Persistence Capital closes fifth new deal with mdBriefCase investment

Canadian private equity firm Persistence Capital Partners has completed an investment in mdBriefCase, an online health education company.

The equity deal, the financial terms of which were not released, is the fifth done in the past twelve months by the Montréal-based firm. It is also the fifth platform investment of its second mid-market healthcare partnership, Persistence Capital Partners II LP, which completed an initial close in 2013.

Headquartered in Toronto, mdBriefCase provides continuing education programs to pharmacists, nurses, family doctors, specialists and patients. Through its online platform, the company delivers free multimedia and interactive programs, the content of which is accredited by independent, third-party physician groups.

mdBriefCase programs reach thousands of healthcare practitioners across Canada and in Australia who are looking to burnish their professional credentials and gain new and up-to-date information about medical conditions and treatments.

Stuart Elman, managing partner at Persistence Capital, believes mdBriefCase has strong growth potential. That’s because the company’s learning platform is readily accessible to busy health and medical professionals.

“The company delivers educational materials in a way that is much more convenient for professionals to maintain their licensing requirements,” he said. “Its innovative online approach improves on traditional venues for continuing medical education, such as conferences.”

Persistence Capital principal John Trang, who was the point man on the deal, said that mdBriefCase has been building its platform and customer base since 2001 and occupies a solid competitive position.

“mdBriefCase has established a unique model for healthcare practitioners to get credits online,” he said. “As a result, the company has emerged as a first mover in both Canada and Australia.” Trang estimated that mdBriefCase holds approximately 80 percent of the online continuing medical education market in Canada, and roughly half of the market in Australia.

The company makes its money from pharmaceutical businesses that sponsor programs, said Trang. It plans to increase revenue by accelerating expansion “in new markets, new technologies and new geographies.” This will allow mdBriefCase to secure new sponsors and give existing sponsors fresh opportunities in areas of interest, he said.

Persistence Capital’s investment in mdBriefCase follows last November’s investment in LMC Diabetes & Endocrinology, a provider of community-based care to diabetics and endocrinology patients. That deal was preceded by the firm’s acquisition in October 2014 of Morneau Shepell’s occupational health clinical services unit, which created Horizon Occupational Health Solutions.

Along with platform investments, the firm last year completed three add-on acquisitions for portfolio companies.

Persistence Capital’s Fund II, which is focused on control-stake acquisitions, growth equity deals, recapitalizations and consolidations in healthcare, obtained $90 million at the time of its first close in May 2013. Elman said the partnership has since raised supplementary capital commitments that will facilitate a final close in March.

“We are delighted by the support we have received from institutional limited partners, who are playing a much larger role in Fund II,” he said.

Elman helped found Persistence Capital in 2008. Trang, formerly, a vice president at Canadian private equity firm TorQuest Partners, joined the firm in 2013.

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