Billionaire Took Psychedelics, Got Bitcoin, And Is Now In PSPC
It’s a weird wallet for those weird financial times: Space Travel, Psychedelics, Movies, Covid, Crypto, Life Extension, Weed, SPAC.
These are just a few of Christian Angermayer’s investments.
On Wall Street, the name doesn’t ring a bell. Still, for better or worse, the 42-year-old German billionaire looks like a symbol of the age, or at least the last 12 months of madness. He made his fortune on risk and fashion during the big bull market in all.
Its family office, Apeiron Investment Group, has been the lead investor in seven companies that have gone public in the past 12 months, raising more than $ 1 billion. Ten other companies in its portfolio are on hold for IPOs this year, according to bankers familiar with the plans.
“I’m just investing in what excites and excites me,” Angermayer said in an interview with Zoom earlier last month from her London office – an ancient statue of Hecate, the Greek goddess of witchcraft, back -plan. “It excites me.”
Angermayer is the embodiment of the new era of investing, where once futuristic concepts are financed and where stocks emerge with a burst of hope. He’s a German version of Chamath Palihapitiya, the SPAC serial trader who thinks of himself as the Warren Buffett of the Reddit era.
Unlike Palihapitiya, Angermayer does not resonate in traditional finance or on social media. Yet he maintains relationships with some of the most influential investors in the world, including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Peter Thiel.
“He’s probably the best networker I’ve ever met,” said Mike Novogratz, a former partner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who is himself worth $ 7 billion. The two co-founded Cryptology Asset Group and together invested in psychedelic projects. “He has built this great network of people who love him and have learned to trust him because he made them money. As a capital raiser, he’s great. “
This high-profile Rolodex also lured Angermayer into two of Germany’s most messy business deals.
His Malta-based family office, Apeiron, helped Chinese group HNA buy 9.9% of Deutsche Bank AG shares in 2017, a move that put his friend Gerd Alexander Schuetz on the bank’s supervisory board. The stake was quickly sold after the conglomerate struggled with debt. He filed for bankruptcy this year.
Angermayer also received finder’s fees of 13 million euros ($ 15.6 million) for the introduction of executives from SoftBank and Wirecard AG, according to at the Financial Times. SoftBank’s $ 1 billion investment bolstered the company’s shares the year before its collapse in June 2020.
Schuetz now faces a criminal complaint regarding transactions in Wirecard shares. He is also leaving the Deutsche Bank board after being criticized for urging former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun to “end” the FT for his critical coverage.
Angermayer declined to comment on the agreements.
Apeiron has $ 2.5 billion in assets, half of which is owned by Angermayer. The fund has averaged an annual internal return of over 50% over the past decade, according to a March presentation obtained by Bloomberg.
Among its newly listed companies are AbCellera Biologics Inc., which co-developed a drug antibody combination for Covid-19, and Compass Pathways Plc, a pharmaceutical startup developing a treatment for depression based on the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. .
Atai Life Sciences, a psychedelic-focused biotech that he founded with backing from Thiel and through which Angermayer owns its stake in Compass, was recently valued at $ 2 billion. He filed Tuesday for an IPO. And naturally, he has a $ 200 million SPAC in the works.
Yet not all of the announcements were profitable. Personalized cancer drug researcher Sensei Biotherapeutics Inc. has fallen 30% since its IPO in February.
Angermayer, however, exudes the confidence of an investor who has not yet put the wrong foot.
“None,” he replied when asked what type of blanket he uses in his wallet. He has created a universe around his family office that is so up to date that he feels torn from a Hollywood scenario.
Speaking of movies, he likes it too, having produced or produced 21, including last year’s Marcel Marceau biopic, “Resistance”. Actress Uma Thurman became an investor in Sensei Biotherapeutics in January.
His curiosity “allows him to recognize trends early on or invent and create a whole industry himself,” Thiel said in an email.
Angermayer also tapped into another sphere of stardom: the power brokerage genre. He says he meets with Angela Merkel, adviser to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and summons heads of state, investors and scientists several times a year as an extension of a think tank he created, the Angermayer. Policy and Innovation Forum.
“He is an investor who has fully understood the importance of geopolitics for long-term strategy,” said Benedikt Franke, CEO of the Munich Security Conference.
“I understand politicians better than investors,” he said, although he rejects the idea of ever joining their ranks. “One of the reasons I’m so happy is that I’m very honest with myself. I want everyone to love me.
Angermayer said his main goal is to make the world happier.
This goal pushed him towards psychedelics, especially psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Compass Pathways, whose stock has doubled since listing in September, is researching ways to use the compound to help people with treatment-resistant depression.
Long-time tetotalist, Angermayer is an unlikely proselytizer for drugs of any kind, let alone those deemed illegal in many countries. Still, a conversation with a neuroscientist (he won’t say who) at a dinner party eight years ago piqued his interest. The doctor agreed that Angermayer was wise to avoid harmful drugs, including alcohol, but the mushrooms were different.
Angermayer quotes a table by British researcher David Nutt which classifies 20 drugs according to their harmfulness for the user and for others. Alcohol comes first, while mushrooms come last. Hallucinogenic but not addictive, psilocybin was studied along with LSD as a possible medical therapy in the 1950s and 1960s. But as the drugs became commonplace in the hippie counterculture movement, they were banned.
Angermayer’s first psychedelic trip, in 2015, changed everything. He was in the Caribbean (where it’s legal) and with a group of close friends.
“It was the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done in my life, nothing really comes close,” he said.
He can’t quite understand why, but he said it was a time of deep self-awareness and ego calming. He said he finally figured out Bitcoin.
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About a year later, he tried mushrooms again, with the same shattering effect. On his way home, he stopped in New York where he spoke to Novogratz about his idea of marketing psychedelics. A day later, Novogratz called him. Her sister Amy had just met a couple in Bali who were trying to start a psilocybin business and seeking support. Did he know anyone?
The couple, George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia, then co-founded Compass with funding from Apeiron and Thiel. The company does not generate any income and lost $ 19.6 million last year, but it is still worth $ 1.3 billion. The argument to investors is that its value lies in its potential.
Son of a secretary and an engineer from a small town in Bavaria, Angermayer began his investments at the age of 20.
At the University of Bayreuth, he studied under the guidance of two biotechnology professors, Stefan Limmer and Roland Kreutzer, whose research into RNA interference technology has been fascinating. The two were considering next steps and Angermayer urged them to commercialize their findings. They formed a company and Angermayer was accused of cold-calling venture capitalists to raise funds. Their company, Ribopharma, later merged with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
In addition to managing his money, Apeiron presents himself as an advisor to startups seeking advice and support, touting Angermayer’s network of artists, stars and scientists as proof of his creativity and reach. A March presentation from the company boasts of having “Europe’s most comprehensive PSPC strategy.”
This strategy may require an exit plan if the emerging cracks in the PSPC market widen to chasms. US regulators are expressing more concern about vehicles and transactions are being delayed. After an ascending 2020, the IPOX SPAC index is negative for the year.
Angermayer for his part is not at all worried. “These companies trust me,” he said of PSPC’s potential targets. “We’ve built a great deal flow machine.
– With the help of Suzanne Woolley, Simon Hunt and Pratish Narayanan
(Updates with Benedikt Franke’s commentary in the 23rd paragraph.)