DeVos Heir to $5 Billion Amway Fortune Bets on Family Office
(Bloomberg) -- Doug DeVos, heir to one of America’s biggest retail fortunes, is building up his own family office, marking at least the sixth private investment firm for the politically influential dynasty.
Continuum Ventures was created in 2020 by the 57-year-old son of Amway Corp.’s late co-founder Richard DeVos Sr., who used his fortune from the direct-selling giant to back conservative U.S. political causes and buy the Orlando Magic basketball team.
Michael Deming joined Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Continuum last month as director of investments after leaving his role as head of corporate development at Amway, where DeVos is co-chairman.
Led by former Amway Chief Operating Officer Mike Cazer, Continuum backed a fund targeting family-owned Michigan businesses last year and also acquired a local boat dealership. The DeVos family has a net worth of about $5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“We’re a startup firm focused on investments that seek to make a positive and long-lasting impact,” Cazer, Continuum’s chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement.
Investment firms that manage the financial affairs of the world’s ultra-wealthy have proliferated in recent years, with some families creating multiple entities as their fortunes surge.
The DeVoses initially set up RDV Corp. in 1991 to manage their wealth, as well as create opportunities for family members to collaborate. The firm, also based in Grand Rapids, has since hired more than 100 employees including chefs, boat managers and nannies in addition to investment professionals.
RDV in 2014 invested $100 million in the now-collapsed blood-testing startup Theranos, whose founder, Elizabeth Holmes, was convicted in January of fraud and awaits sentencing. In 2015, RDV spun out alternative-assets firm Ottawa Private Capital Group to manage outside capital. Ottawa has $13.3 billion in assets under management, according to a regulatory filing last month, and is now controlled by another family-owned company -- Wakestream Holdings -- following an internal restructuring in 2020.
An additional family office, Windquest Group, manages money for Doug’s brother, Dick, 66, and his wife, Betsy, 64, who served as education secretary under President Donald Trump before quitting over the 2021 Capitol riots. Their son, Rick, created investment firm Wakestream Ventures about a decade ago.
DeVos Sr., who died in 2018 at age 92, started Amway with former high school classmate Jay Van Andel in 1959 and turned it into the world’s largest direct-selling company, marketing products such as Nutrilite dietary supplements. The families still own Amway, now a unit of closely held Alticor. It had revenue of $8.5 billion in 2020.
The elder DeVos served as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and was a close friend of former President Gerald Ford, serving as an honorary pallbearer at his state funeral. The DeVoses were big donors to educational causes and museums, as well as conservative think tanks including the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
Doug DeVos is Richard’s youngest son. He started working at Amway in 1986 and later served as president for more than a decade.
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