“Business is about revolutions. And passion”. Thus spoke Nicole Junkermann, the London-based entrepreneur, founder of NJF Holdings. So blonde and charming, you could say she has dedicated her whole life to being a model and, after marrying an Italian count and having a daughter, to living for her family and social life. Nothing is further from the truth.
The precocious entrepreneur
At age 12, Nicole — born in Düsseldorf and raised in Spain — was a translator for her father on a business trip. But her baptism of fire as a businesswoman came up ten years later watching a football game. While writing her degree thesis, it occurred to the then student that there was no reason to wait for the diploma. It was at that moment that she started thinking about creating the Winamax online gaming platform.
In 2002 Nicole Junkermann co-founded Infront Sports and Media, which she sold in 2011, for 650 million euros. Later, she invested in Really Sports, one of the most important sports stores in China, and two years later she created the United in Sports venture capital fund. Currently, Nicole runs NJF Holdings and has collaborated on investments with Silicon Valley personalities such as Eric Schmidt —Google— or Peter Thiel — Paypal.
The private side
She gets up at six to meditate. “In a world where we are bombarded with so much information, I find it fundamental,” she says. Normally, Nicole will also run before reading the newspapers and having breakfast with her husband, Count Ferdinando Brachetti Peretti, and their one-year-old daughter, Vita. Ferdinando is the president and CEO of the Italian energy company Gruppo Api / IP and his family owns the Il Pollenza vineyards. “I like that Vita can grow up surrounded by the traditional values of our family,” Nicole says. Her husband’s maternal aunt, Elsa Peretti, is the designer of Tiffany & Co. and New York legend of the Studio 54 era, where she rubbed shoulders with Andy Warhol and Liza Minnelli while triumphing as a model and being photographed by Helmut Newton. Nicole Junkermann doesn’t seem very fascinated by clothes and accessories, though. “The truth is that I prefer reading a book rather than going shopping,” she confesses.
In 2015 Nicole Junkermann and Ferdinando Brachetti Peretti coincided by chance in the lobby of the Palace of Gstaad. Since then they have not separated. Last year their family has become whole with the birth of Vita. Nicole is clear on how to educate her. “My mother raised me to be an independent woman. And my wonderful husband’s mother, despite growing up in a world dominated by men, is the only woman elected general of the Italian Army. I feel very grateful for that generation that, enduring much more difficult than us, jumped obstacles to make our life possible”.
Businesses that bring revolutionary ideas
Nicole has an analytical side, but also an adventurous spirit that allows her to bet on disparate industries. “I am an entrepreneur and I am interested in businesses that bring revolutionary ideas“. In 2018 she has been appointed advisor to the Under Secretary of Health and Technology of the British Government, but also has a social conscience that led her to invest in Magnum, the agency created by photographers such as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson at the end of World War II and which has since covered worldwide the most important historical conflicts.
The Magnum challenge
“Magnum is a bit out of the orbit of the companies I normally invest in. It was the result of a passion, I thought it would be important to renew this great cooperative of photographers. We live in a world of fake news where people change their reality with Photoshop. The millennial generation reacts much more to images than to texts. Magnum is a great heritage and I hope to revive it. I want people to appreciate this art again in the same way they have appreciated vinyl again” she concludes.