From football to family offices: Bum Bright did it all. Formally named Harvey Roberts “Bum” Bright, he was an American businessman, philanthropist, and owner of the Dallas Cowboys from 1984 to 1989. But his legacy lives on today through his real estate development organization, Bright Industries and the related family office, Bright Equities.

Bright Industries

Founded in 1950 by Bum Bright, Bright Industries focusses on real estate development and home building operations. Today the organization is led by Bum’s sons Chris and Clay Bright who
direct the real estate activities and 300+ employees within the organization.

Its real estate development and home building operations span an array of prestigious projects for wealth clients, from mansions to commercial real estate and golf courses.  

Bright Equities

Bright Equities is the family’s financial firm which offers full family office services. The Texas firm now spans four generations and claims to be extremely client-focussed. Like many family offices, it was originally a Single Family office that served only the needs of the Bright Family, but it has evolved to now provide resource management for other select families. It also offers capital advisory services, investment and asset management solutions through their subsidiary Bright Wealth Management and risk management solutions through their subsidiary Bright Insurance Services.

List of Family offices in Germany, United States and UK

Many of the world’s most prominent family offices are based in the United States, but Germany boasts some very established ones itself. Read our blog post Three German Single Family Offices To Watch In 2018 to learn more about them. Research Germany offers research into single family and multi family offices. Take a look at our lists of Top 150 Single Family Offices in Germany, Top 150 Single Family Offices North America, or Top 75 Family Offices UK. You can also write us through our direct chat and ask how we can send you preview files or get you customized research tailored to your needs.

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You’ve probably heard of crowdsourcing in a variety of sectors, from journalism and public policy, to scientific research. It’s a sourcing model that individuals or organizations use to obtain goods, services, ideas, or finances from a large, open group of internet users. It then divides work between participants to achieve a aggregate result.

So what does this have to do with hedge funds?

Crowdsourcing is actually quite a new concept for the worlds of finance and hedge funds, but it is beginning to take off. Now, several companies are crowdsourcing machine learning hedge funds. Read on to learn more about three of the top crowdsourcing AI Quant hedge funds. All of them are based in the United States.


Quantopian “inspires” algorithm authors (quants) across the globe to write investment algorithms. It is one of the most successful neo-quant funds, with $49m raised from investors including Point72, Andreessen Horowitz and Bessemer. It now has over 160,000 members, including finance professionals, scientists, developers and students.

Users share their investment algorithms and Quantopian then selects the best algorithms and license them in exchange of a share of the return.

This fund provides capital, education, data, a research environment, and a development platform to quants. They also offer license agreements for algorithms that fit their investment strategy. The strategy’s individual performance determines the pay-off for the licensing authors.


Numerai is fairly unique in that its rewards are paid in cryptocurrency. It transforms and regularizes financial data into machine learning problems for its global community of data scientists.

This hedge fund aims to change the way Wall Street operates by promoting a collaborative approach to investment and money management. Monthly tournaments and machine learning power it. Each month, data scientists submit their predictions and best trading algorithms in exchange for a form of their cryptocurrency, Numeraire.

With $7.5m invested from companies like Union Square, Playfair Capital and First Round, Numerai manages a long/short global equity hedge fund.  It is also one of the only neo hedge funds that offers full anonymity.


Quantiacs aims to simplify trading system developments so people can succeed as quants. Through its site, freelance quants can access tools, data and training. Then they create trading algorithms to compete for the prizes. Afterwards, the company matches freelance quants with hedge funds and investors can customize their profile goals and risks. Quants own their IP but license it to Quantiacs for 10% of lifetime profits.

Quantiacs raised a $1 million seed investment from Baha Holdings, a venture fund dedicated to fintech startups. Quantiacs claims that after 18 months in a closed beta, they have more than 800 trading algorithms on the platform. Students using neutral networks and other machine learning approaches have developed many of those algorithms.

Want to learn more about the world’s greatest hedge funds?

Research Germany has just released the Top 50 Hedge Funds Worldwide List. If you need more insight into the other top hedge funds, we can provide the research. Our list of the top firms is available here. You can also get in touch with us to find out how we can provide tailored research to suit your needs. Just click on our chat in the sidebar!

