David Robb runs Frontier Group, a family office which he co-founded with Frank Carlucci, Chairman Emeritus of The Carlyle Group and former U.S. Secretary of Defense. David is known in the family office community for making the transition from fund investing (as an early principal at The Carlyle Group) to direct investing and management, which is the primary focus of his family office activities. Since founding Frontier Group, David has made direct investments across a broad range of technology, consumer, industrial, entertainment, leisure, and general services sectors. Prior to founding Frontier, David was a principal investor with The Carlyle Group. While at The Carlyle Group, he was part of the original team that grew the firm from $150 million to over $100 billion in equity under management. He worked on the main buyout funds investing in technology, aerospace, defense, aviation services, and transportation companies. His family office is investing in generative AI, healthcare and luxury consumer industries.
David is also the Founder of Utopia, the residential ocean line company currently developing the world’s largest private yacht. The 987 foot long luxury vessel will have 190 residences and a 5 star hotel and resort onboard. The vessel will sail to world famous cultural and sporting events such as the Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Fashion Week, the Olympics and many others. Philanthropy is core to the business plan, and the ocean liner will travel on a perpetual mission of helping the less fortunate, fostering peace initiatives and hosting gatherings of world leaders, first ladies and leaders in business, education and the arts. Utopia will be a unique offshore platform for entrepreneurs to do business free of regulatory constraints and unfair political/taxation regimes. Utopia will engage in humanitarian missions and broker peace deals around the world.
As an activist investor in technology, David was one of the largest shareholders (and Chairman) in cloud services provider Megaupload, which grew from startup to the world’s 13th largest website with 500 million users and $5 billion valuation in 6 years.
David was one of the founding investors in J2 Global who invested $14M in start-up capital and hired the original CEO and CFO and turned it into a publicly traded company (ticker: JCOM) which traded up to approximately $6.4 billion. In October 2021 the company split into two separate companies (Consensus and Ziff-Davis).
After Alcoa sold its Composite Structures division, David led Carlyle Group’s investment in the company and helped to realize a more than 10x cash-on-cash return for the family office coinvestors.
David played a leading role in the privatization, buyout and turnaround of jet maker Embraer. He assembled the investor group that rescued the company from shutdown in 1994 and acquired the company for $111 million. It grew it into the world’s largest manufacturer of regional jets with a peak market capitalization of $6.5 billion in 2007.
In the private aviation industry, David created the world’s second largest conglomerate of FBO’s by investing $150 million of Carlyle Group funds and rolling-up 14 companies that formed Landmark Aviation, ultimately sold by Carlyle Group to BBA for $2.1 billion.
David is a frequent speaker at family office conferences on the topics of private equity and direct investing, which is gathering momentum among family offices. He has keynoted or participated on panels for various family office and investment conferences such as the Family Office Association, Ivy Family Office Network, Bloomberg, Beamonte, Opal, and the Milken Global Conference. He began his career with the White House but has spent most of his career in private equity investing and managing the companies in which he has invested. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, NY Times, LA Business Journal, Washington Business Journal, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, St Louis Post-Dispatch and on ABC News, Fox News, and CNN. David received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Yale University.