Impact Investing · · 37 min read

Building a Sustainable Family Office With Scott Saslow, Founder of ONE WORLD Investments

In episode 74 of the Investing in Impact podcast, I speak with Scott Saslow, Founder of ONE WORLD Investments, on his journey into impact and sustainable investing, family offices, and his new book.

Building a Sustainable Family Office With Scott Saslow, Founder of ONE WORLD Investments
Photo by Barna Bartis

In episode 74 of the Investing in Impact podcast, I speak with Scott Saslow, Founder of ONE WORLD Investments, on his journey into impact and sustainable investing, family offices, and his new book.

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This content is for informational and entertainment purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


About Scott

Scott is an accomplished entrepreneur and impact investor with a proven track record of developing successful businesses and products.

He is the founder ONE WORLD Investments, and performed key roles at The Institute of Executive Development, Microsoft, and Siebel Systems, among others.

Scott is the author of the book, "Building a Sustainable Family Office: An Insider's Guide to What Works and What Doesn't," published by Greenleaf Publishing Group and available on Amazon.

As an impact investor, advisor, and consultant, Scott works with both for-profit and non-profit social enterprises.

He founded ONE WORLD Investments, an organization that provides training and investment capital to social impact enterprises in the Bay Area, aimed at improving lives globally.


About ONE WORLD Investments

ONE WORLD Investments leverages its Silicon Valley base to offer innovative and profitable approaches to increasing social impact.

The organization supports a diverse network of entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate professionals, and provides capital through various investment vehicles to early-stage companies, impact private equity and venture capital funds, and public markets, all aimed at scaling social impact.


About the episode

Scott discusses his journey into impact investing and the importance of building sustainable family offices. He explains that family offices are the infrastructure created to manage wealth and philanthropy for wealthy individuals and families.

However, many family offices are not sustainable and fail during generational transitions.

Scott emphasizes the need for a new model in managing family offices to ensure their longevity and impact. He also explores the role of family offices in impact investing and the ripple effect their failures can have on society.

Family offices are increasingly interested in sustainable and impact investing, but many are still in the early stages of incorporating these strategies.

The younger generation within family offices is often the driving force behind these initiatives, as they have a socially minded approach and a desire to make a positive impact.

While many family offices already engage in philanthropy, there is an opportunity to go beyond traditional giving and use investment capital to address social and environmental concerns.

The change towards more sustainable and impact-focused family offices can come from both the principles themselves and the non-family professionals they work with.

Buy the book on Amazon


Full transcript

Grant (01:52.462)
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Scott, for joining me today. Really excited to chat about, you know, your journey and everything you've built so far with sort of one world, what that path was and what that trajectory looks like going forward. And we'll touch on building a sustainable family office, your book that I'm jealous that you wrote. But before we get into all that, talk about your your sort of journey into impact investing, maybe sort of your career arc and maybe what was the catalyst, you know,

Scott Saslow (01:56.551)
Thank you.

Grant (02:21.358)
for making that, not necessarily pivot, but just a new chapter in your life, kind of focusing on capital and sort of having impact in the world through sort of business.

Scott Saslow (02:32.071)
Absolutely, Grant. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it and really appreciate the work that you guys do with CauseArtist and the related funds. Okay, my backstory. So I grew up in Chicago. I studied economics undergrad at Northwestern. I knew I was interested in business. I didn't know what industry or, you know, kind of type of business, quite honestly, big, small startup, big company. And I had a chance to work out

after undergrad in Chicago in a couple different kind of startup scenarios. One was in a, let's call it mid -sized manufacturing company where I helped to start a new product line. I then actually before that went to a management consulting company where I had a chance to work on companies big and small going through turnarounds and having to kind of restart their business efforts.

So I saw a few different industries at a pretty early age and played a different variety of roles, operating, finance, management, that sort of thing. I then went on to get my business degree. I got an MBA, which was a great experience for me that exposed me even further to a whole host of different industries and ways to think about business and the ways that business can be used.

I joined Microsoft right out of my MBA, which was a really interesting time. This was actually in the late 1990s. The internet was just taking off and I had a chance to go work on some really cool internet businesses at Microsoft. I then moved to Silicon Valley after that experience. So I've been in Silicon Valley now 25 years and my time in Silicon Valley has been certainly in tech, as you might guess.

Grant (04:03.886)
Hmm. Yeah.

Scott Saslow (04:22.951)
I had a chance to go work for an enterprise software company called Siebel before the days when Siebel was ultimately sold to Oracle. So that was kind of cool seeing software from kind of the business side. And then my job right after that, I actually took a timeout from tech. I wanted to do something that was still connected to business, but I felt like it had a little bit more of a...

kind of human slash humane element, if you will, after working in kind of grinding it out in tech.

Grant (04:54.638)
So this was after .com bubble maybe. Okay.

Scott Saslow (04:58.279)
Exactly. Yeah, right. The dot com bubble, you know, that was around that period is when I moved to Silicon Valley. So then I had my Siebel years, which were like early 2000s. And then around 2005, I started a leadership development company. Leadership development was a field I had some exposure to because actually I was building learning and development products at Siebel. But then I had the chance to really do this as my own company and

help leaders in big companies get from point A to point B through customized services. That might be everything from like one -on -one executive coaching to working with groups of leaders, 20, 30 at a time in a cohort. It was fascinating work and very kind of intellectually stimulating. I enjoyed it, again, saw a variety of industries. And I had done that for about 12 years when I...

