Verdane funds sell CRF Health to Vitruvian Partners

8 Jan, 2015

Verdane Capital VII and related funds (Verdane funds) have agreed to sell CRF Health (CRF), the leader in electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOAs), to funds managed and advised by Vitruvian Partners (Vitruvian).

Verdane funds invested in CRF through the acquisition of Nordic Venture Partners fund I, in early 2013. By acquiring out a minority shareholder a few months later to gain majority control, Verdane funds could align the ownership agenda and initiate a long term plan for accelerated growth. The plan included significant investments to develop and expand the management team, to put into place a new technology road map and to target growth in new therapeutic and geographic areas. The business has added more than 100 people to reach 280 employees, and has grown revenues by more than 80% in the two years since Verdane funds became owners. CRF has also launched new solutions, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

“For us, the CRF journey is a text book example of what we can achieve with Verdane funds’ flexible investment strategy. In step one, Verdane funds provide liquidity in two phases to different owner groups. This enabled step two, which was all about helping CRF grow by working closely with the management team. We put an ambitious plan in place together with CEO Rachael Wyllie and her team, and they repeatedly exceeded our expectations during the past two years.”  comments Lars B. Thoresen, Managing Partner at Verdane Capital Advisors.

“We are always thrilled when Nordic technology succeeds internationally and CRF is a great example also of that. When we were seeking out the optimal buyer to support the next stage of growth for CRF, Vitruvian Partners’ expertise with international, high growth technology/healthcare buyouts and their clear understanding of the company’s potential positioned them perfectly for partnering with CRF’s world class management team.” adds Lars B. Thoresen.

CRF’s solutions allow leading biopharmaceutical companies to collect electronic self-reported data from patients during clinical trials. This improves data quality, reduces clinical research costs and shortens time to market. Clinical outcome assessments are increasingly viewed as a platform for growing further services.

Founded in Helsinki in 2000, the company today has experience from about 550 clinical trials globally. From its Nordic base, CRF has followed its clients around the globe, and established its commercial centre in Philadelphia and its headquarters in London.
 
“Under Verdane funds ownership, we have managed to grow revenues by an average of 35% per year, grow our customer base and continue to improve quality. We would not have been able to execute on this ambitious growth strategy without Verdane funds’  focused ownership.”  says Rachael Wyllie, CEO at CRF. “We now look forward to the next leg of our rapid growth journey with Vitruvian.”

“Vitruvian is pleased to invest in CRF at a time of continued rapid market growth for eCOA. This investment will allow the company the flexibility to accelerate growth both organically and inorganically by further leveraging its market-leading technological proposition. We are therefore delighted to partner with CRF Health’s outstanding management team and look forward to jointly driving the next phase of the company’s global development.” comments Philip Russmeyer, Partner at Vitruvian Partners.

Two co-investors joined Verdane Capital VII in backing CRF; Ferd Capital and Hamilton Lane.

Closing is expected to take place on or before 31 January, subject to approval of competition filing. Jefferies acted as corporate finance adviser, KPMG advised on financial aspects, LEK advised on commercial aspects and Travers Smith and Castren & Snellman acted as the seller’s legal advisers.

For further information, please contact:
Lars B. Thoresen, Verdane Capital Advisors, lt@verdanecapital.com or +47 95 70 74 94, or
Frida Einarson, Verdane Capital Advisors, fe@verdanecapital.com or +46 702 44 20 83
 
About Verdane Capital Advisors
Verdane Capital Advisors is the Nordic market's leading manager of secondary direct funds. Verdane funds have €700m in committed capital and focus on investing in companies with strong growth potential, active in the IT, energy and advanced industrial sectors. What sets Verdane funds apart is the flexibility to buy either a complete portfolio, parts of a portfolio or a single shareholding amongst a group of unlisted assets. Since 2003, the funds advised by Verdane Capital Advisors have acquired 23 portfolios with stakes in over 250 companies. Verdane funds have invested in companies such as EasyPark, Mathem, Resman and RoyalDesign. Former holdings include Caretech, Chipcon, Nacre, Reslink, Reslab, Tradedoubler and WhiteAway. For more information, visit www.verdanecapital.com.
 
About CRF Health
CRF Health is a leading provider of electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment (eCOA) solutions for global clinical trials.  With experience in about 550 trials, over 100 languages and across 74 countries, CRF Health’s TrialMax eCOA solutions consistently demonstrate the industry’s highest data accuracy, patient and site compliance, and patient retention. CRF Health’s TrialMax eCOA solutions improve trial engagement by fitting into the lives of patients and seamlessly integrating into sites to maximize protocol compliance.  The company’s eCOA solutions include PROs (Patient Reported Outcomes), ObsROs (Observer Reported Outcomes) and ClinROs (Clinician or Rater Reported Outcomes).
 
About Vitruvian Partners
Vitruvian is an independent private equity firm which specialises in middle]market buyouts, growth buyouts and growth capital investments. Vitruvian focuses on investing in ‘dynamic situations’ in industries characterised by rapid growth and change, such as information technology, healthcare, media, telecoms, financial services, business services, and leisure. Vitruvian is currently investing VIP II, its recently raised fund of £1 billion. The firm’s previous investments in the technology and healthcare sectors include Just Eat, Snow Software, Callcredit Information Group and Healthcare at Home.