VSS backs Globo, betting on need for translation services with rise of telehealth

VSS's Bainbridge: “All healthcare providers are focused on health equity, and language barriers can be the cause of problems."

VSS Capital Partners will announce later Tuesday morning that it has completed a growth investment in Globo Language Solutions LLC , a provider of on-demand language interpretation services.

With a global network of about 4,000 linguists who speak 250 languages, Globo’s cloud-based platform provides personalized expertise in translation and streamlined language access to customers in a variety of industry sectors. Most of its customers are in the healthcare sector, where demand for its services is benefiting from the rise in telehealth visits in the pandemic.

VSS focuses on tech-enabled healthcare services, and the firm typically invests between $20 million and $30 million in minority, growth-oriented investments. The investment in Globo is in keeping with the strategy, giving VSS a significant minority stake, while founder/own CEO Gene Schriver remains in control of the business.

“We think very highly of the CEO and management team, and this is very much a growth-oriented investment in Globo’s business, which has been growing by more than 20 percent per year for the last five years,” David Bainbridge, managing director at VSS, told PE Hub.

About 80 percent of Globo’s business is focused on serving companies in the healthcare industry, including health insurance providers, hospitals and physician practices; the vast majority of Globo’s customers operate in the healthcare sector.

There has been widespread adoption of telehealth over the last couple of years due to the pandemic, and Globo’s business grew 4x in the telehealth sub-sector.

“There are many tailwinds in the business, not the least of which is the growing number of limited English proficient patients and customers in the US,” he said, noting that there are roughly 25 million people living in the US with limited English proficiency. “All healthcare providers are focused on health equity, and language barriers can be the cause of problems,” said Bainbridge.

The growth plan for this investment will be a mix of organic and inorganic. “Our capital is going to be used to continue to develop and grow Globo’s platform and technology.”

The firm expects Globo to make acquisitions, pointing out that the highly fragmented has about 27,000 different language interpretation businesses.

“We’re actively pursuing one add-on acquisition at this time but expect to pursue many others,” Bainbridge said. “These businesses range from comparable and larger-sized businesses to smaller tuck-in acquisitions. Some add new capabilities, and others new geographies like international.”

When asked about any overall economic challenges, Bainbridge responded: “Globo isn’t having supply chain issues, and with respect to inflation, this is a critical service for hospitals that’s required by the government. In addition, hospitals are reimbursed based on their customer experience, so Globo’s service is very important,” he said. “If there was any impact from inflation, we think there are increases that we could pass along to customers, but we don’t view this as an issue right now.”

Founded in 1981, VSS is a private investment firm that invests in the healthcare, business services and education industries. Headquartered in New York, VSS provides capital for growth financing, recapitalizations, strategic acquisitions and buyouts to lower mid-market companies and management teams with the goal of building companies organically as well as through a focused add-on acquisition program.