I kind of then really took a time out and said, okay, what's kind of the next chapter going to be for me? This was now forward up to 2015. And that's where I first learned of what I call the impact economy. So I had, I remember very clearly, I had a meeting with someone in one of the impact hubs. There used to be these impact hubs. I think there's some around, but I know some have struggled. Basically these co -working spaces for

Grant (06:18.606)
Yeah.

Scott Saslow (06:21.095)
for social entrepreneurs and impact investors to kind of get together, meet one another, help one another. It was a very cool model. And the ones in San Francisco are pretty interesting. And I remember first going into one of those for a meeting and I was meeting a friend there who kind of worked out there and I was like, wait, what is this whole economy? I mean, I never, of course I know about like for -profit businesses and I know about, you know, not -for -profits and foundations and, you know, the like, but what is this kind of animal? It kind of sits in between.

And as I did more digging and learning about this field, both from kind of the social entrepreneur perspective, the investor, what I saw was that it was professionalizing, that there was a lot of institutional capital that was coming into the space. I saw that the corporate, you know, this might be thought of as CSR type activity, that that was getting more and more interesting. It was, it was less of, let's say a side project and just

Grant (07:06.606)
Yep.

Scott Saslow (07:20.199)
You know, a big corporation that has some of its employees do some volunteering for nonprofits, that's all fine and well. But I was seeing a whole nother layer and kind of approach where corporates were saying, you know, there's actually some things that we can do that will help us from a business perspective also scale our social impact. That might be, you know, targeting certain customer sets with our products and services that are underserved today. That might be innovative ways in which we think about

our hiring so we can bring in a more diverse workforce. That might be some innovative ways we think about our carbon footprint and what are some things that we can do to mitigate our impact that are also good business moves. They're gonna save us energy, they're gonna save us water usage, real win -wins as I like to think of them. So I got very excited about entering this field. It was 2015, I had come from the learning and development.

field with my previous consultancy. So for me, that was a logical starting point. And I said, well, look, let me see if I can stand up a business, a for -profit, but social impact type business that will help people in this impact economy. I really wanted to target them as my customer set. And I knew a bit about training and development. So this was the first one world organization we stood up. It still exists today. It's our one world training public benefit corporation. And,

Grant (08:31.342)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (08:44.519)
You know, it earns its money through delivering products and services to, yes, entrepreneurs who are needing to learn more about social entrepreneurship and running their businesses and growing and financing and all that. We've also served investors over the years, impact investors, people that want to become impact investors. How do we do that? And so we would build programming and activities and consulting services to help this community. Fast forward to 2018.

We created our second One World entity and that is the One World Impact Fund. So yes, among the things we do, we are investors. We invest in early stage seed and pre -seed social impact for -profit companies. We're pretty agnostic around the industry, but in practice, most of our companies are either EdTech, digital health companies, sustainable energy, sustainable food,

And then we also have a few kind of in the economic opportunity realm. And this is a very exciting part of our work. So we have kind of the services and the training piece. We now have the investing piece. And then there's a third entity we've created, which is what we call One World Global. And that is where we are allocating capital into other asset classes. The Early Stage Impact Fund, that is one type of, you know, one class of assets, specifically venture capital, early stage.

Grant (09:48.974)
Yeah.

Scott Saslow (10:09.447)
But we also deploy capital into later stage private equity, into the public markets, into public equities, fixed income. So we're really trying to build really the goal for the broader one world is to help organizations scale their impact. And where we as an investor are showing up, we're trying to do this in such a way that we have built a portfolio across all asset classes that is yes, of course, sustainable, but also market rate.

Grant (10:15.534)
Hmm.

Scott Saslow (10:39.143)
I'll say a quick word on this, which is we believe it's very important for not just those of us who work in the impact field. We already kind of get it, the importance of doing this and that it can be done at market rate without concessions. But what we really want to influence is those that are maybe on the fence. They know a little bit about impact in sustainable investing or they've heard about it or whatever investor type they may be or capital holder.

Grant (10:41.358)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (11:08.903)
There's a lot of rumors and kind of legacy thinking and legacy data which exists in the field that, you know, impact investing, yeah, that's a nice idea, but you won't make money. You're gonna lose money doing it. Or, it's kind of like philanthropy, right? Like you're giving away money, it's just instead of giving it to a not -for -profit, you're giving it to a for -profit. We believe it's really important. We have this kind of phrase, profitable social impact.

that for the next wave of capital to come into the impact field, which is what we want, that needs to be done and that will only be done when investors believe that they can have it both ways. They can both make money as they would expect in different asset classes, a risk adjusted return, and they can do something that's good for the planet and good for people.

