|Alma mater||Georgetown University (BS, 1977)
INSEAD (MBA, 1983)
|Occupation||Founder and CEO,
A Small World (2004-09)
Founder and CEO,
Best of All Worlds (2012-present)
|Spouse(s)||Louise Wachtmeister (m. 2004)|
Count Erik Wilhelm Wachtmeister (born 1955) is a Swedish Internet entrepreneur. He is the CEO and founder of the social media websites A Small World and Best of All Worlds. In 2012, he was ranked #31 on GQ magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential men in Britain.
Early life and education
Wachtmeister was born in Sweden, the son of Swedish diplomat and longtime ambassador to the United States Count Wilhelm Wachtmeister. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 1977, and a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD in Paris in 1983.
Wachtmeister spent 16 years as an investment banker, working in London, New York and Los Angeles for Lehman Brothers, Rothschild and Ladenburg Thalmann. He started his own business in 1993, raising private money for publicly listed companies. In 2000, he became the founding CEO of UK-based investment firm Viking Internet, which he later took public on the London Stock Exchange.
A Small World
In March 2004, Wachtmeister and his wife Louise Wachtmeister founded the social networking website A Small World as an exclusive social networking site for a worldwide community of people already connected by three degrees of separation. It launched at almost the same time as MySpace and Facebook, two years before Facebook was made available to non-college students. It was dubbed "MySpace for millionaires" by the Wall Street Journal. To maintain its desired exclusivity, A Small World, while free, was invitation-only, open only to those invited by an existing member. Whereas Facebook soon opened its membership to everyone, A Small World remained exclusive.
Wachtmeister has said the idea for an exclusive worldwide social networking site occurred to him in 1998, during a wild boar hunt in the German forest. Over the course of his travels, he identified an existing niche community of people with similar lifestyles and tastes. He wanted to provide them with a platform to network and share information.
On May 22, 2006, the Weinstein Company announced its investment in A Small World, joining a team of investors that included former AOL Time Warner COO Robert W. Pittman, film director Renny Harlin, and entrepreneur Alexander Von Furstenberg. At the time, A Small World had approximately 130,000 members. Harvey Weinstein said his company planned to expand the site's membership and bring in additional advertisers. It was the Weinstein Company's first investment in an Internet property. After launching online advertising in 2006, the website had 100 partners. Advertisers included Jaguar, Diane von Furstenberg, Mercedes-Benz, Cartier, and Moet & Chandon.
By April 2009, membership was in excess of 500,000. Due to differing visions about the company's future direction and exclusivity, Wachtmeister resigned as chairman in 2009; he left the board in 2010. Weinstein sold his stake in the company in 2009.
Best of All Worlds
Wachtmeister and his wife launched Best of All Worlds on August 27, 2012, as an invitation-only, free social media website and iPhone and iPad app. Wachtmeister serves as CEO. The site is aimed at influential people across a variety of fields, to help users discover people, places and things in a private environment. It offers social suggestions and the ability to connect with like-minded individuals. It allows users to change their account mode to reflect what they are involved in at a given time, with five modes available: professional, social, family, party and private.
Wachtmeister started circulating invitations for the site in May 2012. The site was financed by a San Francisco-based venture capital firm and private investors from Europe and the Middle East, including a member of the Saudi royal family. Prior to its launch, 25,000 people from 120 countries had registered through its pre-released iPhone app. As of February 2014, the site claims to have over 30,000 registered users.
- The Hollywood Reporter's 11 People Shaping the Industry's Future, 2006
- #31, GQ magazine's 100 Most Influential Men in Britain, 2012
- Simon Crittle, “Clubs for People Who Point and Clique,” Time, October 17, 2004.
- Asa Bennett, “Revealed: The 25 most influential businessmen in Britain,” London Loves Business, January 8, 2013.
- Eloise Alba, “A New Breed of Social Media,” SHE, May 10, 2013.
- Erik Wachtmeister profile, dld-conference.com. Accessed September 11, 2014.
- Marshall Heyman, “Social Network Aims to Capture Movers and Shakers,” Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2012.
- Nicola Ruiz, “Five Social Networking Sites Of The Wealthy,” Forbes, May 2, 2008.
- Todd Longwell, “Innovative: 11 people shaping the industry’s future,” The Hollywood Reporter, November 13, 2006.
- “Kiwi Collection Welcomes Erik Wachtmeister to Advisory Board,” Hotel Newswire, January 18, 2008.
- Joshi Herrmann, “The socialite network… do the super rich need their own Facebook?” London Evening Standard, August 28, 2012.
- Mark Brooks, “A Small World, Founder Erik Wachtmeister,” Social Networking Watch, August 2, 2008.
- Lance Richardson, “Online’s little black book,” Australian Financial Review, September 14, 2012.
- Olivia Solon, “Social network Best of all Worlds targets the one percent,” Wired, August 28, 2012.
- “Facebook threat,” New York Post, May 28, 2012.
- Thomas Crampton, “Join? Well, if you have to ask…” New York Times, August 29, 2005.
- Edmund Conway, “The social network that could have been Facebook,” The Daily Telegraph, November 8, 2010.
- Ruth La Ferla, “A Facebook for the Few,” New York Times, September 6, 2007.
- Maria Aspan, “A Weinstein Will Invest In Exclusivity,” New York Times, May 22, 2006.
- Connie Loizos, “The Count is Back, and He’s in the Market for Capital,” PE Hub, July 20, 2012.
- Kristen Schweizer, “Facebook Challenged by Swedish Count’s Jet-Set Website,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 23, 2012.
- Harvey Weinstein, “Harvey Weinstein’s Favorite Mistake,” Newsweek, March 6, 2011.
- Padmaparna Ghosh, “’We are not a community just for billionaires’,” The Times of India, September 15, 2012.
- Lisa Chau, “Filling the Facebook Gap,” US News & World Report, February 6, 2014.
- Daniel D'Addario, “Not a Small World, After All: New Site Brings Social Networking to the Luxe Crowd,” Beta Beat, August 27, 2012.
- “31. Count Erik Wachtmeister,” GQ, January 2013.