Essex Gate Ventures Background
Essex Gate Ventures is the family office of Sarah and Reid French of Atlanta. The organization was founded to manage the investments of the family as well as to administer the French Family Foundation.
Essex Gates Ventures
The investment arm of Essex Gate Ventures primarily focuses on technology investments, with a particular investment theme of B2B cloud software businesses. The family office invests in this sector through direct private investments, private equity, and public equity.
French Family Foundation
The foundation arm of Essex Gate Ventures, the French Family Foundation, is the primary charitable vehicle for Sarah & Reid French. It is focused on philanthropy for children, increased access to quality education, and improved technical & financial literacy. The Foundation provides grants to small & medium-sized organizations that seek innovative solutions to these social problems in the United States.
Historic photo of the water gate at the end of Essex Street in London, England.
Where Does the Name Come From?
Essex Gate Ventures' name comes from an arched water gate in London, which was built around 1675 or 1680 to allow access to the Thames river from Essex Street and the connecting Strand. It was constructed on the grounds of the former Essex House, which itself stood on the site of the Outer Temple, once owned by the Knights Templar.
The water gate is a Grade II listed building in London but was damaged by bombing during the Second World War. Today, this gate still provides access to the Thames. However, over time, the river's location has shifted somewhat. Today, the Essex Gate leads to a set of stairs that descend to a park, the Temple tube station and the Embankment Road in London.
The Essex Gate is a beautiful, triumphal arch that reminds us of two conflicting themes of investing. First, there are many things that are timeless - the Essex Gate arch has survived for 350 years, beginning before the founding of democracy or market capitalism. However, many things that we take for granted as fixed (like the path of a river) do in fact change over time. As in investing, it is sometimes hard to discern permanence from incremental change.