Grant (11:59.342)
You mentioned the fund, the early stage fund, and then you mentioned the other one world entity where it's PE and public equities. How do you look at, I think it's much more simplified, early stage startups. If you're invested in an ed tech company or a tech company delivering a software system for farmers to become more regenerative or something like that, there's...

very clear sort of impact model right there and very clear sort of profit metrics and impact metrics. When you look at.

private equity or public equity is much harder, I think, to put that lens on things. So how do you in one world look at, you know, taking off your early stage, you know, impact lens for startups and kind of putting a similar hat on, but it probably could be different when looking at opportunities in PE or sort of public equities.

Scott Saslow (13:02.087)
Great, great question. And not to confuse anyone out there with kind of more terms, because I know that's one of the things the impact field is already kind of rightfully so criticized around. But when it comes to public market investing, so for stocks and bonds, as they used to be called, now they're called equity and fixed income, I would actually use a phrase. I think what we're doing and others are doing, quite honestly, I think of that more as sustainable investing.

Grant (13:11.278)
Sure.

Scott Saslow (13:31.431)
And I think it's very important. I don't think it's like, you know, impact investing is better than sustainable or vice versa. No, no, it's just, I think it's a little different. And so what I see we're doing, let's just, I'll speak for ourselves in the public markets is we're providing capital to businesses. And this also, you know, gets into the whole ESG kind of alphabet soup. But what I believe that's all about in essence is are you putting money into companies?

Grant (13:36.91)
Right. Yep.

Grant (13:53.486)
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (14:00.999)
that you feel values align the way that they operate. The way that they operate, it might not be what they create, okay? So to contrast that, as you kind of said, you started, well, if you have like an early stage ed tech company that's focused on, I'm just gonna make it up here, dyslexic children, okay? And maybe, maybe just maybe that's an underserved category of students, but we know that they need the right kind of training, development, education, but.

Grant (14:07.854)
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (14:29.831)
an impact, a social entrepreneur might say, I want to build a business just for them. And I'm going to figure out a smart business model. So there would be an example, I think, of what the company is actually creating. There's good in that they're doing something that's very important for an underserved population. Or maybe a fintech company that's targeting certain minority groups that typically don't have access to credit. You contrast that with public market investing where like, well, you know, look,

Grant (14:41.646)
Mmm.

Scott Saslow (14:59.495)
As an investor, I want to have some percentage of my portfolio in, quote, the stock market. And we're not going to just pick one or two stocks, but we probably want a basket. So we want to have some IBM and we want to have some Caterpillar. We want to have some pharmaceutical companies. We want to have some. But I care deeply about how those companies are run. And I don't want to invest in ones that have terrible ESG scores, that are terrible track records in terms of their environment.

or how they treat their employees or how they think about their supply chain. So that's what I believe as an investor we are able to achieve. We are funneling capital, our little piece of it, into companies that we think are operating in a way that, again, aligns with our values. And we also don't, it's called negative screening, right? We're pulling out of companies that we might not be excited to support. Now, sometimes the lines get blurry.

Grant (15:52.974)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (15:57.799)
let's take something like Tesla. Okay. I would argue Tesla, you know, put the Elon shenanigans aside. Just think about what Tesla as a company has done for the auto industry and many others, which I think it's not an understatement. They've really revolutionized that industry. They've really helped in a major way. The auto industry and now some adjacent industries go electric. And that's, and their intention.

Grant (16:22.174)
for sure.

Scott Saslow (16:25.703)
because intention comes in a lot with impact investing. Their intention, if you really look at what was written in the very early days, the founding of the company, it was all about supporting sustainable energy and getting to electric. So I would argue as a company, what they're actually doing is tremendously valuable for the planet and society. Now, does that? Well, but there's a lot of Tesla because of the CEO.

Grant (16:49.07)
I don't think many people would argue that. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. There's a lot of Elon haters, but that's different, right?

Scott Saslow (16:56.263)
There's a lot of you in here and to be fair, there's a lot of people that look at some of the company policies and those again, maybe are intertwined with tech with Elon and be like, I don't like how they bully employees. I don't like how they force NDAs on their employees. I don't like how they, what their gender track record is terrible. So long way of answering your question when it comes to public market investing.

Grant (17:07.982)
Hmm.

Scott Saslow (17:21.159)
I call that more sustainable investing. And what I'm looking for is companies, the way they operate. Now it could be a great win if not only the way they're operating is positive and the research shows that companies that have good ESG scores tend to correlate with good financial performance. If they also are creating, you know, the direct end of what they're doing is good for planet, good for people, you know, that's a double win, but often you don't get that.

When it comes to what I call impact investing, that's in the private markets. That can be seed where we play. That can also be later stage growth and other forms of PE that can be real estate. Now you're talking about investing in solutions to actual problems. And now you could also have, same thing could exist there, quite honestly. You could have a company whose end product or service

Grant (18:05.582)
Hmm.

Interesting.

Scott Saslow (18:20.679)
would be deemed as beneficial and making a positive impact. But the way in which they run their company is lousy for employees, for suppliers, for the community. So sometimes you can't have it all. And that's what I say about Tesla is like, look, sometimes you can't have it all. I wish Tesla had a better record on a lot of things. So anyways, that's how to approach that one.

Grant (18:31.726)
That's how that happens. Yeah, no.

