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Originally Posted by Richmond-Times Dispatch

Written by JOHN REID BLACKWELL

When CapTech Ventures was founded in Richmond in 1997 as a two-man information technology consulting firm, many of the firm’s clients were just learning how to use the internet for business.

“Back in 1997, it was hard to find people who really knew what the internet was,” said Sandy Williamson, who co-founded the company with Slaughter Fitz-Hugh. “It was hard to find trained internet architects.”

The technology landscape has evolved and accelerated enormously since then, pushing businesses and government agencies to adapt to such changes as the rise of smartphones, mobile technology and cloud computing.

Ten years ago, clients were mostly interested in how technology could improve their internal processes and reduce costs, said Kevin McQueen, CapTech’s CEO and an employee since 1998.

Now, the emphasis is much more on how technology can help organizations better serve their customers. “Now, customers are king,” McQueen said.

“It is much more about helping clients innovate now,” he said. “Companies have to be a lot more nimble.”

As a firm that helps organizations do that, CapTech has been growing consistently by “riding the technology wave with our clients,” said Williamson, the company’s chairman.

CapTech has earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing U.S. companies for 10 years, at times ranking as the fastest-growing company in Virginia. This year, it ranked No. 4,714, posting a three-year growth rate of 50 percent and $103.3 million in revenue.

The company employs hundreds of consultants who help its customers — many of them Fortune 500 companies or government agencies — keep up with the latest trends in technology. The consultants work with clients to help them better serve their customers through digital strategies, business process improvements and building and managing technology tools such as mobile applications.

CapTech also helps its clients collect, manage and analyze the enormous amount of data that is now available through technology. It also advises clients on the organizational changes needed to manage technology.

“We are much more diversified than a typical company of our size,” said Chief Technology Officer Vinnie Schoenfelder. “We are working across many different industries. It provides some insulation from change in the marketplace.”

Now approaching its 20th year in business, the company employs more than 600 people and has 11 offices in the U.S.; this year, CapTech added new offices in Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio.

In late 2015, Markel Ventures, an investment subsidiary of Henrico County-based specialty insurer Markel Corp., bought a majority ownership stake in CapTech. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it puts CapTech among a portfolio of 16 companies in which Markel has investment stakes, including such local firms as AMF Bakery Systems, Eagle Construction, PartnerMD and RetailData.