Rare new role for tech tycoon
Apple pioneer Wozniak teams up with Mone in venture fund
Apple Computer tycoon Steve Wozniak has confirmed that he is joining Baroness Michelle Mone and her partner Doug Barrowman as a co-founder of Equi Global, the venture capital tech innovator.
Equi Global has set set itself up as “a unique opportunity to disrupt the venture capital industry” by combining the conventional principles of investing with a blockchain ‘back end’ that allows value to be realised and then traded in the open market through the EquiToken.
Mr Wozniak’s involvement has raised eyebrows across the business sector, particularly in view of recent developments at what he calls “something very special”. In September Equi canned its initial coin offering (ICO) after failing to get enough investment amid a row over how much the people who had been promoting it should be paid.
As co-founder of Equi Global Mr Wozniak, who set up Apple with Steve Jobs, will head up technology investments and “help find the tech stars of tomorrow”, according to a press release. He will introduce them to a board of serial entrepreneurs who will mentor and coach them.
The Equi fund is both open-ended and liquid, allowing investors the opportunity to sell their EquiTokens on external cryptocurrency exchanges at a time of their choosing. Investors can buy into the fund and then trade out through the liquidity created by the EquiToken.
The company claims it is “a potential game-changer in the venture capital industry and a model that many others are expected to follow.”
Up to 80% of investment by Equi will be in technology companies with the balance being in assets such as real estate and investment collectibles, such as art and vintage cars.
Mr Wozniak said: “I get ideas pitched to me every single day in fact dozens and I always say no. Since I co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, this is about the second time in twenty years that I actually said yes, I want to be a part of this. It has to be something I really believe in, and I really believe in Equi.
“I know that we have something very special with Equi..and will very much be an actively involved proud co-founder.”
He continued: “I am very pleased that my business partners are the respected Michelle and Doug. They are both very determined people who have both achieved what few people can do.
“In the case of Michelle she has succeeded well against the odds, she started her own business at just 24 and turned it into a global brand of huge stature which she sold four years ago.
“Michelle has also invested wisely in the tech space and understands the significance of blockchain technology and how it will radically change business. She has multiple business interests and is one of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs. Her creativity and drive is brilliant for business because she brings diversity to the table. HM The Queen of The United Kingdom has even recognised her achievements.
“Doug is a highly accomplished businessman and is also a problem-solver, thanks to his highly attuned analytical skills.
“Last year Doug successfully launched the world’s first large-scale property development, available for sale in Bitcoin. I greatly admire Michelle and Doug for their huge accomplishments.”
Mr Wozniak added: “We are the teachers and I believe in that so strongly because, Apple was strongly mentored.
‘The enjoyment we had, the passion, starting the company, the excitement, it’s the most exciting thing. I like to see it happen for others and just to be a part of being able to help make it happen for a lot of others out there is going to be a big deal for me. I think I have an important role and I can help a lot.
“We’ve already got over 20 businesses that we are looking at and we haven’t even officially launched yet. It’s going to be very exciting. Ultimately, our mission is to seek, support and fund the blockchain and tech stars of tomorrow. Equi Global is a game-changer.”
The company claims it will be able to attract the budding start-up stars of tomorrow (not just start-ups) on a growth trajectory – “the new Apples and Facebooks of the world – before they become famous.”
Lady Mone said: “Woz has always been my business icon and it’s a dream come true to be working with him at EQUI.”