Grant (18:45.902)
Yeah, there was a, there was a, Albert's, you know, raised a lot of, a lot of funding as a startup and then it went public. And, you know, I think, I mean, they, their stock price is like a dollar, right? I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's been rough in the public markets for them, but they're what they solve for and sort of their supply chain is a, is amazing what they've, what they've done from a solution standpoint.

has been really, really amazing. Like they have sort of built a lot of really interesting ecosystems, new materials they brought to market. Like they've done some amazing sort of sustainable impact things, but as a public company, they've been ran really poorly, right? They've expanded too many products and now it's, they're looked at, I think a bit differently. And it goes back to your point of like sometimes

the solution and the company can be, you know, two different things. You might have a company that does impactful or sustainable things as their like foundational method, but their hiring practices are valuable. If you, if you're an employee, they'll send you to college for free. There's a lot of really powerful benefits that a company can offer to their employees.

But they can only offer that they stay in business. And so part of the, this sort of sustainable and impact ecosystem is like the sustainable part is not necessarily just environment, but it's also like existing, you know, and being sustainable over years to provide that impact to local economies or the environment, whatever your solution is you're trying to solve. But that, I think that's the way into, into the book, building a sustainable family office.

Scott Saslow (20:22.215)
Absolutely.

Grant (20:39.726)
I want to kind of get your insights into family offices in a couple of things. One kind of, where do you see that they fit in this stack of, you know, we just talked about early stage investments, private equity, public markets. You know, when you have conversations with them and your relationships with them, you know, let's say over the last 10 years or so, how has...

take us into their world and sort of what do they look at from a, hey, I wanna be a sustainable family office in that we are here for the next 100 years, right? As if, you know, sustain our family wealth. And then most, obviously have a philanthropic arm to this as well as what most family offices have. How have you seen maybe that kind of maybe blend into more of, hey, how do we also...

have our philanthropic mind, but put that maybe to allocate businesses that are maybe trying to solve, like you said, the solution that a nonprofit might be able to solve. But hey, maybe these companies can solve this too. And we can also sustain our family wealth by investing in certain startups. I guess, how do they look at this whole ecosystem of sustainable finance or impact finance, whatever you want to call it.

Scott Saslow (22:00.263)
Yeah, yeah. No, you're bringing up some really great questions. So let me see if I can unpack that a bit. First off, just definition for any of your listeners maybe that are less familiar with what is a family office. Family office generally refers to the infrastructure, the people, the process, some of the legal entities that a wealthy person, but it's usually family, group of families, it could be husband, wife, it could be husband, wife and their kids. Sometimes they extend multiple generations.

It's that infrastructure that's created to help them manage their wealth, yes, but also their philanthropy. Also, if they're doing impact investing, about half of family offices actually are already doing impact investing. If they're doing other things, they own operating businesses, for example. So that's what a family office is. The reason I wrote the book is there are small...

number of family offices. The estimates are somewhere in the ballpark of 10 ,000 globally. However, the problem is, many of them are not sustainable. And we're going to not use the kind of the definition of sustainable that refers to investing. We're actually going to talk about kind of biggest sustainability. You referred to it like, are these organizations built to last?

Are they robust? Are they durable? Are they effective? It's that element. And what I found in doing the research, and from some of my own experience, family offices generally are not as sustainable as they need to be or can be. About 40 % of them fail each time there's a transition from one generation to the next. But we know...

Grant (23:41.166)
Mm -hmm. Yeah.

Scott Saslow (23:45.031)
that all family offices and the owners of the family office are generally referred to as the principals. All principals care very deeply that their office, which means their wealth, but plus, plus, plus is sustainable, that they have a way to pass it on. They continue to make a mark on the world, that if they're doing philanthropy, they can continue to do that because the investments are being managed properly and intelligently. So there's enough money to go around and do all the

philanthropic work. So that's just a little bit about these offices and the fact that they're not sustainable. When they're not sustainable, it has a major impact on all of us on society, right? I mean, one can argue, you know, the societal value of having, you know, a small number of people and families that have a large concentration of wealth. That point is not lost on me. I'm not not here to say that's a good thing or a bad thing. But the point I would make is we're all we all are connected to that.

fact in some way, shape or form. Family offices provide about 10 % of all dollars into all new startups. They're incredible. You know, they've an incredible important role in helping us start new businesses. Family offices on average give about $11 million annually to philanthropy. Those are big, big dollars. So when a family office fails and that investment activity and philanthropic activities stops or slows down, there's a major ripple effect.

So that's what gets me excited is trying to help these offices become more sustainable the way I defined it. And what I ultimately believe, and maybe we can get into a little bit is essentially there needs to be a new model in how the family office principals manage their family office, because it's pretty clear the old model is not working.

Grant (25:33.422)
What is that old model?

Scott Saslow (25:35.527)
Well, the old or let's say existing model for most is a lot of principles, quite honestly, this might come in a surprising way, they're not very connected to the office. Either it might be a situation where a lot of wealth was created by one of the members in the family and either that person has kind of gone on to do other things that he or she.

Grant (25:49.774)
Hmm.

