Thoma Bravo recently invested $60 million in Vivian Health, and the tech-focused private equity firm has big plans for the healthcare employer-employee matchmaking software developer. PE Hub reached out to Christine Kang, principal on the growth team at Thoma Bravo, to learn more.
The healthcare sector spends trillions of dollars on labor every year. Attracting and retaining talent for both in-person treatment and telehealth are enormous challenges for the industry. Structural shortages and a dearth of technology hold the sector back when it comes to employment.
Thoma Bravo’s investment in Vivian leverages the digital transformation underway in the sector to enable more efficient staffing and workforce management.
There are two approaches, Kang explained. One uses software to automate the end-to-end recruiting process; and the other uses an online marketplace in which employees and employers come together, and software matches supply and demand. Vivian falls under the second approach.
Vivian is like LinkedIn for the healthcare sector, Kang said. “This is an exciting business model for us because, ultimately, this is a supply-constrained market. So, whoever is able to win the most supply, the most engaged supply, is incredibly well-positioned to service all types of healthcare employers.”
There are a couple of aspects that make Vivian unique, according to Kang.
“The liquidity they have on their platform is head and shoulders above and gives them an advantage in the space,” she said. “They have a universal profile that someone can fill out once and access all types of jobs and positions. The platform has over 700,000 healthcare professionals on the site, all looking for quality jobs. No one else has close to that level of engagement.”
She also noted that the matching algorithm and ability to generate insight is more mature than competitors. Vivian provides insights on aspects, such as salaries.
Last year, Vivian filled 15 percent of all travel nursing positions, according to Kang.
“You need nurses coming back to the platform again and again,” she said. “Having the largest number of jobs on the platform, whether it be permanent, temporary or travel, is also important.”
The firm has big plans for Vivian, including organic growth and M&A.
“One of the most exciting things that drew my attention to Vivian is the secular growth opportunity as well as the organic growth opportunity” said Kang, who noted that 32 percent of registered nurses are expected to leave their current employer this year, which is 10 percent higher than what it was last year. Nurses represent over 50 percent of the healthcare workforce, and it can take years to get nurses trained.
“There are ways we can augment those things,” she said. “Vivian’s vision is to have every clinician in the US on their platform and offer value to employers in America who are hiring healthcare workers.”
Kang added that the end user of the platform can be anything from urgent care clinics to pharmacies, doctors’ offices, telehealth providers and schools.
“When I think about inorganic initiatives, it is around how we can accelerate those different pockets of demand and bringing those relationships with different clients hiring healthcare workers,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to get all 18 million people who work in healthcare in the US on their platform and be able to service any kind of end market,” said Kang. “Anything that gets us closer to that, we will evaluate that and consider it, whether it’s organically or inorganically.”
The opportunities for growth are wide-ranging. “There are a number of strategic plays we are currently evaluating,” she said. “The common theme is how can we deepen relationships with health systems and large healthcare employers. We need to find ways through tech, partnerships or acquisitions with people who do have those relationships.”
The plan is to hold and grow the asset, with the hopes of taking it public one day.
“We are a long-term investor, so we expect, given the secular tailwinds, this could be a very, very long-term hold,” she said. “However, we expect to help Vivian become a public company, so we expect an IPO, and the shareholders are aligned with that vision.”
(This has been corrected to reflect that the Vivian platform has over 700,000 healthcare professionals on the site, not 7,000)