or rent any luxury products we are the most efficient way.

Who is the audience for FON Marketplace?

We currently have over 200,000 members and about 15,000 family offices both domestic and global. We reach the top four percent of the global population in terms of income with an audience that has a median age of 54, including 72 percent male and 28 percent female.  The average family office is between $50 million-$500 million net worth. The average age is going down as more and more people are making bigger decisions online – especially our children and grandchildren.

If I am a company trying to raise money, what are the benefits?

Any company seeking to work with family offices realizes that they are often difficult to reach. FON Marketplace is a forum to get those companies in front of key family office decision makers who are dedicated to best in class relationships. By utilizing technology, FON Marketplace makes it easy for family offices to conduct due diligence and share recommendations with their like-minded peers.  Legal services, administrators, accountants and marketing experts that specifically deal with family offices are in high demand. By listing your business with us, you will place your company directly in front of the right target audience at a cost of $5,000 a month. 

What are the costs to list my company on FON Marketplace vs. buying a membership?

A bronze membership on FON Marketplace is a three-month commitment at a total of $15,000 and after that it is a month to month membership. Most new deals that get listed will get the majority of the exposure in the first three months.  A membership provides the same benefits plus webinars.

The benefits are tremendous on this new world that is forming.  It is evident that big conferences will not be a factor in the near term.  Companies get a lot of exposure with all the family offices that use the site. In addition, they are featured in our weekly newsletter and also can search through our database of thousands of family offices and contact them directly.

In light of what has gone on with the coronavirus how do you feel about the future for Fintech?

I feel that the industry was already moving further away from traditional wealth management and our ability to make changes and adapt to situations like this will really help companies like ours to grow tremendously as the demand for good deal flow continues to grow.  As travel will be more inconvenient, more and more companies looking to raise money will be doing so online.

How can family offices benefit from accessing FON Marketplace?

Family offices can utilize the new technology in several important ways. The platform simplifies the investment process by enabling users to filter transactions by key parameters such as size, industry and geography. They can also take advantage of joining the Family Office Investment Clubs, spread out the cost of due diligence, access to deal flow and access to educational and informative events and much more.

 In addition, it is a great way to buy, sell and/or rent luxury goods and services and learn what they have to offer to families in our network. Family offices will also be able to share philanthropic ideas and thought leadership on FON Marketplace, and we will continually be adding new features and capabilities.

I’m seeking to raise $25 million in the next three to six months for my company. Can FON Marketplace help?

Absolutely.  By listing your offering on FON Marketplace you will benefit from our proprietary technology that is based on an algorithm designed to get the listing in front of as many qualified family offices as possible which have expressed interest in that strategy or space. Due to our extensive network of relationships, we’re a very cost efficient way to market your product to the family office community.

How does FON Marketplace work for issuers?

FON Marketplace lists alternative investment offerings in private equity, hedge funds, real estate, direct, sponsored and venture backed transactions. Essentially, FON Marketplace is an easy and efficient way to share ideas on products, deals and other investment opportunities. The overall intent is to streamline the private placement process and get more transactions funded and closed efficiently in an online community that is open almost exclusively to family offices, accredited investors, other broker-dealers and financial advisors with family office clients. Since family offices are able to do due diligence more efficiently and act more quickly than institutional investors, the lead time to get deals done is typically shorter, which issuers appreciate.

FON Marketplace makes it very easy for issuers to reach family offices and other potential allocators in a timely and very cost-efficient way, especially in light of recent events. I don’t see this as just a change because of the coronavirus since many companies were already seeking a more viable strategy for raising capital. FON Marketplace is positioned to be one of the largest companies catering to the highly sought out family office industry and investor category.

How can luxury products and services benefit from a listing on FON Marketplace?

The FON Marketplace audience is driven to discover new luxury product and service opportunities. In response, we have high level partnerships in place with a select group of luxury companies that our families enjoy, including art, automobiles, private aviation, jewelry, travel, yachts, and more. FON Marketplace is an ideal spot to get the best luxury offerings in front of the right audience in order to boost visibility and sales.

Family offices are the largest consumers of luxury products and services, such as yachts, art, private aviation, collectibles, jewelry and much more. Over the past five years, we have been doing many events at art galleries, polo and other high-end venues that have attracted a lot more family offices than many of our traditional wealth management conferences. In addition to FON Marketplace, we list offerings on our luxury magazine (FONMagazine.com) and weekly luxury newsletter.

I am a high end real estate broker. Is this a beneficial place for me to reach new clients?

Family offices typically have more than one residence and are always seeking new destinations at which to make family memories. They’re committed to working with brokers who understand the nuances of meeting their very high expectations and often rely on FON’s recommendation when making a decision. In addition to providing an opportunity to meet potential new clients, FON Marketplace is an ideal place to list homes for sale and reach qualified purchasers. Family office typically have the majority of their net worth in real estate or their own business.  