Scott Saslow (26:02.279)
is always wanted to do while they're busy creating the wealth all those years, or they just are kind of checked out, or they hire an outside person and think it's all going to be great, but they are not really watching the house. There's so many examples of that, especially when wealth is fortunate enough for the family to get passed on to, let's say, a next generation and an inheritor.

often they have no idea how to properly manage that wealth. And of course we all have the stereotypes about, you know, like trust fund babies or inheritors that, you know, just drive their Ferraris and don't work and all that. And okay, there's examples of that. But quite honestly, there are so many more examples of people connected to a family office ecosystem who actually want to do something valuable and productive with that wealth. They just don't know how. And there's a whole

set of reasons why you have this kind of discrepancy. So in any event, that's what I get into in the book, but you asked some important adjacent questions to this, like, you know, well, back to maybe the sustainable investing piece of it. As I say, about half of family offices are doing some sort of sustainable investing. In some cases, this is in a tremendously, let's call it, you know, all in manner, you know, they're taking all of their assets across all assets, you know, public market assets.

private market, they're doing startups, they're doing real assets, real estate investments. But more common, quite honestly, is to see a family office that might be dabbling. Maybe they set up one sleeve of investments. Maybe they said, you know, we'll create one pocket because we know that the younger generation, for example, might want to make some early stage sustainable investments. So we'll allow for that. So I think that

Grant (27:39.918)
Sure.

Grant (27:51.822)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (27:56.263)
The good news is, and another reason, back to some of the core reasons why the family offices aren't as sustainable and robust as they can be, many haven't found a good way to involve the younger generation or additional family members, many of whom have these same kind of socially minded ways of thinking about the world and desire to make an impact. Now to be clear.

Grant (28:09.486)
Hmm.

Scott Saslow (28:23.175)
Every family I've ever seen is already doing a very kind of generous amount of philanthropy. So they are giving to non -for -profits that are setting up foundations and all that stuff in mass. I think where it gets really exciting is when you go one level beyond that and you say, well, okay, that's great. You know, this family or this couple over here, this, you know, internet founder, finance person, or whoever it is, you know, rock star, they have a whole ton of wealth.

Grant (28:30.19)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (28:52.391)
you know, let's just pick some numbers. They might have a net worth of $100 million. I mean, this is an ungodly amount of money or a billion dollars or whatever it is. And, you know, typically they might allocate maybe it's 5 % or 10%. Some people have been known to do more, but you know, maybe it's around that amount toward philanthropy. And that's amazing, right? If someone worth 100 million gives five or 10 million of philanthropy, that's awesome. And maybe they plan when they die one day to give more. Okay.

That's great, I'm not trying to belittle that at all. But the opportunity is, if you have 100 and you give five away, you still have $95 million of investment capital. What are you gonna do with that capital? And if you're someone who says, look, I have causes I care about, I care about the environment, I care about underserved populations or trying to achieve racial equity or whatever it may be.

You can do that through your investment capital. And that's where sustainable and impact investing comes in, because now you're talking about deploying capital to, you know, for -profit business models that address some of these social or environmental concerns. Many family offices either don't know much about this yet. They're kind of learning. And if they have, you know, maybe if the wealth creator, I don't want to stereotype here, but maybe the wealth creator in a lot of these

families might be in their 60s or kind of older generation. Took them decades to build the wealth they created, right? Amazing, but it took a while. But now they have kids in their 20s. And that generation, again, is very wired to saying, well, wait a sec. Hey, how wonderful is our situation? But let's see if we can do more with our money than just give to philanthropy. Let's see if while our money is sitting in the markets and sitting in the investments that it does.

Grant (30:20.11)
Sure.

Scott Saslow (30:46.439)
Maybe it can create good at the same time. That's where I think it gets really compelling.

Grant (30:52.526)
We talked a lot about.

different types of companies, startups, even there's different types of family offices everywhere geographically and whether it's age -wide or something like that. When you talk about the existing structure and sort of maybe or the existing model or the old model and now like a new model, is there something model -wise, is that?

Is that still gonna be on like the family office, like the family office principle to sort of be that driving force of that? Do they act like an executor of an estate, so to speak? Is that sort of their role in everything? And is that the person that can really change the dynamic of how a family office operates to where they can become more sustainable and preserve that?

that wealth over time in a much different and sustainable way. Is that the key? Are they the key members in a lot of this?

Scott Saslow (32:02.247)
Yeah, so is perhaps another way to think of your question, how will the change happen? Does it need to happen from the principles themselves and or could it be the professionals that they work with that are non -family? Is that, let's take that and if I haven't answered it, we'll do it again. What I would say is possibly, it's one of those answers. In the family office ecosystem,

Grant (32:17.358)
Yep. Yep.

Grant (32:26.094)
Heh.

Scott Saslow (32:31.175)
You generally have two categories of people. You have principals that are generally the family office members that the office serves. So it might be, let's say there's a woman who is the wealth creator. She may have a partner, they may have kids, depending how long this has all existed, there might be a second and third generation. There might be some cousins and whatnot that are served by the...

Those are the principles, generally shorthand family members. Although it gets a little nuanced when you have in -laws, but let's hold that for now.

Grant (33:05.038)
Is that a legal term, though? Principle? Do they legally sign off on what happens? Like, does it have to be? Like, if there's five principles, they all need to sign off on... Yeah, yeah. Gotcha.

