How to seek out Middle East Family Offices and make the move successfully. | by Obediah Ayton | Medium (
Middle East Family offices are notoriously secretive. This makes complete sense — why would a high net worth family need to advertise the fact that they have money to invest?

Even with minimal publicity they would undoubtedly end up flooded with requests, so secrecy is in fact required, just to minimise the size of their inboxes.

Take your time to do some digging, find a family office that has a track record of investing in your area of research, and get a mutual contact to give you a personal introduction; this will increase your chances of being considered favourably, as the family office will see that you are serious by how much time and effort you put into finding them!

Here are some tips for how to both seek out family offices and make move successfully.

How to find family officesSo bearing this lack of publicity in mind, what is the best way to seek out these secretive Middle East Families?

“Look what deals have been done and what families have been investing in that space more than others.

This means you avoid pestering those who simply won’t be interested.

I urge startups not to cold call family offices using the often out of date phone numbers and email addresses found in databases, adding that in order to get a proper introduction, family offices expect you to be ‘part of the club’.

Finding a credible firm, such as The Private Investment Group — although caution must be exercised, as some capital raisers may ‘over-promise and under-deliver’.


Small Family office conferences are great places to meet new family offices, and are particularly useful for finding out what areas they specialise in. Even if none of the delegates are suitable for you to apply to, it is still worth asking them if they know any who might be a better fit.

Academia and non-profits

Academia is often a great place to seek advice on how to apply for family office funding. Not only will many professors and researchers have been in similar positions themselves, but their address books are usually jam packed.

Another advantage to using academia as your gateway is that family offices like this route — they know who to trust.Finally, non-profits can be a gateway to discovering family offices.

Whilst non-profits themselves obviously have completely different, more charitable aims, a quick read of their history often provides useful names of HNWs.

The non-profits themselves might not get involved in direct investment, but their founders and associates may have projects on the side.

Making a move

So you’ve found a few family offices that look promising, either through general research or asking the right people — now how do you make the best possible first impression?

Ideally get a personal introduction, perhaps by a professor, an investment professional, or even another family office who you met at an event. But failing this, with no option left other than to send an email, you need to give it your best shot.


Introducing yourself

Firstly, be polite! If you at all feel tempted to try something different and attention-grabbing, consider what may seem exciting and original to you is probably terribly clichéd and overused from their perspective. Whilst being polite and formal may be far more overdone, it does have the advantage of being much more socially acceptable and easy to follow…

Getting straight to the point

Be concise. After quickly and politely introducing yourself, get straight to the point and explain what your technology is, why it fills a gap in the sector and what any financial support would be used for. Don’t feel the need to introduce the topic via lots of background — if they work in the sector, chances are they know the subject back to front! Avoid writing ‘as you know…’ followed by lots of medical terms — it will get overlooked.

Keep reminders polite

If you don’t get a response straight away, bear in mind that some family offices may have no-response policies for unsuccessful applications, although plenty of them don’t. Hence the best advice is to wait a few days and, in the case of no response, send a polite reminder email. If there is still no response then assume they have seen it and decided no, and take solace in the fact that most family offices will be happy to give advice concerning why your application was unsuccessful.

Do your research!

It is important to point out at this stage that you must make sure they are an appropriate company to send your application to — they may not even bother to send back an email saying ‘the reason why your application was rejected was because we only deal with growth stage, although brilliant, we’re sure, simply isn’t right for us’.

Making your pitch

Another area to think about is your pitch — if you get one, that’s great! But don’t put in all that effort to get one just to mess it up when you get there due to basic errors.

Present your ideaAs unfair as this may seem, it is the quality of presentation and knowledge/research exhibited by the entrepreneur that sticks in the family office members’ heads, not necessarily the technology itself.

“The technologies can fade a little bit, but you remember the person,”Ask for advice

Whilst you may have quite a clear vision of where you see the funds going, remember that these people are the financial experts, so don’t be rigid — be candid, ask for their opinions and advice, and they will respect your humility and willingness to ask questions.

Prepare for a possible grilling!

Please do not ‘jedi mind trick’ the family office into thinking that a product is good. Be honest.

Keep your slides succinct

As for your presentation itself, ideally you should have one version for presenting with and a separate version for the investor to skim upon receipt.

This skimming version should be short and concise, telling the ‘story’ of you technology primarily via the slide titles and the concluding paragraph. Also it should contain fewer than 20 slides, or it will not get looked at in depth: cut out the fat and skimp on the background — many will already know all this!
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    Francisco Gimeno - BC Analyst Any start up struggling to get seed money or funding know the Family Offices are a very good option. However, most don't know how to access to them or else how to handle the introductions. Thanks to the author of this article for some very good points!