“I wanted to create a firm based on the values I have nourished over the years. I believe in the Maori concepts represented by the Hei Matau, Koru, Kiwi, and Wera symbols.”
— Chris Zadeh
Founder of Whangai
In Maori, the symbol ‘HEI MATAU’ is a fishhook.
It represents strength, prosperity and abundance.
Nelson Mandela said, "There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
In Maori, the ‘KORU’ symbol is a ground fern and it represents new life, purity, peace and tranquility. A passionate life leads to sustained growth.
There are three choices in life: give in, give up, or give it all.
The ‘KIWI’ symbol is a bird and it represents perseverance, pride and endearment. If you have perseverance and a willingness to never give up, you’ll be successful at whatever you do in life.
When we work with people, a personal connection is a must.
The symbol “WERA” is a whale tail and it represents this personal connection, friendship, family, and harmony.
We help entrepreneurs scale their company. This is as versatile as it sounds. Whangai adds value by providing advice and support on strategy, funding, mergers and acquisitions.
Whether its strategic advisory, funding or M&A advisory, our clients can wake us up at night for these discussions. We have been there ourselves for over twenty years.
We founded companies, scaled them up, raised capital, merged them, listed them and sold them.
Now its time to sit side by side with entrepreneurs and help them scale their company. We use, next to our own experiences and skills, our enormous network of advisors, (fiscal) lawyers, banks, successful entrepreneurs and so on. Whangai creates a specific deal team to match the task in front of us.
Whangai Expeditions invests in companies with its own capital. For instance, we have invested in Amberscript. Its software automatically transforms audio to text.
Whangai adds value by providing advice and support on strategy, funding, mergers and acquisitions. Whether its strategic advisory, funding or M&A advisory, our clients can wake us up at night for these discussions.
Some young entrepreneurs have the need for a mentor, and we love to work with inspired and motivated individuals. We mentor them in mind, body, spirit and help them become true leaders.
Chris met the founder of BinckBank, Kalo Bagijn, in the year 2000. He didn’t hesitate for a second and joined Kalo on an amazing adventure. What started on a whiteboard with the idea of creating an online broker emerged into a listed fintech unicorn in just 8 years.
After working in the fintech industry for 15 years Chris founded Ohpen in 2009, the first cloud-based core banking company in the world. As a survivor of a difficult childhood, Chris made the decision that it would not define him. With a give-it-all mindset, Chris embarked on a journey to defy the odds that were stacked against him and exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own. While pursuing his dream to create the best core banking engine in the world, he was confronted with countless rejections and obstacles, but Chris never gave up.
After leading the company as CEO for ten years, Chris stepped down, sold his shares, and founded Whangai to help entrepreneurs scale their company. It is the merger of his creativity and knowledge of technology and dealmaking into one tight-knit combination that helps his clients, network, and partners achieve their ultimate business goals and lifelong dreams.
He and his wife Myrthe live in Ibiza, Spain, with their three cats and two dogs, Myza and Yucca. When Chris isn’t looking for new ideas and inspiration, or shark diving, he is writing books, practicing yoga, meditating, and martial arts.
He is the author of the #1 Amazon bestselling Monkey Money Mind: How to Stop Monkeying Around with Your Money (Forbes)
and Banking the Cloud: The Comprehensive History of Cloud Banking and Those Who Started It (Forbes)
and the forthcoming Yogi CEO.
“Be a part of something that is bigger than yourself. To truly feed your spirit, remember this: the secret to living is giving. No matter how busy or broke you may be, you have something to offer others.”
— Tony Robbins
Our founder, Chris Zadeh, decided, long before he could afford it, that he would try to live by the words of this quote.
Throughout his whole career he tried to contribute to other things besides his own life. He donates regularly and supports charities that are dear to him:
Care 4 Cats‘When I found out that this 82-year-old woman runs a nonprofit organization on Ibiza to save cats, I was hooked and decided to support them.’
AH second to none‘To have the strength to start an organization and raise money to cure others with cancer is something I respect a lot.’
IT 4 Kids‘I genuinely believe that learning about computers and learning to code is a way out of poverty for many kids. ‘
Marilles Foundation‘I admire this foundation that does so much to preserve the beautiful sea around the Baleares.’
Marina Mega Fauna‘When I saw a documentary about Andrea Marshall, who dedicated her life to saving the Manta Ray, I knew what to do.’
Oceana‘Our oceans are our life, and I support this organisation that is committed to preserving our precious resources and habitat.’
“I have known, mentored and worked with Chris for over twenty years and for me it is a fact that if Chris is part of a deal, the deal will be better”.
“In my entire career as a CEO, entrepreneur and investor, I have rarely worked with anyone who, as an entrepreneur, negotiator and strategist, has made a big impression on me. Except for Chris Zadeh, who has proven to be very successful and capable in all these areas. On top of that, he honors his agreements and 100% trustworthy”.
"Chris is one of the best negotiators I have ever met and during my time as CEO of Temenos I have met a lot."
‘Chris has a unique combination of skills: on the one hand, he can think along with IT down to the smallest detail level. On the other hand, I have rarely met anyone who can hold such a convincing sales pitch. There are many good IT people and many good sales people on this earth. However, you rarely find a combination of both in one person. Except with Chris …
“Chris is an entrepreneurial and tech savvy sparring partner with whom you always break new ground”
“I got to know Chris during our collaboration at Ohpen. His energy, creativity and sharpness make him a very valuable sparring partner and a nice guy to work with.”
"Chris is literally the best “warrior” you can have on your side ”
“Chris never settles for mediocre; his focus, curiosity and outspokenness make him one of my favorite business partners.”
“I have rarely met such a good dealmaker as Chris.”
"Conversations with Chris are refreshing and eye-opening. He has a different way of looking at things, thereby broadening my view. We discuss things on a regular basis, he always gives me new insights."
I know Chris as one of the rare persons who combine vision, passion with strict execution. Chris is a true entrepreneur, and his energy and curiosity are inspiring.
“I have gotten to know Chris as a person who uses his energy and focus to believe, create and grow. His sharp and creative entrepreneurial thinking combined with his witty personality makes stand out. He continues where others stop and does not shy away from hurdles or obstacles, he rather overcomes them.”
“I think we can all confirm that there are people who are gifted with special talents. Chris’ talent is his ability to develop a stubborn and visionary view on digital evolution. This combined with a stellar customer focus and dealmaking abilities makes him extremely valuable in all Fintech circumstances.”
“Chris is an amazing, inspiring, genuine, down to earth guy. He has the unique quality of being an IT “master” with strong commercial and business acumen. Chris understands and lives the principle of sharing, caring and daring and is therefore a great sparring partner”.
I see Chris as a passionate entrepreneur who can, based on his vison and experience, bring every entrepreneur a step further in their development. Furthermore, his way of life is an inspiration and motivation to become a better version of yourself.
Chris is an authentic personality who can connect strategic issues with practical implementation. This gives him crucial knowledge to guide the transition to a new phase with new financiers.