The World of Hedge Funds

Research Germany has just released its Top 50 Hedge Funds Worldwide List. As you may know, hedge funds are complex beasts. But possessing some basic knowledge on them is critical for many businesses, be it for inspiration or research.

In simple terms, a hedge fund makes bets on the financial market with high leverage and risks. This can result in great returns, but it can also result in a total loss. Areas of focus include quantitative trading (through computer algorithms), global economic trends, activism, and long/short equity (making trades based on the belief that stocks, currencies, or ressources will rise or fall).

Hedge funds are flexible when it comes to what they will invest in and how they will manage the disclosure. However, these funds are restricted on the number and type of investors they can take in order to prevent them from becoming tools for scammers.  

Topping our list of hedge funds is what is often referred to as the greatest hedge fund ever: Renaissance Technology. Renaissance now manages about $44 billion and is known for its incredible ability to use mathematics and technology to consistently produce fantastic returns. The hedge fund is as secretive as it is successful, but it is fascinating even on a surface level.

James Simons

The mastermind behind this hedge fund is without a doubt one of the best in the business.

Put simply, James Simons is an American mathematician and billionaire former hedge fund manager. He’s been at the forefront of many mathematical developments and has conducted vast studies on pattern recognition. For example, he helped develop string theory by providing a theoretical framework to combine geometry and topology with quantum field theory.

As the son of a shoe factory owner, Simons received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958 and a PhD, also in mathematics, from the University of California, Berkeley in 1961.

In 1964, Simons was a Cold War code breaker for the National Security Agency. He later went on to work at the Communications Research Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses and taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. He eventually became a professor and chairman at Stony Brook University.

In 1982, he founded Renaissance Technologies and, 36 years later, his net worth is now estimated to be $20 billion. Simons retired from his position of fund manager in 2009, but he remains its non-executive chairman and adviser.

Renaissance Technologies: A Portal For Further Trail Blazing

Like Simons, Renaissance Technologies specializes in systematic trading using quantitative models developed by mathematical and statistical analyses.

Since Simons retired in 2009, Renaissance is now run by Peter Brown and Robert Mercer, two computer scientists who joined the company in 1993.

The firm is a trail breaker in the practice of quantitative trading. It uses computer-based models to predict price changes in easily traded financial instruments. These models are based on analyzing as much data as can be gathered, then looking for non-random movements to make predictions.

Medallion: Propelled Success

Established in 1988, the Medallion Fund is Renaissance’s most profitable portfolio, and it has been called one of the best records in investing history. The mathematical models the company created with Medallion are known to continuously improve each year.

With an averaged 71.8% return between 1994 and 2014, Medallion helped further propel Simons reputation as one of – or even the – best money manager in the world.  To give you an idea of the fund’s success, in 2015 Bloomberg wrote, “From 2001 through 2013, the fund’s worst year was a 21 percent gain, after subtracting fees. Medallion reaped a 98.2 percent gain in 2008, the year the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 38.5 percent.”

Want To Learn More About The World’s Greatest Hedge Funds?

If you need more insight into the Renaissance Technologies or other top hedge funds, we can provide the research. Our list of the top firms is available here. You can also get in touch with us to find out how we can provide tailored research to suit your needs. Just click on our chat in the sidebar.

While Donald Trump is now one of the most powerful politicians on Earth, his journey to success began in real estate. As you probably know, the Trump Real Estate Organization is responsible for dozens of major developments around the globe. But, his portfolio does not include Germany.

Trump’s father migrated to the USA from Germany in 1885. Today, Trump oftens claims to hold the country near and dear. Yet, while Trump tried to make his mark on the German Real Estate market, in the end he failed.

Trump and Deutsche Bank

In 1988, Trump began to form a relationship with Germany’s Deutsche Bank when many major Wall Street firms decided they would no longer lend him money after seeing several of his ventures fail.

Deutsche Bank’s real estate business had only been in operation for a year at that point. That is why they were willing to set their stakes on Trump. The bank gave him a $640 million construction loan in 2005 to assist him in building the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. But, Business Insider writes “…the project neared completion right as the financial crisis hit.” This led to an unusual suing battle which was eventually settled. The two parties continue to do business together, leading Trump to eventually take his prospects to Germany itself. 

TD Trump Deutschland AG

In 2000, Germany’s economy was booming. Trump saw an opportunity to invest in the flourishing German real estate market by designing tall, extravagant buildings. He envisioned building Europe’s tallest skyscraper in Frankfurt.

