FOUNDER AND CEO, ARTIVEST
Launched in 2011, when founder and CEO James Waldinger started working out of a bike storage closet in a Soho loft converted into a makeshift office, Artivest is a technology-driven investment platform that connects individual investors with private equity and hedge funds. Clarifying those often murky businesses, Waldinger aimed to lift the “veil of opaqueness” around managing alternative funds and offer wider access to a qualified community of high net worth investors through an online system—a method no other firm is utilizing.
Waldinger studied history and theater at Yale before earning a JD/MBA from Stanford and working in internet startups, including for Peter Thiel when he made his initial investment in Facebook. He stresses that there’s an art to investing, hence the company name: Artivest. “There’s a creative element to investing that we try to embrace,” he says. “That comes out in the products we choose, the user experience we create and the content and educational work we do.” Minimum amounts, for example, are in the thousands of dollars, not the millions most PE and hedge fund investments require.
In a year of sustained growth for private equity, business is booming for Artivest: With KKR as its largest institutional investor and Peter Thiel as its largest individual backer, the firm just partnered with global asset management giant BlackRock to expand advisors’ access to alternatives for qualified clients. Waldinger says, “We want it to be as easy as going to E-Trade to buy stock or Schwab to buy a mutual fund or Vanguard to find a basket of indexes.” Bursting out of its Manhattan office, Artivest is relocating to a nearby space that can accommodate 100 workers by year-end.