10 questions with the team at 27four | Rory Ord

In this series, we ask members from our team a mix of random questions, 10 to be exact, and see what’s on their mind – the projects they’re working on, things they like, and some surprising (not so important but nice to know) facts on the people that are living investments.

We’re joined by Rory Ord. Rory hails from Cape Town and joined 27four as part our private equity team. He is bright, curious and extremely excited about private equity and its role in South Africa, having just set-up a first of its kind private equity strategy. The strategy is designed for selected institutional investors seeking diversified portfolios of experienced black private equity managers and empowered investee companies through a single point of access. Rory fittingly calls this new venture the Black Business Growth FundTM.


We speak to Rory about it in his 10 questions. Here’s what we learnt.


What major projects are in the pipeline now?

We are working to establish a really strong private equity capability within 27four, specifically starting with our flagship product, the Black Business Growth Fund. We are also working to establish an ESD fund to help corporate South Africa to invest meaningfully in its own supply chains.

Can you explain that in a short blurb?

Because we are just starting up, this means lots of time with lawyers setting up structures and contracts, and lots of time with potential investors and fund managers. Through the BBGF and the ESD fund we will invest in parts of the market that are under served, and where we can make a difference in terms of jobs, growth, transformation, and of course excellent returns for our investors! Because these companies are off the radar, it takes a lot more work to find them, but there are many gems out there just waiting to be found.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

There is a building in Germany where they are installing the world’s first lift which operates without cables. It uses a system of magnets to move the lift around. Besides being amazing (and a little scary) this has many implications for the design of cities. The weight of lift cables is a major limiting factor in the height of buildings, so we are likely to see skyscrapers get 50% taller going forward. Secondly, it will allow lifts to move horizontally, which is pretty amazing!

What would you name your boat if you had one?

My boat would be named “Dry Dock”. I get seasick, so I would most likely just set it up as a bar and never leave the harbour.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

This is tough as I have been lucky to travel a fair bit. A few highlights are gorilla trekking in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, Yosemite National Park in California, and the unspoiled Cape Coast in Ghana.

If you had a time machine, where would you go right now?

Growing up with Back to the Future, I know what can go wrong with time travel. Nobody wants their Mom to have a crush on them! I’ll stay right here thanks!

Is there life on mars?


Are you more of a hunter or gatherer?

The only things I hunt are the cockroaches, flies and mosquitoes that are plaguing Cape Town along with the drought, and I gather I will be doing this for some time!

What are you working towards in your free time?

I have a 1 year old son, I don’t have free time.

Teach me something we probably don’t know.

I visited a glass factory in Egypt a few years ago to see how glass is made. It starts with all the ingredients on a conveyer belt being dropped into a big swimming pool like container. This gets heated until it is molten and then the surface of the molten liquid starts to cool. Little wheels with teeth grip onto this slightly more viscous gooey liquid and pull the surface off onto a conveyer belt. This creates a thin ribbon of glass on the conveyer belt. The faster they turn the wheels, the thinner the glass is. The ribbon carries on along the conveyer belt for about half a kilometre to cool it. A diamond then zips across the surface of the moving ribbon (at an angle to compensate for the movement) to cut the glass into rectangles. It then gets put straight into boxes and loaded into shipping containers to be sent around the world.