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Inside the Investment Empire of South African Entrepreneur Divesh Makan

Divesh Makan, a South African entrepreneur, has quietly built a $100 billion investment empire catering to Silicon Valley elites, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Learn how Makan’s journey from Durban to the United States led him to establish Iconiq, a secretive firm serving ultra-high-net-worth clients in technology, finance, and entertainment.

Divesh Makan, a name shrouded in secrecy yet synonymous with immense wealth and influence, has carved a niche in the competitive landscape of Silicon Valley investments. Born in Durban, South Africa, Makan’s trajectory from the halls of Michaelhouse school to the corridors of power in the financial world is nothing short of remarkable. After obtaining an electrical engineering degree from the University of Natal, Makan set his sights on the United States, where he pursued an MBA at the prestigious Wharton School of Finance.

His tenure at financial powerhouses like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley provided fertile ground for cultivating relationships with budding entrepreneurs who would later reshape industries. However, it was his pivotal encounter with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in the early 2000s that propelled Makan into the echelons of Silicon Valley’s elite. Zuckerberg, impressed by Makan’s acumen, introduced him to other luminaries in the tech world, including Sheryl Sandberg and Dustin Moskovitz.

In 2011, Makan, along with a cadre of former colleagues, founded Iconiq, a clandestine firm tailored to the needs of ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Operating as a hybrid family office, Iconiq offers a suite of services encompassing financial advisory, private equity, venture capital, real estate, and philanthropy. Despite its enigmatic nature, Iconiq has garnered a reputation for managing vast fortunes with unparalleled discretion, with most clients boasting assets exceeding $1 billion.

Central to Iconiq’s modus operandi is Makan’s commitment to fostering long-term relationships within a select community of discerning investors. This ethos has positioned Iconiq as a trusted steward of wealth, attracting sovereign funds, endowments, and affluent families seeking bespoke investment solutions. Makan’s foresight extends to the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence (AI), where he anticipates exponential growth driven by investments in data centers and hyper scalers.

Today, Iconiq stands as a titan in the investment landscape, managing $80 billion for families and overseeing $100 billion in assets under advisement. With a global footprint spanning London, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Singapore, and New York, Makan’s vision continues to shape the trajectory of wealth management in the digital age.

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