Scott Saslow (33:07.431)
Principle?

Scott Saslow (33:16.281)
I hear you, kind of governance -wise. Again, completely depends. It depends on the terms of what are the entities that actually hold the assets. So if it's an LLC, it depends on who are the managers and who are... But my point would be you have principles on one hand and then the other group of individuals, we might call them, just let's group them and call them professionals or outside, non -family professionals.

Grant (33:28.334)
Gotcha.

Yeah.

Scott Saslow (33:46.215)
So sometimes the family office actually has its own staff. Okay. They may go hire a bunch of people, some of the billionaire, Bill Gates and Google founder. I mean, some of those enormous wealth holders, they literally will have hundreds of people that worked at their family office full time. That's all they do day and night. If you're of much more modest means and you might have, I'm just picking a number.

Grant (34:07.694)
Hmm. Yeah.

Scott Saslow (34:15.943)
50 million instead of 50 billion, that is still an enormous amount of money, but you may not need to have all these people on a full -time basis. Yeah. And so you might just, you know, you might have, instead of like hiring a team internally, you might just park your money at a JP Morgan and you may have a part -time accountant and a, you know, a part -time financial man, you know, so.

Grant (34:22.958)
Operationally, it's going to be much, much different operationally, I imagine.

Grant (34:35.47)
Mmm, gotcha

Scott Saslow (34:41.831)
My point is just all of these quote people that are non -family, whether they're full -time, part -time, internal, external, those people too can drive change. My book is written quite honestly for both populations. Yes, I want the wealth owners who tend to be more the ultimate decision maker to be able to say, I want to move to like a new model. I'm not happy with what, and I see this a lot. I see younger principles where again, maybe the parents

the wealth creators and they'll call it the G2, the next generation. And they're saying, look, mom, dad, like we have all this money, that's so great, we're fortunate and aren't we lucky, but let's do more than just put it in a bank account and not have any idea the effect it's having in the companies we invest. Like I don't want to be invested, let's just take it in oil companies or in companies that make weapons for war.

Grant (35:30.862)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (35:39.463)
be invested in a tobacco company. I just, that doesn't align with my values. So at a minimum, can we get out of those companies and let's get us in companies that are kind of doing things we care about more. And so I don't know if I fully answered your question about, you know, where's the change going to come from? I think it can come from principles and it can also come from the outside provider.

Grant (36:02.382)
Yeah, no, it's interesting to hear, you know, just like me, his family offices, they're companies, right? There's different sizes of companies everywhere. You know, you could have a hundred employees or five employees. And so it's, it's basically running a company at the end of the day. I mean, it's, it's, it's had, it has those, that those parts to it. And so it's, it's, it's really going to be interesting to see. I thought you mentioned.

the younger generation and sort of the G2 part of all this, that, I mean, they kind of really hold a lot of the power here. And power might be the wrong word, but I always say this, but like allocators of capital are like some of the most important people we have. And if we can get the next generation, like you said, you know, they...

Scott Saslow (36:48.935)
Absolutely, absolutely.

Grant (36:57.678)
they affect the entire ecosystem from philanthropy to venture capital. There's all these dominoes that they impact and that next generation is really key. Have you seen that transition? Let's go from a positive point of view. But have you seen that transition kind of work well and maybe, let's call it a case study, but what was maybe about that case study that

Perhaps other family offices can duplicate and obviously there's a lot of different dynamics, but maybe talk us through maybe a successful transition that you've seen that can be sort of a theoretic model for maybe the next hundred years of sort of family offices.

Scott Saslow (37:43.495)
Absolutely. So yes, there are definitely family offices where the next generation, I mean, I think it's always been the case, let me say this way, I think it's always been the case that when the next generation in a family office system or sometimes called the rising generation, the one that's starting to now take the reins, you know, they're not in their teens or twenties, they're now in their thirties, forties, fifties, and they're

legally, you mentioned they legally responsible, they become, depends on how the parents, for example, may have written the trust agreements or the LLC agreements and whatnot. But they might have said, you know, when my children are of a certain age, they will have access to certain capital. And by the way, when the older generation maybe turns a certain age, maybe that's 70 or 80, whatever they decide, it's probably time for them to hand the reins to the

the next gen, the rising gen. When those transitions happen, always the rising gen will want to make its mark. Okay? Now, sometimes that'll just be in the form of, you know, I never really liked my dad, my mom and dad's advisor. I'm going to go find my own. Right? Or

Grant (39:02.922)
I don't like these hydrangeas. Let's put some tulips in. That's what my wife told me.

Scott Saslow (39:06.599)
Yeah, exactly. So it's I mean, some and sometimes it's just like a chemistry like, look, I didn't hire these people. They don't really they always, you know, from the from the vantage of a next gen, it might be like,

Grant (39:17.902)
Like a sports team, you know, I didn't hire this coach coming in and replacing.

Scott Saslow (39:20.583)
Like, yeah, these aren't my people. I didn't hire them. Quite frankly, they're always a little condescending to me. They treat me like a kid, even though I'm now a grownup. And then if, so there's always been some element of, look, I want to kind of build it the way I want to build it. You had your chance, now is my chance. And I think that's actually really healthy, to be clear. I mean, it shouldn't be for a superficial reason, but, so that's always been the case. But I think what's really interesting now is,

Grant (39:27.438)
Hahaha!

