I doubt you’ll find an article on this subject so we’ll start it off here.
Going through the 1,400 odd firms in Private Equity Database, it seems as though most private equity groups follow a fairly predictable pattern when coming up with firm names. If it’s not “something Group”, “something Partners”, “something Capital”, or better yet, “something Capital Partners”, chances are your firm is in the minority.
Of the firms we have listed, the most popular name form is “something Capital” with 381 firms or 28% choosing this arrangement. The second most popular is “something Group” with 296 representatives (22%). In third place (and highly related to the No. 1 choice above) is “something Capital Partners” with 206 total entries (15%). Finally, even the combination of “something Partners” is popular enough for 80 records (6%).
Adding up the numbers, that works out to more than 7 out of 10 firms choosing at least one form of the above. Once you add in “something Equity”, (as in Providence Equity or Platinum Equity), that essentially just leaves eponymous firms.
So what explains the popularity of inserting “Capital” and the lack of naming originality occasionally found in other alternative asset classes, (see Y Combinator for one)? The biggest reason certainly has to be the concept that adding “Capital” or “Capital Partners” lends an inexpensive form of seeming credibility, both for prospective LPs as well as potential sellers and their representatives. Even if your name is “Failure Capital” it’s hard not to sound at least a little successful.