About Us

Our Vision

To build an international partnership:

  • between people who share our family values and goals
  • which will develop our intellectual and emotional capacity and wealth; and
  • that will provide a platform for future generations to fulfil their commercial and altruistic ambitions.

Progress So Far

We started Capricorn Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd (formerly Capricorn Ventures (Pty) Limited) in 1995 as an independent Private Equity and Hedge Fund business in Johannesburg, South Africa with a relatively small capital base. The team of Geoff Snelgar, Rob Fihrer and Gavin Chadwick was the original Investment and Strategy team that drove the investment and strategy development in The Hollard Insurance Group (Hollard) and Yellowwoods (formerly Capricorn Ventures International).

The idea was to replicate the success the team had achieved over the previous 10 years in Hollard and Yellowwoods – but not on the Hollard balance sheet.

This team grew Hollard from a small insurer with a value of about $15m in 1993 to become the 3rd largest player in the South African market with a market value of circa $500m in 2003.

In addition, through private equity investments both on and off the Hollard balance sheet and internationally in Yellowwoods, assets grew from a value of less than $50m in 1993 to circa $750m in 2003.

These investments included Clientèle, Direct Axis, Budget Group and Nandos.

We achieved this success by embracing our core philosophies and approach.

Critical to the success of Hollard and Yellowwoods was building teams of intellectual capital and access to financial capital in South Africa and the United Kingdom initially, then subsequently in Australia.

Building this international teamwork therefore became a key objective for the Group.

In 2008 Damon Hoff, who co-founded the Hedge Fund division of Capricorn with Rob Fihrer in 2003, and Geoff Snelgar, established the UK operation of Capricorn, Capricorn Capital Partners (UK) Limited, which coincided with the launch of Capricorn GEM Fund Inc and LP.

In 2011 the private equity advisory business was started in London with Geoff Snelgar, Rob Gottlieb and Pat Snelgar. This strategy is gaining momentum focussing on financial services distribution. These include activities in Poland, Hungary, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Future

Our goals are to:
  • Further invest in a world class operations team and a strong marketing team to support the proven quality of the investment team.
  • Continue to develop the strength of our team and culture of building lasting relationships which add value to our clients.

We focus on identifying transformative companies which fit into our country themes, based on our personal experiences in South Africa.