Billionaire Took Psychedelics, Got Bitcoin And Is Now Into SPACs
German investor Christian Angermayer has made a fortune on the risky and faddish. His portfolio includes crypto, weed and space travel. Billionaire Took Psychedelics, Got Bitcoin And Is Now Into SPACs
On Wall Street the name rings few bells. Yet for better or worse, the 42-year-old German billionaire looks like a symbol of the age, or at least the past 12 crazy months. He’s made a fortune on the risky and faddish during the great bull market in everything.
His 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 combined. Ten more of his portfolio companies are queued up to IPO this year, according to bankers familiar with the plans.
“I just invest in what I’m very curious and passionate about,” Angermayer said in a Zoom interview early last month from his home office in London — an ancient statue of Hecate, the Greek goddess of witchcraft, in the background. “It excites me.”
Angermayer is the embodiment of the new-new era of investing, where once-futuristic concepts are landing funding and stocks surge on a whiff of hope. He’s a German version of Chamath Palihapitiya, the serial SPAC-dealmaker who views himself as the Warren Buffett of the Reddit era.
Unlike Palihapitiya, Angermayer doesn’t resonate in mainstream finance or on social media. Yet, he’s cultivated relationships with some of the world’s most influential investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Peter Thiel.
“He’s probably the best networker I’ve ever met,” said Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner who himself is worth $7 billion. The two co-founded Cryptology Asset Group, and have invested together in psychedelics ventures.
“He’s built this amazing network of people who like and have learned to trust him because he’s made them money. As a capital raiser, he’s awesome.”
That wide-ranging Rolodex has also drawn Angermayer into two of Germany’s messier corporate deals.
His Malta-based family office, Apeiron, helped China’s HNA Group purchase 9.9% of Deutsche Bank AG stock in 2017, a move which placed his friend Gerd Alexander Schuetz on the bank’s supervisory board. The stake was soon sold after the conglomerate ran into debt troubles. It filed for bankruptcy this year.
Angermayer also received a 13 million euro ($15.6 million) finder’s fee for introducing executives at SoftBank and Wirecard AG, according to the Financial Times. SoftBank’s $1 billion investment bolstered the company’s stock the year before it collapsed in June 2020.
Schuetz now faces a criminal complaint over transactions in Wirecard shares. He’s also leaving Deutsche Bank’s board after criticism over his urging former Wirecard Chief Executive Officer Markus Braun to “finish” the FT for its critical coverage.
Angermayer declined to comment on the deals.
Apeiron has $2.5 billion in assets, half of which is Angermayer’s. The fund has averaged an annual internal return of more than 50% over the past decade, according to a March presentation obtained by Bloomberg.
Among his newly listed companies are AbCellera Biologics Inc., which co-developed a combination antibody drug for Covid-19, and Compass Pathways Plc, a pharmaceutical startup developing a depression treatment based on the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.
Atai Life Sciences, a psychedelics-focused biotech he founded with backing from Thiel and through which Angermayer holds his stake in Compass, was recently valued at $2 billion. It filed Tuesday for an IPO. And naturally, he has a $200 million SPAC in the works.
Still, not all the listings have been profitable. Personalized cancer drug researcher Sensei Biotherapeutics Inc. has fallen 30% since its February IPO.
Angermayer though exudes the confidence of an investor who has yet to put a wrong foot.
“None,” he said when asked what kind of hedging he uses in his portfolio. He’s crafted a universe around his family office that’s so au courant it feels ripped from a Hollywood screenplay.
Speaking of movies, he’s into that too, having produced or executive-produced 21 including last year’s Marcel Marceau biopic, “Resistance.” Actress Uma Thurman became an investor of Sensei Biotherapeutics in January.
His curiosity “allows him to recognize trends very early or invent and create an entire sector himself,” Thiel said in an email.
