After more years in business now than I care to remember, I’m firmly of the opinion that the number one factor influencing the success of a transaction is the people involved and the way they work together.
Stuart and I have seen this proven out time and time again as we’ve worked our way through a myriad of transactions in the various businesses we’ve been involved in, and know that when like minded people come together with a shared view of what’s possible extraordinary things can be achieved.
Our partnership with Quadrant Private Equity is a great illustration of this, with Icon Group now Australia’s leading private provider of integrated cancer care just two short years after our decision to accept their initial investment offer into Icon Cancer Care in 2014. During that time revenues have grown from 100M to a forecast 1B for FY2016-17, with the acquisition of radiation oncology, chemotherapy compounding and pharmacy management services joining the original medical oncology business during that time.
We had approaches from a wide variety of private equity firms at the time we went to market, and the financial offers on the table all argued a compelling case. The reason we ultimately chose Quadrant as our co-investor rested with the people. We liked them, and could see ourselves working really well together to reach our shared goals. That’s certainly played out in reality, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the Quadrant team as Icon has gone from strength to strength.
The latest transaction we’ve been involved with is on a smaller scale – at this stage anyway! – but has also seen us follow this same principle. Stuart and I angel invested in a software startup founded by Dr Catriona Wallace after Catriona pitched the concept to me at the Commonwealth Bank Women in Focus annual conference a few years ago. Flamingo has developed a cloud based platform to guide online customers from page view to purchase, and has built and patented artificial intelligence software to learn how customers and employees interact.
I joined the board, and have enjoyed working with Catriona as she’s taken the company from concept to execution, including taking it to the US post the success of its early pilot installations in Australia. After an additional super angel round in Australia in mid 2015 to fund the US expansion, we commenced a capital raise round late last year which initially targeted the US VC market.
During that process the Flamingo board received an approach from the ASX listed company Cre8tek, and quickly identified that there was a really good fit between our team and their directors. As discussions progressed, it became clear that Australia’s transition to an innovation led economy provided a great opportunity for Flamingo to work with Cre8tek to build on the awareness and support that the investor market has for Australian led and developed technology products, and we switched our focus from the VC market to follow this path.
Transaction discussions reveal a lot about the way people behave and interact under pressure, and the more conversations we had with the Cre8tek team the more obvious it became that we were going to work really well together in delivering on our shared visions around Flamingo’s growth trajectory.
The acquisition of Flamingo by Cre8tek was announced to our shareholders and the ASX late last week, and Catriona and I, along with the wider Flamingo team, can’t wait to work with the guys at Cre8tek and see just how far this bird can soar.