With a user base overseeing an estimated $100 billion (owners, managers and advisors), this startup has set out to help shape the future of wealth. Founded by Francois Botha and based in Copenhagen, Simple is a global family office market intel, insight and knowledge platform on a mission to make private wealth and family offices cool again.

Russ Alan Prince: Please tell us about Simple.

Francois Botha: Simple is a next-generation insights lab focused on helping family offices and private wealth owners to professionalize and be future fit. We produce cutting-edge reports and content, in-depth guides and exploratory cases based on market intel from our global network of experts and industry leaders. 

We have a small-but-mighty team of bright people constantly asking new questions from all sides of the finance field, meaning our approach to private wealth is unlike anything else out there. Through our commitment to high-touch service and consistent strategic discussion with thought-leading partners and various ecosystem orchestrators across the value chain, we’re dedicated not only to improving the family office industry but to shaking it to its core, too.

Whether it’s the experienced stalwarts or the fired-up new wealth owners, we’re looking out for those who want to step into this exciting generation. We offer free access to these resources through a Simple membership, which allows users to gain full benefit from our intel.

Prince: What do you see as the major trends in the family office industry today?

Botha: Overall, we’re seeing the continued rise of a new wealth owner, born out of the Google generation. Succession will always lead to new wealth, but that’s only one avenue. Today there are many entrepreneurs who’ve had liquidity events and when you come from the startup world, a family office offers a very appealing way for successful entrepreneurs to actively manage wealth and investments going forward. We also can’t talk about new wealth without discussing the crypto natives, who need to rebalance away from digital assets and discover that there’s a big wide world of other asset classes out there.

Next, as the industry moves into the 21st century, we’re starting to see new ways of investing. Where previously public markets and traditional commodities reigned supreme, we’re seeing a move from listed to direct investments, various new asset classes coming online, such as digital assets and other new hybrids, all of which new capabilities and a fresh approach to reach their potential.

Another trend gaining momentum is the number of investors/wealth owners with expectations beyond just a financial return, with a social or environmental focus too. Say what you want about millennials, but they’re a switched-on generation and they’re using their capital to help create the kind of world they want to live in, with portfolios that match their values and intentions.

We’ve also been tracking the shift from opacity to transparency. Where this industry used to thrive on privacy, the arrival of digital footprints and Blockchain technology means the days of secrecy are numbered because everything is—and should be—that much more traceable. Traditionally it would only be multi-family offices that saw the value in building brands to position for new customers, whereas these days single-family offices also need to jostle to attract top talent and investment opportunities.

Another trend: Digital excellence is a hygiene factor. This applies to the entire value chain, all the way from banks and advisors, to the family office management and wealth owners. One’s ability to digitize is no longer just a plus, it’s a necessity as stakeholders are expected to move and access data, as well as transact all on the fly. There’s a clear need for agility.

Prince: How are you adjusting to help family offices because of these trends?

Botha: We’re walking the fine line between meeting family offices where they’re at, while also signaling what’s important. Information just moves differently amongst the Google generation. This is the generation used to sliding into DMs to connect and gain access. They might balk at the idea of a phone call and would always rather text, but this doesn’t mean they’re not capable of accessing the people and information they need to.

For Simple, this means being able to see what family offices need and providing them with the necessary solutions in an easily consumed format. When family offices are ready to level up, we have the people, insights, research and comparative data ready.

Prince: Can you speak about the topics that you cover?

Botha: We cover a range of topics from a family office perspective, which includes:
• Investments and various asset classes including crypto, venture capital, startups and even luxury assets

• Operations such as governance, jurisdiction, legal and ownership

• Technology and the many ways to digitize family office operations

• Impact and sustainability

• Philanthropy

• Longevity, which places a special focus on issues such as mental health, genomics and neuroscience

Within each of these topic segments, we work to provide a service on three levels:
• Exploratory reads: insights, cases, guides, reviews 

• Access to a network of experts. We have a rapidly growing global community of experts who are ready to take on tasks where our content leaves off.

• Data in the form of benchmarking, landscape and more

Prince: Where do you believe Simple is heading?

Botha: They say you should be the change you want to see in the world, and I think we’re a testament to that. As the world develops and shifts, we want to make sure this industry not only keeps up but thrives too. 

Family offices have loads of potential to be a force for good, particularly when skippered by engaged next gens. With our help, they can get a better grasp on what’s important, what they need to decide on and how to make those decisions. Simple will continue to grow and evolve to both lead and support them along the way. Whether that means more tailored high-touch services, gearing up for Web3 technologies—which we have already started—or even getting back to the basics with starting or streamlining family office operations, we’ve got their backs.

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.