At first glance, 27-year-old Jasper Lau’s investment firm is just like any other trying to strike it rich in the world of startups. It typically invests $10 million to $15 million a deal, and has had its share of successes and setbacks in this year’s market tumult.

Yet behind the scenes, Lau is building a roster of backers—often young—from almost two dozen global billionaire families, allowing him to look past rising rates and widespread inflation as he maps out the ambitions of his 8090 Partners.

Lau, whose firm’s name is a nod to the decades of birth for many of its backers, started in venture capital in 2017 and was soon involved in early-stage investments with the billionaire Ozmen clan behind aerospace firm Sierra Nevada Corp. From there, the Ohio native increasingly built connections with ultra-rich families, sometimes meeting their youngest members at Wall Street banks’ private-wealth events and hosting dinners where he shared his goals to combine their capital with his experience of venture investments.

“A lot of the next-gens I met were smart, driven and ambitious, but they lacked access,” Lau, managing partner at 8090, said in a recent interview. “I told them, ‘Look, I can help source these opportunities and get you guys started.’”

With about $200 million in assets, 8090 is a small firm. Yet it’s emerging as a competitor to the big banks, which for decades have been trying to woo the next generation of super-rich with events, dinners and boot camps while they’re still in their 20s and 30s. What’s at stake is enormous: In the next 10 years, the younger cohort is poised to inherit trillions of dollars.   

“Sitting in those conference rooms with those next-gens, I could feel the transfer of wealth,” Lau said about the private-wealth events he attended.

After working for San Francisco venture-capital firms Lumia Capital and Class 5 Global, Lau founded 8090 in June 2020 with a next-generation member of the Ozmen family, Kerem. Their goal was to build a community of like-minded people who are not only looking to grow their wealth but also want to have a social impact.  

The families behind Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group Co., Canadian property firm Keltic Canada Development and Haza Group, an operator of Wendy’s and Taco Bell restaurants across the U.S., are among 8090’s partners. Indian entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia, who in 2016 sold the advertising technology business he built with his brother, is also one of the firm’s backers.

8090’s rise provides an insight into how billionaire money is increasingly playing a role in venture capital. Family offices—the private investment companies of the ultra-rich—have more than doubled their share of venture capital deals in the past decade, and they’re set to boost allocations further, according to research from SVB Capital and Campden Wealth published this year.

Since early 2021, 8090 has bet on more than a dozen startups in health care, energy and finance, mostly in the U.S. It’s a major investor in artificial intelligence firm Luminous Computing, along with Bill Gates and Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Travis Kalanick. Luminous raised $105 million in a Series A round in March, with plans to double the size of its engineering team.

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