The family office of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has spun out its investment-management group into a stand-alone business catering to the world’s superrich.

Vulcan Capital is now Cercano Management and oversees investment assets for the estate and family foundation of Allen, who died in 2018, according to a representative of the family office, Vulcan Inc. It’s led by former Vulcan Capital Chief Investment Officer Chris Orndorff and allocates across public markets, private equity, private credit and real estate, according to a November registry filing.

The Bellevue-based company describes itself as an investment-advisory firm to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, with managed assets totaling $7.7 billion at the end of September. 

Orndorff, who joined Vulcan in 2016 from Western Asset Management, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

While it’s common for an investment-management group to operate inside a family office, it made sense to separate that function for legal and tax reasons after Allen’s death, a Vulcan representative said in an emailed statement.

Allen started Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 and left in 1983. He turned his stake into a $26 billion fortune over the next three decades, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 


Through Vulcan, Allen acquired the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trailblazers. He purchased a world-class art collection, considerable real estate and invested in startups. He also traveled the world on the 414-foot superyacht “Octopus,” which was sold last year to an undisclosed buyer after last being offered for 235 million euros ($265 million).

Allen had no spouse or children to inherit his empire, though his sister, Jody Allen, is Vulcan’s chair. 

Clients typically need at least $100 million to establish an account with Cercano, filings show, and can include foundations tied to wealthy families. 

It invested this month in Pendulum, an online platform for detecting harmful narratives on social media. GeekWire reported on the spinout earlier Tuesday.