This is an unusual portfolio for unusual financial conditions: space travel, psychedelics, films, Covid, cryptocurrency, life extension, marijuana, SPAC companies. These are just a few of Christian Angermeier’s investments.
On Wall Street, almost no one knows his name. But be that as it may, the 42-year-old German billionaire looks like a symbol of the era, or at least the last crazy year. He made his fortune in risky and bizarre projects during a massive bull rally in all markets.
His family office, Apeiron Investment Group, is the lead investor in seven companies that have entered the open market over the past year and have collectively raised over $ 1 billion. According to some reports, ten more of his portfolio companies are in line for an IPO this year.
“I just invest in something that interests me and that inspires me,” Angermeier said in an interview. “It spurs me on.”
Angermeier is the epitome of a new era of investing, where once-futuristic concepts start to be funded and stocks rise on a wave of hope. He is the German Chamat Palihapitiya, the king of SPAC, who considers himself the Warren Buffett of the Reddit era.
Unlike Palihapitiya, Angermeier is not supported by traditional financial institutions or social media. However, he maintains relationships with some of the world’s most influential investors, including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Peter Thiel.
“He’s probably the most outgoing person I’ve ever met,” said Mike Novogratz, a former partner of the $ 7 billion Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The couple founded the Cryptology Asset Group and jointly invested in psychedelic projects.
“He has created an amazing network of people who love him and have learned to trust him because he makes money for them. He is a terrific fundraiser, ”added Novogratz.
Thanks to such a wide range of contacts, Angermeier also found himself involved in two dirty corporate deals in Germany.
His family office in Malta, Apeiron, helped the Chinese HNA Group acquire a 9.9% stake in Deutsche Bank AG in 2017, allowing his friend Gerd Alexander Schutz to sit on the bank’s supervisory board. Soon the stake had to be sold as the conglomerate faced debt problems. He filed for bankruptcy this year.
According to the Financial Times, Angermeier also received an intermediary commission of 13 million euros ($ 15.6 million) for dating executives from SoftBank and Wirecard AG. SoftBank’s $ 1 billion investment boosted the company’s equity capital in the year before its collapse in June 2020.
Now Schutz faces criminal prosecution for transactions with Wirecard shares. He is also leaving Deutsche Bank’s board amid criticism that he has called on former Wirecard CEO Marcus Brown to “end” the FT for criticizing him.
Angermeier declined to comment on the deal.
Apeiron has $ 2.5 billion in assets, half of which is owned by Angermeier. According to a March presentation, which Bloomberg was able to read, the fund’s annual internal rate of return has averaged more than 50% over the past ten years.
Its newly registered companies include AbCellera Biologics Inc., which helped develop a combination drug based on antibodies to Covid-19, and pharmaceutical startup Compass Pathways Plc, which is developing a drug for the treatment of depression based on an active ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Atai Life Sciences, a biotech company that develops psychedelic drugs, which Angermeier founded with Thiel’s support and through which he owns a stake in Compass, was recently valued at $ 2 billion. The company filed for an IPO on Tuesday. And he has a $ 200 million SPAC in development.
But not all listings were successful. Following its February IPO, cancer drug research company Sensei Biotherapeutics Inc. lost 30% of the cost.
However, Angermeier exudes confidence, as if he never makes mistakes. When asked how he hedges a portfolio, he replied “no way.” He created a universe around his family office that seems to be part of a Hollywood script.
List of companies in which Christian Angermeier has invested directly or indirectly
By the way, he is also involved in the creation of films: he has acted as a producer or executive producer of 21 films, including last year’s biopic about Marcel Marceau “Resistance”. In January, actress Uma Thurman became an investor in Sensei Biotherapeutics.
His curiosity “allows him to spot trends right away, or to invent and create an entire sector,” Thiel wrote in an email.
Funding for futuristic projects
Angermeier also became famous for his connections with the political elite. According to him, he talks with Angela Merkel, is an adviser to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and holds meetings several times a year with the participation of heads of state, investors and scientists in addition to the think tank he created – Angermayer Policy and Innovation Forum.
“This is an investor who has fully understood the importance of geopolitics to long-term strategy,” says Benedict Franke, CEO of the Munich Security Conference.
“I understand politicians better than investors,” he said. – One of the reasons I am very happy is because I am very honest with myself. I want everyone to like me. “
According to Angermeier, his main goal is to make the world a happier place.
This goal led him to pay attention to psychedelics, in particular psilocybin – the active substance of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Compass Pathways, which has doubled in value since its listing in September, is exploring ways to use the compound to help people with drug-resistant depression.
As a teetotaler, Angermeier would hardly be promoting drugs, let alone being illegal in many countries. Still, a conversation with a neuroscientist (he doesn’t say who) over dinner eight years ago piqued his interest. The doctor agreed that Angermeier had done the right thing by giving up harmful drugs, including alcohol, but that was not the case with mushrooms.
Angermeier refers to the scheme of the British researcher David Nutt, which ranked 20 drugs according to the degree of their harmfulness both for the user and for others. Alcohol comes first and mushrooms come last. Treatment options with hallucinogenic but non-addictive psilocybin were studied with LSD in the 1950s and 60s. But when drugs became widespread in the hippie countercultural movement, they were banned.
Angermeier’s first psychedelic journey in 2015 changed everything. He was in the Caribbean (where these substances are allowed) with a group of close friends.
“This is the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my entire life, nothing can really compare to it,” he said.
He cannot pinpoint why, but it was a moment of deep self-discovery and ego pacification. And he finally understood what bitcoin is.
Search for sponsors
About a year later, he tried mushrooms again, having the same effect that rocked his life. On the way home, he stopped in New York, where he told Novogratz about the idea of launching a commercial production of psychedelics. A day later, Novogratz called him. His sister Amy had just met a couple in Bali who were trying to start a psilocybin business and were looking for sponsors. Has he heard of them?
Spouses George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaya founded Compass with financial support from Apeiron and Thiel. The company is not profitable and lost $ 19.6 million last year, but it is worth $ 1.3 billion. For investors, all value lies in its potential.
Angermeier, the son of a secretary and engineer from a small town in Bavaria, started investing at the age of 20.
At the University of Bayreuth, he studied with two professors of biotechnology, Stefan Limmer and Roland Kreutzer, whose research in the field of RNA interference technology he was very interested in. They considered the next steps, and Angermeier suggested that they use the research results for commercial purposes. They founded the company, and Angermeier had to cold-call venture capitalists to raise money. Their business, Ribopharma, later merged with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
In addition to money management, Apeiron is positioned as a consultant for startups looking for advice and sponsors. According to the March presentation, the company “has the most complete SPAC strategy in Europe.”
But this strategy may require an exit plan if the cracks appearing in the SPAC market turn into an abyss. US regulators are increasingly concerned about the funds being used and deals are being delayed. After rising in 2020, the IPOX SPAC index is in negative territory this year.
As for Angermeier, he is not in the least worried.
“These companies trust me,” he said of the potential goals of SPAC. “We’ve built an amazing deal flow machine.”