FTV Capital-backed enterprise technology companies are re-purposing an existing investment strategy to address the unexpected needs of healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus war.
Consider ID.me, which enables users to securely prove and share their identity online. The FTV-backed business has already proven useful in new ways during the pandemic, including teaming up with Slack to create a secure workspace for hospitals.
Liron Gitig, a partner at FTV, told PE Hub the collaboration “started with talking about doctors sifting through misinformation,” and wondering, “how do we create a workspace where only credentialed people can contribute?”
Under the newly created platform, verified medical professionals nationwide can openly share real-time information and ask questions, enabling communication that’s crucial to curbing the coronavirus curb.
“The fact that digital identity has been a broken process was well understood in healthcare and other areas,” Gitig said. “The use case is new, but the challenge is well understood and growing.”
Separate from the partnership with Slack, ID.me is assisting many existing e-commerce clients that want to make special offers to first responders, Gitig said. Using ID.me, online retailers can verify that a given user is a healthcare professional – allowing for discounts or priority access to goods, for instance.
ID.me is joined by other FTV-backed businesses that are not only equipped to withstand the current market turmoil, but after stabilizing operations, have sought out opportunities to use existing products or services to make an impact, Gitig told PE Hub.
That’s in part because the FTV playbook is all about supporting the growth of businesses that tackle long-term challenges in the country – many of which are heightened in the current environment, the investor said.
“We focus on vendors that we know have a value proposition that strongly resonates with large vendors,” Gitig said. “Companies we invest in are very tightly aligned with information we have from very large names.”
The growth equity firm’s investment strategy is built around its Global Partner Network, which encompasses more than 400 strategic executives – many of which sit within large financial services companies – that provide access to sector-specific knowledge.
“We spend a lot of time at those organizations understanding what they’re experiencing,” including, Gitig said, their “key pain points.”
FTV thematically tries to identify companies that capitalize on long-term structural changes in the market and the needs of blue chip customers, versus short-term fads. It also targets companies with at least 20 percent historical and near-term revenue growth and recurring and diversified revenue models.
Besides ID.me, FTV-backed NewsCred, a work management software and content market company, looked beyond its typical ecosystem to procure and supply masks to frontline medical staff free-of-charge.
The company is leading the One Million Masks initiative, whose goal is to provide 1 million PPE (personal protective equipment) masks to New York hospitals – NYU Langone and NY Presbyterian in particular.
According to its website, NewsCred is sourcing the masks from factories in China – utilizing its existing local contacts on the ground as well as the expertise of individuals of operations teams of US companies that have been directly sourcing from these factories for years.
The nature in which the initiative was organized underscores the skill-sets of entrepreneurs that FTV backs – in particular, the ability to be collaborative, Gitig said. “Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs.”
Elsewhere, FTV-backed companies are serving needs beyond the healthcare ecosystem.
For instance, FTV-backed A-lign, a cybersecurity and compliance company, is finding its services are even more critical as security exposures are now distributed across peoples’ homes, Gitig said.
A-lign, Gitig said, is helping people think through “what are the exposures in new environments?” and “how can I find a vendor to help close those holes?”
OpenSesame, a marketplace for online learning courses, was one FTV portfolio company that immediately said, “we have a role to play,” Gitig said.
The business is providing unlimited free access to coronavirus preparedness and remote work training for any organization through May 15, 2020.
Other FTV-backed businesses are pulling their resources to help retail and food businesses.
Tango Card, an e-gift card rewards and incentive program company, is helping employers reward and relieve stress for their employees working from home, offering grocery or food delivery gift cards. That, in turn, helps keep local businesses afloat, the firm said.
Vagaro, an online booking system for spas and salons, is offering their small- and medium-sized business clients free subscriptions, messaging and online shopping carts. Encouraging the use of gift certificates will support cash flow needs as spas and salons try to manage through the crisis, Gitig said.
FTV typically invests between $10 million to $85 million in companies with $10 million to $100 million in annualized revenue. The firm provides growth equity to businesses in the enterprise technology & services, financial services and payments & transaction processing sectors.
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