First Round: Taking it slow

Is Charterhouse taking the concept of 'patient capital' a little too far?

First Round recently discovered that in some journalistic circles, it’s considered common practice to do something called ‘research’. Often, it seems, this is even conducted prior to the writing of articles.

Duly shamed, First Round immediately went online and started looking at some websites of private equity firms (which, as far as it can gather, is what said ‘research’ basically amounts to).

Sure enough, this led to some ground-breaking discoveries. Did you know, for instance, that many private equity firms pride themselves on the calibre of their people and their years of accumulated operating expertise? Very heartening, you’ll surely agree.

Other discoveries were less cheering, however. UK firm Charterhouse may be generally regarded as a little publicity shy, shall we say, but it has a nice website, garnished by some pictures of London Bridge. However, on perusing the timeline therein, which features some key dates in Charterhouse’s history, First Round couldn’t help noticing that the firm appears to have done nothing whatsoever of any significance between 1982 and 2001.

First Round is well aware that this is a long term asset class. But isn’t this taking the concept of patient capital too far?