The Young Jedi Financiers Changing The Diversity And Ways Of The VC

“A successful business must to be all connecting, it has to be enjoyable and it has to be diverse. Then you can best utilise your innovative instincts.” Nessim-Sariel Gaon & Fiorenzo Manganiello

The LIAN Group is not your traditional Venture Capitalist fund. Founded as a private equity firm focusing on investing in disruptive technologies and building a long-term infrastructure for institutional participation in the technology ecosystem, the company is gaining fast recognition.

That is because it is transforming the culture and face of VC investments by seamlessly bridging the gap between investors and entrepreneurs. Headed up by Fiorenzo Manganiello and Nessim-Sariel Gaon, the pair have achieved recognition by implementing an innovative private equity investment model that aligns interests between all stakeholders.

Their in-depth expertise in the technology fields of finance, agriculture, logistics, pharmaceuticals and blockchain in addition to the commercial and residential real estate, hospitality, leisure and travel sectors has allowed them to identify, value and provide opportunities in some niche sectors.

They now have an enviable track record. The company points to investments in the video conferencing platform Zoom, digital music service Spotify, agricultural tech company Indigo, pharmatech company alto, emerging tech company Bitfury and blockchain based architecture BLOCKCLOUD as unmitigated proof of success.

“To stay relevant in the modern business world, it is essential to have a solid grasp of new technologies,” states Manganiello.

The Millennial Way

The LIAN Group has become extremely relevant in less than three years. Founded in 2017, the group now boasts offices in Geneva, Milan, Dubai and London in addition to their headquarters in Luxembourg. So, it’s a young company. In more ways than one.

The average age on their payroll is just over 26, the oldest member of staff recently hit the grand old age of 30. There is no mixing experience with youth as its formula for success. It is youth with youth and as, Manganiello, who is also a professor at the Geneva Business School in the fields of venture capital and blockchain explains, that has been a huge factor in the company’s fast growth:

“We are all millennials and we have the millennial way of thinking and the millennial work ethic. We don’t stop. At first you worry that maybe investors and banks might not take you seriously or say that we have a lack of experience, but the opposite has proven to be true. Even the biggest and most traditional Swiss Banks have opened their doors to us.”

Whilst there is little diversity in age, when it comes to cultural diversity, the group fields no less than 15 nationalities, with China, Jordan, Switzerland, Italy, France, India, Bahrain, Albania, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, United States, Morocco and the United Kingdom all represented in their ranks.

“It is like our own small United Nations,” smiles Gaon.

Lian Foundation

Indeed, the United Nations will soon a play a part in the LIAN Group’s philanthropical vision, the LIAN Foundation. Again, drawing upon the millennial orientated mind-set, the ultimate goal is to provide millennials with an effective digital platform to support and create both existing and new foundations aimed at making a long-lasting impact.

“As we combined technology experience with a great cultural mix, we felt the need to commit in adjusting this gap by creating an independent, millennial foundation which could connect people from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds into high social impact initiatives and value-creation programmes,” comments Gaon.

One such LIAN Foundation project is being held next month, in Geneva.

The ‘Tout un Monde’ is a unique exhibition of artworks belonging to the United Nations Art Collection, adorning the Palais des Nations, the home of the League of Nations since 1936 and the United Nations since 1945. For the first time in its long history, a handpicked selection of over 2,000 artworks of the Palais des Nations will be on public display in the renowned art gallery D10 Art Space, Geneva.

The foundation will no doubt play a bigger part in the months to come as the global economy will strive to bounce back, post Covid-19. The LIAN foundation sources and screens the best-in-class foundations involved in specific domains, which are facing financial and technological constraints.

Lian Group Is ‘Robust’

“We are robust ourselves as a group,” says Gaon. “We are now known for developing strategic partnerships and creating additional revenues stream for our portfolio companies. By offering direct private equity investment opportunities on a deal by deal basis to family offices, private bank, UHNWIs and managing them on their behalf as a general partner, we are well placed.”

Gaon continues to emphasise that the key to LIAN’s success has been their response to financial technology innovations:

“As a relatively new player in this game, we have been at the forefront of identifying disruptive and new technology to power investments. This will continue through the next financial downturn. You have to remember that during the last financial crisis in 2008, Uber, Slack, Groupon and Instagram were founded. Rest assured LIAN will be finding those next ones despite the forecast global recession.”

However, the next big things will not be coming from the legal cannabis, gaming or gambling sectors as LIAN has decided to stay away from those sectors.

It is innovation in technology which is driving Manganiello and Gaon.

“As a company, we were founded in 2017 and our approach has continually been to find and embrace technology to solve the world’s problems. This means that we are constantly improving our ways of working. We collectively work together to deploy new methods of working with partners, investors and banks.”

As a relatively new company, although we are expanding quickly, we are a tight-knit team and our agile ways of working mean that we are in a great position to solve problems and quickly react to market change in an agile way. We place a lot of emphasis on staff development and collaboration. Word travels fast and last year we received more than 8,000 CV’s of quality young professionals wanting to join us.

There is always a positive vibe and everyone loves the fun, although professional way, that we work,” summarises Manganiello.

Content produced on behalf of The LIAN Group