This led to the founding of TD Trump Deutschland AG. Trump wanted to start by building a 200-meter-tall high-rise on the edge of the main river.

He met with property developers and then-mayor of Frankfurt Petra Roth to discuss the development and was surprised to find the project greatly disputed. There were restrictions on building heights and disagreements over the location of the tower. Eventually, they reached enough consensus and agreed upon a different location.

Construction was about to begin when things took another turn. Doubts about Trump’s creditworthiness began to grow and the plan approval procedures came to a halt in 2003. After this, the company was dissolved in April 2005.

What could have been

If Trump’s plans had gone ahead, it’s likely Frankfurt’s skyline would look drastically different. Now, Berlin’s gsp Städtebau GmbH constructed Germany’s tallest residential tower. Known as the “Grand Tower”, the building is 47 stories and contains 401 apartments which have been sold for about 19,000 euros per square meter.

Trump’s real estate developments have been put to rest in Germany for now and, after a long, complicated relationship, he still remains in debt to Deutsche Bank – but that’s another story.

Learn more about major real estate developers and investors

Want to know more about the largest real estate developers and investors around the globe? Take a look at some of our lists, such as Top 100 Hotel Investors Europe, Largest Real Estate Developers Germany, or Top 50 Real Estate Investors France. You can also write us through our direct chat and ask how we can send you preview files or get you customized research tailored to your needs.

When you think of Bill Gates, you likely think of Microsoft, philanthropy, and – most of all – tons of money. Can you imagine being the person or entity in charge of his vast personal wealth (around $80bn USD)?

Cascade Investment

Michael Larson is the chief investment officer for Bill and Melinda Gates Investments (BMGI). He’s responsible for managing Bill’s personal wealth through Cascade Investment. Moreover, he is handling the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation trust endowment. Hired 22 years ago, Larson has diversified Gates’ funds out of Microsoft into a broad range of investments. Cascade Investment is now known to invest globally and across many asset classes, including property and non-tech companies.

Types of Family offices

This brings us to the topic of family offices, which are private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth investors. There are two main types: A single family office (SFO) services one family’s wealth, while a multi-family office (MFO) services multiple.  Many experts would call Cascade Investment a single family office but, in reality, it doesn’t label itself as one. It refers to itself as purely an asset management firm that invests the Gates’ wealth. As the Financial Times writes, “Cascade is not a family office in the traditional sense and does not like to call itself one. It does not handle logistics, payroll or expenses for the foundation. Cascade is purely an asset management firm that invests Gates’s personal wealth. BMGI is an organisation that manages the portfolios of Cascade, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and other entities, but again it does not label itself as a family office.”

Family offices shift their focus

Many single family investment firms are shifting away from the term “family office”. Instead, they take on labels such as “private investment office”. Thus, they can focus more on their purpose as advisors on family wealth. 

Catherine Tillotson, managing partner of Scorpio Partnership, told the Financial Times,“…where once the term ‘family office’ was synonymous with the isolated management of an individual family’s wealth, today it perhaps best describes a growing body of professional knowledge and an industry in its own right.”

Still, Cascade Investment’s primary purpose remains: manage the Gates’ family’s wealth. No family office is created and executed in exactly the same way. While the terminology of some family offices is changing, we see the business of family wealth management is booming. Bill Gates is just one of thousands of very wealthy individuals operating such offices.

List of Family offices in Germany, United States and UK

Many of the world’s most prominent family offices are based in the United States, but Germany boasts some very established ones itself. Read our blog post Three German Single Family Offices To Watch In 2018 to learn more about them. Research Germany offers research into single family and multi family offices. Take a look at our lists of Top 150 Single Family Offices in Germany, Top 150 Single Family Offices North America, or Top 75 Family Offices UK. You can also write us through our direct chat and ask for preview files. We can also get you customized research tailored to your needs.

You’ve heard of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. They help artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. But are you familiar with crowdfunding in the real estate world?

Real estate crowdfunding: The basics 

The idea behind crowdfunding in general is that many people are willing to invest a small amount. When they do, large sums of money can be raised quite quickly and it opens doors for investors they could never reach otherwise. This also applies to real estate crowdfunding, which is a form of equity crowdfunding. 