Scott Saslow (39:50.439)
people are starting to question the very purpose of this capital in the first place. They're saying, okay, God, aren't I lucky I have access to some of this capital now and my family can enjoy it. First off, you know, the more let's call it progressive or enlightened next gen or rising gen members are looking at it in a way that is, you know, similar to, hey, I have this very, I have this like,

great opportunity and privilege that comes along with some of the wealth here, but it's also a responsibility to treat it well, to be a good steward, to not think of it as all mine to just go and buy sports cars or whatever I might want to do, but I need to treat this capital well. I need to make my parents proud, show them that I can be a responsible steward of wealth. And that's a wonderful thing. I think

when some of these next gen members see this opportunity to do beyond just, God, let me spend on myself and my friends, that's a really cool opportunity. And I've seen a lot of members become very, it's like they get activated. They're turned on with purpose. They're like, wow, I could do something really cool. I can make a difference.

Grant (41:09.774)
Yeah. Yeah.

Grant (41:14.797)
It's a different kind of motivation. It kind of just sparked something in you that is a little different and it's new. And I think that that's what I think helps is that it's a new challenge even maybe. And sometimes when you're at that level, you probably need, you might need a little challenge in your life. You know, you might something that invigorates you.

Scott Saslow (41:20.263)
Absolutely.

Scott Saslow (41:25.863)
Yes.

Scott Saslow (41:30.823)
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, the wealth on one hand, it can it can intimidate, it can overpower, it can overshadow, can make people feel small. And that's, you know, back to the reason why sometimes these principles, they, especially if they're next gen, they, they don't even really know how to interact with it, even as they're now becoming adults. So I hope my book helps to unlock a little bit of that. And there's others out there that have, I think, done a great job of, of helping the principles kind of, you know,

Grant (41:48.782)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (42:01.063)
get into the role that they can play. And I don't wanna say should, like I don't think this is like, I mean, I guess on one hand I do think owners of capital, no matter what scale of capital we're talking about here, they certainly in my mind have some responsibility to kind of both treat that capital well and think about the impact that that capital has on the broader society. But what I would say is it's really an opportunity. I just...

I'm part of another podcast series and one of the guests said, there, look, you know, for family members that have access to some of this capital, what's really magical is if you can help them see it as an opportunity and not an obligation. And I love that kind of framing because when you, when you look at it and you say, look, I might not be a quote business person that wants to full time run my family office.

I'm not an investments person. I didn't get trained in fight. You're like, I'm an artist, right? I work in public health. I'm a doctor, whatever you might be. But if you say if you come to terms with the fact that you are an artist, or a doctor or work in public health, and you also happen to be in a unique situation, we have some access to capital, I think it gets really cool when you then go and you say, now, how can I actually use that capital to further what I care about?

I care about art and supporting underrepresented artists or artists that have a political, whatever it may be. I want to keep doing that as an artist myself, but I also have some capital to kind of work with. How can I make this a win -win? And that's where I think it gets really exciting when, and what I would call that, and that's one of the, we talk in the book about like five ways to kind of reframe your family office and essentially make it work for you.

You know, it's finding a purpose for that capital, finding a purpose, you know, putting a purpose on the family office saying the purpose of this capital is to, you know, tackle climate change or to help, you know, K through 12 low income school districts or help transition a sustainable whatever is your cause. Capital is a tool and it can be used in a powerful way. And it doesn't have to just sit dormant, you know, in some bank account where you have no idea what's going on.

Grant (44:24.622)
I'll end on two questions here. One would be for just not, not investment advice, but general sort of advice you would give to new and emerging sustainable investors, impact investors. You know, like we said, we talked about these G2, you know, entering sort of the family office spaces, but there was also going to be a G2 of investors, right?

in or managing money. And there's a lot of different dynamics that go with this. But just again, not stock advice, but like philosophical advice of what you would tell sort of emerging investors, maybe in their career path, they're about to take that step into this sort of world. What are some of some advice you'd give them?

Scott Saslow (45:15.335)
So to be clear, Grant, we're talking about investors, people that are allocating capital into impact companies. Okay, I just want to be clear. You know, it's an interesting question. What I would say is, number one, I think it's a fascinating time to be doing this kind of work, because it is clearly, you know, no longer like a little, you know, side show or, or, you know, hidden secret of the world of investing. I mean, you cannot go to

Grant (45:22.158)
Correct.

Scott Saslow (45:44.039)
any mainstream conference on investing and not have some part of the dialogue or some part of the presentations on sustainable or ESG investing. Impact investing in the private markets has gotten to be really huge and certain early stage, you know, university business school type settings, for example, it's very prominent.

So it's a really exciting time to be in the field, number one. And I think, so it's great kind of lean into that as a new investor and go to these events and get educated and look, part of the cool thing about it being an entrepreneurial kind of new field is there's a lot of change. And I can't predict with clarity what the field's going to look like in five or 10 years. I know there's a lot of change happening. And so what are some of those changes that as a new investor, you need to kind of

figure out your point of view and your philosophy and your approach. Number one, measurement is talked about a lot. How as a new investor do I want to measure the impact of my investments? And quite honestly, I think about that both from a financial measurement and also a social or environmental impact. I'm sorry, social or environmental measurement. The latter gets a lot of airplay at impact conferences. Like I think, you know, a lot of readers will know.

