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|Type of business||Public Company|
|Owner||Patrick Liotard-Vogt (69%) Alexander König (9%)|
|CEO||Jan Luescher (since 2016)|
|Industry||Social Media / Internet|
|Revenue||CHF 8.8m (2018) CHF 5m (2017)|
|Total equity||CHF 11'367'153.00|
ASMALLWORLD (styled ASMALLWORLD; ASW), founded in 2004 as one of the first social networks, is the leading invitation-only Travel and Lifestyle community. The company operates a paid-subscription model and members pay a yearly fee starting at CHF 100 per year and up to CHF 26'000 for the top tier membership.
Members get access to an advertising free and curated community of global citizens around the world. The company organizes over 1'000 events per year, ranging from after work gatherings, art gallery openings to its famous Gstaad Winter Weekend.
In March 2004, Wachtmeister and his wife Louise Wachtmeister founded the social networking website ASmallWorld as an exclusive social networking site for a worldwide community of people already connected by three degrees of separation. It launched around 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, ASmallWorld, 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, over the course of his travels, 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.
In May 2006, Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Company acquired the majority share, 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 company. After launching online advertising in 2006, the website had 100 partners. Advertisers included Jaguar, Diane von Furstenberg, Mercedes-Benz, Cartier, and Moet & Chandon.
In 2009, Swiss entrepreneur and investor Patrick Liotard-Vogt purchased the controlling stake in ASMALLWORLD and became its Chairman. At that time, membership was in excess of 500,000 members and growing, when Sabine Heller became its CEO.
In February 2013, ASmallWorld announced that as of March 1, 2013, it would not be accepting new members, citing an initiative to ensure the integrity of the community. The company mapped a new strategy with a smaller network and more perks for its members. After shutting down, ASW relaunched in May 2013 with a membership model ($110 annual contribution) to allow an advertising-free experience for its members.
Today, ASmallWorld is marketing itself as the leading private international lifestyle club, whose members are internationally minded people committed to opening their lives to each other, sharing extraordinary experiences and ensuring that fellow members can live like locals wherever they go. Membership requires an invitation from an existing member or a membership application approved by an international committee of trustees. ASMALLWORLD is active in about 150 cities around the world and offers more than 1,000 events annually
In order to join ASMALLWORLD, one must get an invitation from an existing member or apply for membership. Following memberships tiers are available:
- Access, for CHF 100: the basic membership granting access to the community
- Prestige, for CHF 5'980: for the travel savvy members, comes with 250'000 Miles & More or Etihad miles and various elite status from hotel and rent a car partners
- Signature, for CHF 25'900: comes with 1m Etihad Airways miles and various elite status from travel partners
ASmallWorld is part communication platform, part service platform, for "a private international community of culturally influential people, connected by three degrees." The website is tailored to facilitate both online interaction and offline meetups between members.
The site shares some features with other social network services, such as user profiles, an online calendar and private messaging. The site also offers over 100 "city guides" written by its members detailing and rating restaurants, bars and clubs. To facilitate meetups, ASW’s site has a “Geolocator” tool, which allows users to post travel plans as well as browse and comment on the travel plans of other members. Members can also view upcoming ASW-hosted events in different cities.
The site also allows members to buy and sell items, find potential employees and business partners, find investors or ventures to invest in, rent property, and find flatmates. Using the site’s discussion boards, members can exchange advice on travel and business, or simply engage in conversation.
ASmallWorld hosts about 100 events per year worldwide for members to get together, ranging from after work get togethers to gallery openings and weekends centered around experiences. The Member Privileges Programme includes benefits from luxury spas, to discounted stays in luxury hotels, including some of those in The Leading Hotels of the World group.
In 2011, members donated €40,000 to a sex trafficking prevention charity run by Somaly Mam. At the 2012 Winter Weekend in Gstaad, members raised $95,000 for the Alzheimer's Society. Carey Mulligan, an Ambassador for the Society's Alzheimer’s Society, was present.
The company also offers invitations to events hosted by its partners. For example, users might preview new collections from fashion designers. Members also have access to a privileges program. Here they can choose between over 500 partners offering reductions and VIP service among other things for hotels, car services, designer brands, and other lifestyle brands.
Going public in 2018
ASMALLWORLD AG went public on the SIX Exchange Zurich on March 20th 2018. The symbol is SWX:ASWN. The company raised over CHF 18m in 2018 from institutional investors and increased its revenue from CHF 5.5m in 2017 to CHF 8.8m in 2018.
The ASMALLWORLD Group
ASMALLWORLD AG is the 100% owner of following companies:
- First Class & More, a subscription-based smart luxury travel service that allows members to enjoy luxury travel at insider prices
- LuxuryBARED, a luxury hotel booking platform offering a curated collection of the world’s best hotels and exclusive booking upgrades and privileges
- The World’s Finest Clubs, a nightlife concierge that offers its members VIP access to the most exclusive nightlife venues around the world
- ASW Hospitality, a hotel management company that operates the ASMALLWORLD Hotel Collection and manages the iconic North Island resort in the Seychelles
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