The Illuminati Version of LinkedIn and why you can’t get in.
Reposted with Permission of Maxime Therault. Original Article here:
Ever heard of STRATOS? And I mean the Greek original founded in 429 BC, not the plastic credit card that failed in 2015. I’m willing to bet $100 bucks right here, right now, that you haven’t.
Stratos, like its Greek namesake, is a strategic route of great importance to some of the most influential people of the time. Today it’s a secret all-encompassing peer platform for celebrities, creatives and high net worth individuals. In fact, it’s so secret that the app doesn’t even have a place in app store, but just an IP address to download the enterprise app. A long winded deep dive search on Google will land you on a single page (stratos.life) with a link to an application form that costs money just to complete. And the domains keep shifting, so who knows if its still there tomorrow.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I will get in trouble just for writing about it. The word has only leaked here and there, but as you read this, the likelihood is quite high that someone at Medium just got a phone call. I’m just waiting for the day I get approached by men in aviator glasses and black trench coats.
‘Inside the Echelon of all Peer Groups’
The uber echelon seems to be cutting out their own niche on the Internet. First starting with Raya, essentially a millionaires version of Tinder and now I would guess a Unicorn gazzillionaire version of LinkedIn, both of which require you to have a referral from the inside, and have something to contribute.
Like any invite-only group, the rumor mills keep churning. According to my source who is a current member and sat on the membership committee, I am told the user base grows only slowly. New potential members are reviewed by a five member committee, creating the right balance between superstars, creatives, power brokers and normal citizens. The group also actively recruits select individuals who get a secret gift mailed to them. But most are referred by existing members or affiliated groups. What makes the Stratos peer group different from other high end groups like Tiger21 or EO is that there are no membership fees and there is no net worth requirement, but rather you are judged on your personal character and whether you are a fit with the existing group.
Members have access to a secret private jet fleet operated by Netjets, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett.
‘Secret fleet of toys’
Even more astounding is, according to my source, that members have access to a secret private jet fleet operated by Netjets (owned by billionaire Warren Buffett), as well as mega yachts, islands and villas around the world — but don’t seem to have to pay rack rate for them. Who needs Jetsmarter when you can bypass their $25,000 membership fee and go right to Netjets. When I was shown the app I saw amazing connections and invites to group outings to places like Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Champagne runs in Monaco and VIP nights in Las Vegas. Once again, Necker normally sets you back $60,000 per day and being a high roller in Vegas means losing $1 million bucks per night. That said members must be happy because they keep sponsoring the organisation with their own cash. In fact, after asking around, I now know of six Silicon Valley tech CEO’s that are currently members. And all of them have asked to remain anonymous for fear of getting ousted. In fact, it’s not the loss of toys that has them scared, but the invaluable business connections. I guess its easier to ask [insert your favorite VC here] for money when sitting in Sir Richards pool.
‘Who is behind Stratos?’
Having lived in San Francisco, my first thought was this is ‘yet another startup’. But alas there is no Crunchbase or AngelList profile to be found. Diving into the Delaware company registry I found that Stratos is run out of glass skyscrapers in London and San Francisco with high end addresses like Buckingham Palace Road and Mission Street in SOMA. Those addresses also happen to be the homes of the Telegraph Media Group, publishers of the Daily Telegraph, the UK’s national newspaper. If that’s the case then two possible billionaire members would be Sir David Rowat Barclay and Sir Frederick Hugh Barclay, commonly referred to as the “Barclay Brothers”. The listed officers and directors of Stratos being cautiously represented by lawyers at high end international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. We found one listing referring to a former lawyer at Royse Law in Palo Alto. But a request for comment was declined due to attorney client privilege. In fact, even known employees are told to say they work for Facebook or some other Unicorn startup, just to divert any potential questions. Having spoken to a few members, there are also some unproven links to top brass at Palantir, IBM, Tesla, Time Warner, LVMH and a few royal houses of Europe. Without being a member or having access to membership lists, it’s nearly impossible to find out who is actually running the show. But this little article has already listed ten billionaire's. This is quickly becoming a club I want to be part of.
Similar to Raya, the group does zero publicity and also actively works to suppress articles like these. It’s only a matter of time until someone will ask me to take this down. As much as I am against these secret little groups, I have to admit that the elitist inside me now really wants an invite too. Alas, this author only has a self-published book to his name, not some J.K. Rowling best-seller. So chances are I won’t get a date with Angelina Jolie any time soon, nor will I be dining with Warren Buffett. I guess I would offer up taking down this article if it meant being able to join. Nonetheless, there exists a world that you and I can only dream of joining. Here’s hoping you get an invite.