Christian Angermayer’s Public Investments Span The Frontier Of Tech
Angermayer’s also tapped into a different sphere of celebrity: the power-broking kind. He says he speaks to Angela Merkel, is an adviser to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and convenes heads of states, investors and scientists several times a year as an extension of a think tank he started, 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, though he rejects the idea of ever joining their ranks. “One reason I’m very happy is I’m very honest with myself. I want everybody to like me.”
Angermayer said his foremost goal is to make the world a happier place.
That aim turned him on to psychedelics, psilocybin in particular, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Compass Pathways, whose stock has doubled since its September listing, is researching ways the compound could be used to help those with treatment-resistant depression.
A lifelong teetotaler, Angermayer is an unlikely proselytizer for drugs of any kind, let alone one deemed illegal in numerous countries. Yet 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 mushrooms were different.
Angermayer cites a chart by British researcher David Nutt that ranks 20 drugs by their harmfulness to both the user and to others. Alcohol is first, while mushrooms ranked last. Hallucinogenic but nonaddictive, psilocybin was researched along with LSD as a possible medical therapy in the 1950s and 60s. But as the drugs became commonplace among the hippie counterculture movement, they were outlawed.
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 single most meaningful thing I’ve ever done in my whole life, nothing really comes close,” he said.
He can’t quite pinpoint why, but he said it was a moment of profound self-insight and quieting of the ego. He said he finally understood Bitcoin.
About a year later, he tried mushrooms again, with the same life-shaking effect. On his way home, he stopped in New York where he told Novogratz about his idea to commercialize psychedelics. One day later, Novogratz rang him up. His sister Amy had just met a couple in Bali who were trying to start a psilocybin business and were seeking backers. Did he know of anyone?
The couple, George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia, went on to co-found Compass with funding from Apeiron and Thiel. The company generates no revenue and last year lost $19.6 million, but it’s still worth $1.3 billion. The pitch to investors is that its value lies in its potential.
The son of a secretary and an engineer from a small town in Bavaria, Angermayer got his investing start at the age of 20.
At the University of Bayreuth he studied under two biotech professors, Stefan Limmer and Roland Kreutzer, whose research on RNA interference technology he found fascinating. The pair were pondering next steps and Angermayer urged them to commercialize their findings. They formed a company and Angermayer was charged with cold-calling venture capitalists to raise money. Their business, Ribopharma, later merged with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
In addition to managing money, Apeiron markets itself as an adviser to startups seeking advice and backers, touting Angermayer’s network of artists, stars and scientists as evidence of its creativity and reach. A March presentation by the company boasts of “having the most comprehensive SPAC strategy in Europe.”
That strategy may require an exit plan if the fissures emerging in the SPAC market widen to gulfs. U.S. regulators are expressing more concern over the vehicles and deals are being delayed. After an ascendant 2020, the IPOX SPAC index is negative for the year.
Angermayer for his part isn’t worried in the least. “These companies trust me,” he said of potential SPAC targets. “We’ve built an amazing deal-flow machine.
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A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)
SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)
15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)
US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)
Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)
Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)
Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)
Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)
Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)
Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)
Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)
Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?
1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)
Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)
Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)
Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)
TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)
Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)
China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)
Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)
“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)
Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)
The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)
US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)
US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)
EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)
The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)
Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)
As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)
Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)
‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)
Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)
Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)
Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)
Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)
Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)
World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)
Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)
Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures
From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)
These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)
Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)
Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography
This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)
Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)
Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)
Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)
JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)
Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes
Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)
There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)
You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)
North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets
Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)
Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)
Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)
The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)
Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)
Recession Is Looming, or Not. Here’s How To Know (#GotBitcoin?)
How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)
Many U.S. Financial Officers Think a Recession Will Hit Next Year (#GotBitcoin?)
Definite Signs of An Imminent Recession (#GotBitcoin?)
What A Recession Could Mean for Women’s Unemployment (#GotBitcoin?)
Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)
Goldman Is Looking To Reduce “Marcus” Lending Goal On Credit (Recession) Caution (#GotBitcoin?)
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