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Social media service for wealthy families plans social impact arm

A social media platform for wealthy families has targeted the same demographic that uses its service to raise €1.2 million to fund its growing advisory division and establish a new arm that will offer advice on social impact investing.

A social media platform for wealthy families has targeted the same demographic that uses its service to raise €1.2 million to fund its growing advisory division and establish a new arm that will offer advice on social impact investing.

Launched in 2008, several years after Facebook was founded and Twitter was taking off, TrustedFamily aims to aid multi-generational families spread across jurisdictions to keep in contact and liaise about professional, financial and personal matters.

The website, which is available to wealthy families for an annual fee, provides a social network where family businesses and family offices can share company reports, minutes, family constitutions and even documents like family trees.

It has recently expanded into advisory services for multi-generational families, offering in-person advice and events on next gen education and communication to reinforce family cohesion, building on the expertise it acquired offering these types of services online.

It recently opened its first office outside its Belgian headquarters in New York, as 40% of its clients are based in the US, and now has plans to open offices in Latin America and Asia.

TrustedFamily is also planning on using the money raised to develop a social impact arm, which will advise families on the opportunities to create a difference in society, both financially, for example impact investing, and non-financially, for example individual family members helping community organisations.

Steven Serneels, the vice chairman of the TrustedFamily board, who has a background in impact investing, explained that while most families had philanthropic commitments, the older generation often only thought in terms of donations and weren't always aware of the possibilities of investing in for-profit social impact enterprises.

He added that part of TrustedFamily's new service line will be helping educate the family as a whole on impact strategies and the role of impact investing, facilitating communication between different generations, assisting them in identify opportunities and helping them decide collectively which social impact opportunities they want to pursue.

Next-gen founders Edouard Thijssen and Edouard Janssen, members of the Aliaxis plastics machinery business and chemical company Solvay respectively, raised the cash from a consortium of investors, including family member Jean-Marie Solvay – a Solvay board member since 1991, and Piet Colruyt, member of the Board of the retail Group Colruyt. Charles-Antoine Janssen, brother of one of the co-founders, replaced his retiring father on the TrustedFamily Board.

Joachim Vandaele, non-family chief executive, said the fundraise indicates the trust client families, and the industry puts in the business.  

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