Grant (47:01.998)
Yeah.

Scott Saslow (47:04.295)
And rightfully so. We need better frameworks and single ways to measure across assets and so forth and so on. All these issues are real issues. But I would also say from a financial impact, there's a variety of ways to think about how you want to measure. I would say to a new investor coming in the field, again, think about what your goals are. The majority, I think the latest data from Jin,

the Global Impact Investing Initiative, they do some really good studies. One of them, the latest one on this issue of concessionary investment, which means below market. The latest data I saw from them said 75 % of impact investors are targeting market rate returns. They're designing their strategies to be market rate and

Grant (47:36.014)
Yeah.

Scott Saslow (48:02.727)
a majority of investors are in fact pleased with their results so far in their quest to get market rate. That also means a quarter of investors are by design, okay, not just okay with it, they want, they're leaning into, let's call it concessionary or near market. And there's an important role for those kind of investors too. So that's another.

I think key decision point for a new investor is to say, well, which group do you want to be in? It's not that one's better than the other. We need both of them. But if you're, let's say your goals are you're investing for a family office or you're investing for any other type of investor, let's have some agreement around what are you trying to achieve with this money? Do you want and need market rate? Because if you need and want market rate, or if your boss, the capital owners are expecting that,

Grant (48:46.318)
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Grant (48:56.334)
Mm -hmm.

Scott Saslow (48:56.999)
And then you come to them in two years or four, and you're like, well, we did impact investments. We didn't get market, but we got kind of, you know, you could be setting yourself up for failure. So figure out what kind of returns you need. Think about how you want to, you know, tackle this measurement one, this measurement issue. That's a big one. But it's what I have found about the impact and sustainable investing ecosystem. It's very collaborative.

I mean, in Silicon Valley and early stage investing in general, I'd say it's a pretty collaborative ecosystem. When you then go to the part of that ecosystem that is impact investing, it's even more colab, people, because again, they're in it for something bigger than themselves. They're in it for more than just, I got these great returns. It's like, yeah, I got my money and I got a good return, a fair return, but look at the jobs we created or look at the impact we had.

Grant (49:33.07)
Right.

Scott Saslow (49:54.855)
So yeah.

Grant (49:56.206)
I'll end, you had mentioned, you know, the future of five to 10 years and obviously nothing is sort of predictable. But when you look at that time span, maybe five to 10 years, what would you like to, from a one world perspective, some of the goals and success that you and the team perhaps would like to sort of achieve or see come to light?

Scott Saslow (50:16.455)
Yeah, great question. We actually list some of these out on our One World website. We think about impact in three ways. We think about the number of individuals we can provide training and support to. This is from our One World training business. And I believe our latest stats are we've provided training and related services to over 4 ,000 professionals to date. We would love that number to get to 10 ,000.

Grant (50:40.558)
Bye.

Scott Saslow (50:44.615)
by 2030, I believe is the timeframe we've put on that. We also think about the number of organizations, not just number of people, but organizations that we've served. And I know we've served hundreds already and we'd like that number to get to a thousand. And then lastly is just the amount of capital that we're able to influence and move into the impact field. And we've moved millions already, probably single digit. We have some very, you know,

ambitious goals, we would like to ultimately move a billion dollars of capital that wouldn't have moved without our presence. We want to help bring it into the impact field. So that's what we hope to achieve in 2024. So five or six years, let's say. And we have some other cool things that we're thinking about that maybe I can share with you next time. But that will have our hands full with just those three.

Grant (51:15.981)
Thank you.

Yeah, awesome. Well, thank you so much, Scott. Well, I'll link to the to the book below. And, you know, it's going to I think it's going to be a cool and interesting read. I told you before in our sort of pre discussion, you know, I'm I'm a nerd about that type of stuff. And so I can't wait to sort of dig deep on it. And, you know, it's such an interesting space that you've played in, you know, your entire life. Like you came from this sort of traditional

you know, Microsoft, right? Really, really obviously one of the biggest companies in the world. You've dabbled in building the company yourself. Now you're dabbled into, you know, investing for others. You've kind of lived on all these different platforms and ecosystems. And so it's, it's always see like really good talent, you know, come to this arena. I've seen it so much lately of people who have had amazing careers and have so much talent kind of

Scott Saslow (52:31.879)
Hmm.

Grant (52:39.886)
bring it to this ecosystem of whether it's impact sustainability, however you want to describe it, there's just a new lens I think that a lot of talented people are putting on and it's really fun to watch, you know, both from a company side and the companies that are being built, but also from the allocators of capital side. A lot of stuff is sort of merging together to create a really collaborative.

ecosystem that it's fun to be a part of and be in the middle of each day. So best of luck to you and the team for the next 10 years.

Scott Saslow (53:12.519)
Agree.

I appreciate it, Grant. Thank you for all the great work you guys are doing. I really appreciate that. Thanks for having me.

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