I’m debating whether to sell or rent my yacht. How could FON Marketplace help me?

With its strong focus on luxury, FON Marketplace has specific sections/platforms for each type of luxury experience and boating is one important area that’s of keen interest to family offices. FON Marketplace lists options for both renting and selling yachts and also includes trusted vendors who serve the industry such as interior designers, catering, crew staffing, and more.  

How can non-profits participate in FON Marketplace?

Family offices are dedicated to identifying philanthropic endeavors that are important and life-changing. Many substantial family offices are in the midst of dealing with the largest transfer of wealth between generations that we have ever seen and creating a truly lasting legacy is at the forefront of these crucial decisions. They want to vet potential philanthropic partners and make a difference. For that reason, FON Marketplace lists leading philanthropic causes and provides guidance on how to get involved.

Please tell us about the Investment Clubs.

FON’s Family Office Investment Clubs offer families with a typical minimum net worth of $50 million the opportunity to join clubs that reflect their areas of interest, including regional groups such as the Palm Beach Investment Club and newly launched specialty clubs for Women, Art and more. As an example, the Palm Beach Investment Club enjoys a strong membership base of 20-25 family offices representing families from around the country whose wealth is derived from a variety of industries, businesses and legacies. The Club meets or speaks weekly or monthly, depending who is available at various times throughout the year. Family Office Networks is unique in that it has the strongest distribution network of family offices seeking to allocate which is a proven competitive advantage and these new Investment Clubs bring investors together with the intent of getting deals funded and closed in a more efficient manner. Typical deals range from $20-$100 million and span various industries.

How can I join an Investment Club?

The process of joining an investment club begins with online registration which is free to qualified and fully vetted family offices who meet our strict qualifications. There are no dues or membership fees. Once approved, Investment Club members are part of a tight knit group of their peers and benefit from regular meetings, specialized publications, thought leadership, proprietary deal access, exclusive events, valuable discounts, and more.

What are some examples of the Investment Clubs?

In addition to the new clubs for Palm Beach, Women and Art, the line-up of Investment Clubs includes: Biotech, Boston, Canada, Cannabis, Financial Services, Harvard, Houston, Ivy League, Luxury, New York City, Real Estate, Silicon Valley, Technology and Texas. Additional clubs will be added throughout the year and interested families are encouraged to suggest new ideas. Issuers are also invited to inquire about participating in Family Office Networks’ new Investment Clubs since families continually seek exposure to new offerings.

What is the value of joining Family Office Networks as a Member?

Paid members of Family Office Networks receive exclusive benefits such as the following, depending on membership level, and tailored solutions are always available.

  • A luncheon to present your company/product to our members
  • Select personal introductions outside of events
  • Featured company listing on all FON directories
  • Companywide membership w/admission to all FON events hosted throughout the country
  • Two featured speaking spots at FON events
  • A copy of the attendee list to your event with contact information and background notes
  • We vet the attendee list to ensure only your target audience gains admission
  • Professional invitation designed by our artists
  • You have total control and final edit on all aspects, we do everything for you and set you up to succeed

Information is at https://familyofficenetworks.com/our-membership-guide-3/

Please explain FON’s events.

Family Office Networks hosts 200+ events throughout the year, including mixers, symposiums, cocktail receptions, polo, golf outings, poker tournaments, conferences, luncheons, cigar parties, fashion shows, caviar tastings, yacht parties, and more. In these intimate settings, families feel comfortable sharing ideas and expanding their network while giving back to the community.

What are the highlights of the new FON Webinar Series?

In addition to in-person events, Family Office Webinar Series meets increased demand from family office members who continually seek favorable investment opportunities and insights on business best practices. Webinar hosts receive one-on-one training from FON’s dedicated team to setup the webinar for them and train them on how to use the software in the days prior to the event. A team member is always on hand at the start of the webinar to assist in launching it and will remain on for the duration to answer any questions that may arise. The presenter also will have phone numbers to communicate silently via text messaging to answer those questions. Family office investors who sign up to participate are able to ask questions via chat which are typically addressed by the presenter at the conclusion of the presentation. Attendees receive a video of the webinar the day after along with any handouts and webinars are also hosted on the FON website.

Please tell us more about Family Office Networks.

Family Office Networks is the premier global community for families to share information and intelligence. The team works with a select group of top tier investment managers and sponsors who offer substantial families’ access to stellar investment opportunities in areas such as real estate, venture capital, private equity, and hedge funds. In addition, Family Office Networks shares timely thought leadership on topics related to portfolio management, philanthropy, multi-generational wealth management, compliance and regulation, risk management, insurance, training and education.

How can anyone interested in FON Marketplace get more details?

If you have an opportunity that is a good fit for the family office community, please visit www.fonmarketplace.com. For information about Family Office Networks, contact Andrew Schneider at [email protected]