General Atlantic has something no other private equity firm has — Charles F. Feeney. The billionaire founded the firm in 1980 after getting rich from the Duty Free Shoppers Group, which he cofounded in 1960.
Freeney was known as the billionaire who wanted to die broke, and now the 89-year-old has given away all his money to charity, over $8 billion over four decades, in almost total secrecy. He's living on $2 million, and his giving inspired two of the world's richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to have a commitment to philanthropy and give away their own billions. They took the Giving Pledge, which has enlisted more than 90 of the world’s richest to (eventually) grant half their wealth to charity.
"I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living — to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition," said Freeney, who founded The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the world.
That same spirit is part of the culture at General Atlantic, which has 179 investment professionals based in New York City, Greenwich, Palo Alto, Sao Paulo, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Mexico City, Singapore, and Jakarta.
They work with leading entrepreneurs and innovative growth companies across four sectors (consumer, financial services, healthcare, and technology) to deliver value for family and institutional capital partners. They also are exploring new investment opportunities in emerging markets and technology opportunities in India, China, and Latin America.
"Some of the business models that are innovators in emerging markets will become the next global norm," General Atlantic CEO Bill Ford said in 2019.
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