Capricorn Investment Group, the sustainable investment platform established 23-years ago by eBay billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, is opening up to “select new clients”, delegates at the Impact Investor Global Summit in London heard this week.
Capricorn is a $9 billion AUM firm, the firm’s head of client solutions Kunle Apampa said. Around two-thirds of this is third party capital managed on an outsourced CIO basis, which is what the business will look to grow.
It also invests in both impact technology (it’s first tech investment in 2005 was in Tesla) and in impact-focused asset managers through a GP stakes investing programme. “We seeded about a dozen or so other asset managers off the balance sheet,” said Apampa.
Capricorn was an early LP in Generation Investment Management, the pioneering sustainable investing firm, and was a GP stake investor in Vision Ridge Partners, a sustainable infrastructure firm. In 2019 it created a private equity-style fund structure to allow third-party capital to participate in the GP stakes business, Apampa said.
“We have been able to manage outside third party capital, mainly on an unsolicited basis,” said Apampa, who joined the firm last year having most recently been COO of Goldman Sachs’ sustainable investment business, Imprint AIMS. “My joining is bringing a little bit of that institutional capacity to be able to build up that platform in itself,” he said.
The firm is looking to take on “select new clients: about 10 to 12 asset owners who really think about this [impact investing] in a very authentic way”.
Apampa underscored the experimentation and entrepreneurialism required to create an impact investing platform. “We have been very fortunate to be able to do this over the last two decades… and we failed a lot of times,” he said. “In those failures came lessons we were able to use, so that we were able to say ‘we can do this work authentically'”.
“It takes time, it takes learning, it takes persistence,” he said.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add details on the OCIO business and reflect the fact that Capricorn was an early backer of Generation Investment Management funds, rather than an investor in the GP.