After 30 years in international ﬁnance, Oliver Pulley is still inspired by his work. Although he admits that the job has its challenges, he is motivated by the new people he meets and the exciting ideas and visions he is given the opportunity to explore. As the founder and managing partner of Swissstone Investments, based in Germany and Switzerland, Oliver specializes in venture capital, private equity, real estate, marketing, and sales.
Oliver ﬁrst attended New York University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and then went on to attend Cornell University, where he graduated with a degree in business administration and banking. He began his career at BHF-Bank at Frankfurt, a top-tier, private German Bank, where he focused on ultra-high net-worth clientele.
Oliver later worked in real estate development and eventually became CEO of one of the largest private equity ﬁrms in New York City.
Founded on November 12, 2009, Oliver’s most recent company, Swissstone Investments (SSI), is a private equity/venture capital advisory ﬁrm. Oliver explains, “The company’s goal is to build a bridge between the United States and Europe so that U.S. companies have access to European investors and markets and vice versa.” Although the company is only 10 years old, they have already acquired 85,000 clients from around the world. Oliver credits their success to people recognizing that in order to obtain investors, they need exposure in different markets, especially those between Europe and America.
In order to help bridge the gap between the two countries, SSI hosts several different events in America. These events usually involve Oliver bringing start-up companies from Europe and pitching them to the investors in the audience. He also does the same for Americans by bringing U.S. companies into Europe and pitching for them. Oliver explains, “One type of event we do is what I call an investment dinner road show. These are dinners that may be held in only 10 cities around Europe, for example. Each dinner will include approximately 30 guests, and business owners will be given the opportunity to show investors what they have to offer. These events have proven to be valuable to all who attend."
Oliver and SSI also utilized these events to meet with major companies from California, Moscow, and Switzerland regarding cryptocurrency (or crypto). In fact, they saved the Initial Coin Offering (ICO). ICO to Initial Public Offering (IPO) was a strong battle at the time because it involved a large conversion. Therefore, Oliver’s company did a lot of work to establish the market both in America and in Europe by using the exact same dinner road show tool with these clients and investors. The Russians wanted to go to the Western world, and Oliver helped bridge that gap by helping to educate people on what they were talking about. Prior to Oliver’s involvement, the only place people knew about cryptography or cryptocurrency was in Switzerland, which ultimately became the new crypto “capital” of the world.
According to Oliver, another large part of SSI’s success, as well as his own, is knowing and understanding what works well in both Europe and America. After living and studying in Germany and in America, Oliver testiﬁes from ﬁrst-hand experience: “German is difficult to learn, not only the language but also the legal stuff – how to pitch a product within the European Union. So, even a lot of big banks and companies have trouble getting into these markets. Then vice versa.” For example, Oliver says that he has had friends who were clients of sizable companies attempt to pitch in America, but they failed terribly because they didn’t know how to cater to American markets.
In order to help his friends as well as others who fear they may fail when pitching to American markets, Oliver became a “pitch doctor,” which means that clients come to him with a pitch so he can edit it. He provides further training by helping clients to cut the pitch down, build it up, or improve it in some other way. Even those who are proﬁcient in English often struggle with conveying their meaning within the time frame. In these cases, he offers to pitch for the clients, which many ask him to do. This is a large part of his duty, whether it takes place in Europe or in New York. He loves helping people and says that he will always try to make time for these pitches.
Today, SSI is focusing more on Dubai and Montenegro with real estate investments. The company already has projects lined up there, and they have established strong relationships within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Oliver says that they are now well connected in the Arabic-speaking community and have three real estate projects coming up. The projects are all private residential or resort communities. Some are high-rise buildings with lots of apartments, while others are golf course villas and houses. In fact, Oliver was recently in Montenegro, which he calls “the next Monaco.” He reports that people are investing hundreds of millions of dollars there. Even the super expensive hotel chain, the one and only ‘Mirage’ will open their ﬁrst European hotel in Portonovi, investing more than $650M in it.
However, Montenegro isn’t the ﬁrst innovative area in which SSI has invested. In 2011, when no one was even talking about electromobility, the founder of Jetﬂyer approached Oliver and showed him a picture of his four-wheeled e-vehicle. He talked with him and shared that he wanted to bring the prototype to market but didn’t have the money to do so. While the traditional banks doubted the investment opportunity, Oliver listened and recognized the value of the product. It was also Oliver who found investors so that the ecologically friendly vehicle could be produced and offered as a new solution for urban mobility.
There are many more venture capital success stories like Jetﬂyer. For example, SSI was also responsible for the digital restartup of one the biggest digital gaming systems in the world. In fact, SSI ﬁnances innovations in all sectors: biotechnology, telecommunications, mechanical engineering, and many others. They analyze and recognize the opportunities of young companies and guide them throughout the entire process. For instance, SSI often prepares market access for these companies and continues to support them when entering the market. Oliver notes, “We not only provide venture capital, but we also provide private equity, a lot of know-how, and valuable contacts.” Consequently, if American entrepreneurs have companies they would like to bring into Europe, Oliver’s goal is to make them aware that they can count on Swissstone Investments for reliable advisory services.
Linkedin: Oliver Pulley