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Spac analyst Ian Osborne has set up a $ 1.5bn company


When technical writer Ian Osborne makes money for a company, managers must accept a strange fact: do not talk about this without his permission.

Such tactics have helped Osborne and his company Hedosophia in particular to fly under the radar despite their financial involvement and financial recovery over the past decade.

With the help of an initial fundraiser and Michael Bloomberg, a Hong Kong-based Li Li-shing and Burda family in Germany, 38-year-old Osborne set up a $ 1.5bn business quietly.

According to those familiar with the matter, companies from Spotify, TransferWise and Raisin in Europe to Alibaba, Ant Financial and Airwallex in Asia have all received funding from Osborne.

A business analyst compares the city but a British retailer with personal adviser Matthew Freud: “He knows everyone.” Another, who worked hard before working with Osborne, said: “He’s the man who came after you on the way to Rio. He’s a very secretive person.”

As one of the architects for the Spacs – which earns money from the company’s search engine listings – Osborne has contributed to the technical census.

Although the US market has cooled down with the latest developments and regulatory frameworks, Osborne hopes to publicize this. cars not looking in Europe with ideas for as much as € 460m and Spac lists in Amsterdam.

Michael Bloomberg became a thread connector through the work of Ian Osborne © Joe Raedle / Getty

Described by their allies as “secret hideouts”, Osborne vigorously defends its privacy and allows people to be attracted to high-ranking colleagues such as Chamath Palihapitiya, a working capitalist.

Palihapitiya, a former great Facebook hero, many journalists follow and enjoy commenting on TV, describing Osborne as “the best yin in my yang”.

Moonlight monitor

It is for the re-establishment of Spacs in 2017 that Osborne is best known – in partnership with Palihapitiya’s Social Capital to bring in lists of companies such as Virgin Galactic, Clover Health and Opendoor.

Along the way, Osborne acquired $ 300m of shares, according to a source familiar with the matter, encouraged by the water award “raising” the share given to those who supported the series.

For friends and fundraisers, it is a drug maker, affiliated with affluent offices and startups looking for extra funding.

Some are concerned that it has been at the peak of speculation, giving the accounting of uncertain companies.

Virgin Galactic – which helped spread the word in 2019 – opened the doors of low-cost manufacturing companies on the way to getting a list through Spacs. More than 300 Spacs earned $ 97bn this year, according to Refinitiv.

Working now in Europe, it shows their return to Osborne, who shares his time between homes in London and Hong Kong, where he lives.

Chamath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya describes Ian Osborne as ‘the best yin to my yang’ © David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

From Bloomberg to Zuckerberg

Born and raised in Richmond, London, the son of a lawyer and doctor, Osborne graduated from St Paul’s School, King’s College and London School for Economics, graduating in 2005 and going on to work as a Bloomberg consultant, who was connected through Osborne.

Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s longtime campaign manager and communications chief, said Osborne began working for the New York mayor at the time after arranging a London dinner with guests including actress Claudia Schiffer and James Murdoch.

By 2007, thanks to the Osborne merger, Bloomberg was speaking at a Conservative party conference in Blackpool. “Sounds like an easy thing to do but connecting with people is a rare skill,” Sheekey said. “Many people in the world with whom Mike and I associate have been introduced by Ian. Global business leaders do not meet without representatives. There are no Yellow pages on this. ”

He describes Zelig’s character as Osborne’s: “His character is not proud of himself.”

As Bloomberg’s international advisor for the next four years, Osborne continued to use his social skills, gaining access to potential ticket holders in the financial world.

At first it was like, ‘What is the 20 British doing in the midst of US politics?’ It doesn’t really matter, “said Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, who met Osborne at the time.

Initially, Osborne provided “advice, communication with the people”, according to Ek. “But his Rolodex was not on the list of the youngest. The connection between politics and business today seems to be the right thing to do but at the time no one was connected.”

Osborne began mentoring, and later invested in Palihapitiya’s Social Capital after meeting Mark Zuckerberg in 2008.

Palihapitiya described Osborne as “extremely reliable, amazing and trustworthy. He is wonderfully connected. He is our billionaire homeless. Ian works full-time, is always on the move, and picks up people.”

Virgin Vessel

Ian Osborne partnered with Social Capital Chamath Palihapitiya to end the Virgin Galactic © Virgin Galactic series

In 2009, he founded his own consulting firm, Osborne and Partner, which recruited clients including DST Global, a large company run by Yuri Milner, a Israeli-Russian billionaire.

By 2010, he was helping DST direct funding to Spotify and Alibaba – where he formed relationships with founders Ek and Jack Ma, respectively.

Throughout his career with DST and subsequently, Osborne continued to run PR and business promotions, advising US billionaire businessmen Travis Kalanick and Evan Spiegel to move to Zuckerberg. He lived near Bloomberg, assisting him in trying to buy the Financial Times from Pearson in 2013.

That year, he landed on the site as one of the organizers of the hottest party in Davos – a “taxidermy” themed bash thrown by Napster’s colleague Sean Parker and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

He also took the initiative to work for UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his close chancellor George Osborne, helping to open doors in the US. During the 2010 election, he helped prepare Cameron for a TV interview. At the same time, he planned to travel to the US for Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London.

Osborne became a “great collaborator” – according to one time-conscious man – mobilizing politicians, technology, economics and art. It was at a dinner that Osborne hosted in 2014, when actors Ed Norton and Arianna Huffington, faced challenges that the company could dig into the dirt for a troubled journalist.

Take ‘IPO 2.0’ to Europe

Osborne founded Hedosophia in 2012 – the so-called Greek deities of pleasure and wisdom – seeking prominence in the ancient art industry.

Early helpers included family offices such as Burda in Germany and Li Li, a wealthy Hong Kong-based man, said a person close to the group, who added that they now have university-funded financial institutions, public pension funds and insurance companies. US, Japan, Canada and Sweden.

Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify

Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, recalled that Osborne’s ‘Rolodex was not on the list of the very young’ © Drew Angerer / Getty

It was at a dinner in Hong Kong in early 2017 by Palihapitiya where they put the idea of ​​a new Spac to give developers a simple list of people without the risk of traditional IPO rules.

Although they were partners in the charity, the two did not share the same funds, say people who know the situation, and Palihapitiya is taking more profits and investing more. Palihapitiya also released a new Spac version – “IPO 2.0” – which was pulled on the New York Stock Exchange in early 2017.

Since then, hundreds of Spacs have followed this path, which was developed by former bankers, athletes and politicians wanting to enjoy Spac’s experiments. But even those working around Osborne wonder if the market has now gone too far. “The donkey is really exploding now,” said one.

The Osborne / Palihapitiya Spac license has been disrupted as the market has changed – Clover shares are falling more than 50% from their peak and Virgin Galactic – no longer able to fly – down more than 70% from peak.

Osborne is determined to get its European Spac right, according to those closest to the plans, cutting financial rewards for sponsors and finding a rich team.

This month, she will re-launch her sporting interest, making one of the first songs to be released at the end of the epidemic ban in West End – Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.

They have to get used to being in the middle – in Europe, they have no hidden Palihapitiya, and a review of Spacs in the US has begun to question those who sell money and those who help if the market goes too far, too fast.

Additional reports by Tim Bradshaw and Arash Massoudi


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