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A New Kind of Family Office

Jackie Cooperman

How can new money take advantage of financial services typically designed for old money?

A pair of young investors say they have the solution, mixing family office and private banking features with venture capital, socially minded investing and savvy branding.

“If you have $1 million to $50 million in net worth, family offices don’t want you. In private banking you don’t feel appreciated because you’re their smallest client,” says Bá Minuzzi, 30, a Brazilian venture capitalist who has just launched Umana with her partner, French investor Sophie Durey, 31. “You also know you have potential for more but you’re so busy you can’t afford to pay someone to think strategically for you.”

Together, the two women are bringing a fresh sensibility to their clients, whom they interview with two psychologists and on whom they conduct a battery of background research. So far, Umana claims to have 11 clients, including the actor and environmental activist Adrian Grenier and the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and a 25-person waitlist. Minuzzi says her goal is to raise $200 million in the next five years and to scale up to well over 100 clients.

The individual onboarding has to care about making the world a better place.

“We act as a VC, so we’re very selective,” Minuzzi says. “The individual onboarding has to care about making the world a better place. Let’s say you have 10 million followers but you’re an asshole, you’re not interesting to us.”

Once they sign clients, Minuzzi and Durey offer traditional wealth management, but also focus on the value inherent in their clients’ influence. “We’re almost like a creative agency,” Minuzzi says. “We create our investors’ mission and identity, and we start brainstorming about how to rebrand them: with podcasts, venture funds, collaboration with other celebrities. It’s very specific and time consuming and that’s why we focus on medium- and long-term.”

Their clients’ net worth ranges from $1 million to $100 million, Minuzzi says, but notes their value is potentially much higher.

“It’s important to understand the amazing power of influence. Some of our clients have 30 million followers on Instagram,” she says. “If you go for a self-made tech person, they may have 1,000 followers, but their net worth is $120 million. A celebrity may have $15 million, but 30 million followers, and we can leverage that.”

The new definition of a billionaire is not the net worth but in achieving change in a billion lives.

It’s hardly easy to make a mark as a multifamily office, but Minuzzi and Durey aren’t holding themselves to the same standards as traditional operations. Ultimately, Minuzzi says, she wants to create meaning, not just money.

“I’m self-made and have met a lot of self-made people in Silicon Valley. I noticed that we were lost. We care very little about money but a lot about building things and structuring things. We get stuck in building, but not asking how to change things for the better. That’s how Umana got started,” she says. “The new definition of a billionaire is not the net worth but in achieving change in a billion lives. We don’t think money is the most important thing, it’s how you use it and make things better.”

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