Ori Allon, the charmed entrepreneur who has already sold one company to Google and another to Twitter, has been feverishly working on his third—Urban Compass. So far, Mr. Allon and founder Robert Reffkin won’t even say what Urban Compass does. But that air of mystery hasn’t slowed the company’s growth—they have raised $8 million from an impressive group of seed funders including Goldman Sachs, AmEx CEO Ken Chenault and Thrive Capital*. The start-up now has 18 employees and counting.
One of those 18 offers a clue to what Urban Compass will actually involve, and our guess is real estate. As first reported by The Real Deal, Gordon Golub, who was an Executive Vice President at Citi Habitats, left after 18 years to join Mr. Allon and Mr. Reffkin.
The holidays aren’t only a good time for giving to others; they’re also a popular time for people of means to buy themselves lavish gifts. This year Apollo Global Management managing director Marc Rowan went all out: the billionaire and bride Carolyn splurged on a $26 million co-op at 927 Fifth Avenue, according to city records.
The Rowans, who own a floor-through on the sixth floor, have purchased the floor-through on the fifth floor. The couple could be looking for a slightly inferior view, of course, but we’d say this a fairly unambiguous move to create a duplex floor-through.
Up & Down the Street
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives. Is that show even on TV anymore? And if it is, are Bo and Hope still together? (Note to self: ask Mom.) Meanwhile, on to another long-running melodrama, the madcap saga we call the market. Where will the Street lead us in 2013? Read More
IP Uh Oh
After the mostly closely-watched initial public offering in anyone’s memory transformed into a spectacle marred by malfunctioning trading systems and a plummeting stock price, people were bound to ask questions.
Maybe it was a given that tech companies would have a few hiccups in their 2012 Securities and Exchange filings, what with the influx of new companies learning the ins-and-outs of public reporting and the high-profile nature of more established companies.
death and taxes
A funny thing happened the other day: somebody actually mentioned the debate over how the government should tax money managers in the context of the fiscal cliff.
Last month, more than 700 tuxedoed and ball-gowned revelers gathered in the Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation gala. As the attendees feasted on black American caviar, Margaret Dowd, the foundation’s executive director, was marveling at something else: the size of the crowd.
The foundation had not seen so many people at its annual gala since 2007. “It’s been very tough the last few years, and we had to cut expenses drastically,” she said. “In 2009, many of our donors said, ‘Our portfolios were really harmed and we have to cut our donations, but we’ll be back.’ And they did come back. This year has been much, much better.”
The benefit raised $2.5 million—a significant jump from the $2.2 million raised at last year’s. Things have not returned to the 2007 level, when the gala’s $3.2 million haul set a national record, which has yet to be topped, for lupus research funds collected at a single event, but the foundation is on track to raise 10 to 12 percent more this year than the previous one. Ms. Dowd added that the nonprofit’s spring luncheon saw such a dramatic spike in attendance this year—a 30 percent increase—that next year they plan to hold it in the Plaza.
Hey kids, here’s one good reason to work hard in school and business: One day, your son may launch a career as a third-tier pop star, and you might find yourself in position (i.e. an executive office) to follow him on tour in your corporate jet.
Psst… do you want to hear a secret? The whisper listing at 730 Park Avenue, a 12-room duplex penthouse with Central Park views, has sold to hedge fund titan Daniel Benton for a whopping $39 million, according to city records.
Mr. Benton, who recently re-opened his technology-based hedge fund Andor Capital Management, is apparently feeling financially confident enough to move up in the world. Literally. Mr. Benton and wife Anna currently own another 12-room duplex on a lower floor of the same building that they paid $21 million for back in 2007. We guess they were a shoo-in with the board?
In the aftermath of Facebook’s ill-fated initial public offering, it was hard to blame Joe Facebook-fan for feeling like he’d gotten screwed. Not only had the share price failed to pop, it had plummeted, 13 percent in the first week of trading alone, not the results anyone expected before hopping on Mark Zuckerberg’s supposed-gravy train.