There’s one major difference between crowdfunding small projects on websites like Kickstarter and equity (real estate) crowdfunding. Individuals who back equity crowdfunding projects expect a return on their investment (a financial portion of the earnings), while individuals that back projects on Kickstarter expect at most a small “reward” when/if the project is fully funded.

Traditionally, real estate development was only available for investment through private equity in the development company or through real estate investment trusts (REITs). Now, real estate developers can rely on crowdfunding sites to solicit investments from high-net-worth investors who are eager to make an investment in this market.

The Security and Exchanges Commission is aiming to open this market up to all investors, but for now, crowdfunding sites must classify each investor to ensure they qualify for making private investments in real estate via crowdfunding.

Real estate crowdfunding in Germany

The German real estate crowdfunding market is very young. Although a few projects appeared as early as 2012, the market has only taken off after entering the Kleinanlegerschutzgesetz (the Small Investor Protection Act) in July 2015. Yet, it is flourishing.

Real estate accounts for 80% of the crowd investing market. In 2016, the market doubled in size to reach €40 million. In the first five months of 2017, 51 real estate projects raised €52 million.

As far as specific companies go, there are many in Germany. Exporo is the current leader of the market, with more than 100 funded projects and €141M invested capital. Competitors include Zinsland and Bergfürst.

Most German real estate crowdfunding companies offer mezzanine capital – a hybrid of debt and equity financing.

This means that, when building a property, the developer takes on some of the debt (e.g. 80%). Normally, the rest is equity (e.g. 20%). When offering mezzanine capital, there is less equity.

In this case, debt stays at 80%, while equity is lowered to 10%. 10% becomes mezzanine. With this strategy, the developer can spend less equity and realize two projects at the same time. It’s riskier than usual debt, but safer than equity investment.

Want more insight into the real estate crowdfunding market?

We offer research into all sectors of the real estate market. Take a look at our lists of largest property developersconstruction companies and investors. You can also write us through our direct chat and ask how we can send you preview files or get you customized research tailored to your needs.

Back in May 2016, the Berlin Airbnb ban restricted property owners to only renting out one room for a maximum of two months. As of May 1 this year, home owners will be able to rent out their primary residence free of time limitations. However, holiday homes will be restricted to 90 day rental periods.

The news comes after the Berlin administrative court confirmed in several rulings that home sharing does not impact the local housing market. Here are three implications of Berlin’s laxed Airbnb rules.

1) Increased penalties for Berlin vacation home landlords

While you may be free to Airbnb your basement once in a while, think again about doing so without a permit. If you plan to rent out a second home full time, do not go over the 90 day restrictions. Breaking the rules will now come with an even heftier cost. Fines could be five times higher with a maximum of €500,000.

2) Rental permits will be easy-peezy (mostly)

During the ban all landlords could seek permits, but 95% were rejected. Now, all landlords still must get a general permit from their burrow, but the majority of those applying for one at their primary residence will easily be approved. Again, those who are second home owners will face a more rigorous process. Landlords who leave an apartment untenanted, meanwhile, will need a special permit from the borough to do so after three months of vacancy without having a permanent tenant registered, cutting the current vacancy grace period in half.

3) Rent won’t go up

The influx of full time Airbnbs took over the housing supply, leaving very few properties available on the market. This sent rent rates soaring, and lead to the eventual ban on all Airbnbs.

Officials saw that many part time Airbnb were still popping up. Yet, in 2016 alone, 2,500 apartments in Berlin were put back on the rental market following the ban. The main culprits weren’t part time owners – they were people renting out their second home full time.

The tough stance on these rentals has been successful, meaning part time Airbnbs are free to flourish with minimal impact on the greater Berlin real estate market. Thus, an Airbnb presence does not equal higher rent.

What to watch for in Berlin’s Airbnb market?

Allowing individuals to Airbnb their homes part time will not have a significant impact on Berlin’s real estate market, but will this hold up? Will we see a large influx of Airbnbs available come May 1? 

Want to know more about the German real estate market?

We know the German real estate market like the back of our hands. So, we conduct comprehensive research in order to provide the best information possible. Also, we have close relations with many of Germany’s most important firms of the real estate market. If you want to learn more, you can take a look at our list of largest property developers, construction companies and investors or write us through our live chat. Simply drop us a line and we will see how we can help you.