Chris Cowper-Smith, the former CEO of high-tech knee and back brace maker Spring Loaded Technology, has a new company aiming to buy majority stakes in private medical clinics across Canada, with a focus on orthotics, bracing and prosthetics.
Mable Health is a collaboration between Cowper-Smith and Halifax private equity shop SeaFort Capital. He said that central to Mable’s value proposition will be the operational and administrative support the company will offer its portfolio clinics.
At Spring Loaded, Cowper-Smith sold medical grade spinal decompression braces and spring-powered knee braces. While Mable is a completely separate venture, the clinics he hopes to buy stakes in are owned largely by health professionals operating in similar fields, such as the industry orthotics technicians and prosthetists.
“We’re interested in that sector for a number of reasons, one of which is that it’s highly fragmented,” Cowper-Smith, the new company's Executive Chair, said in an interview. “As a result, there’s many small businesses right across the country. And too often, the clinicians at those businesses are burdened by paperwork and barriers surrounding everything from communication with allied health professionals (professional associations) to billing procurement.
“At scale, we’ll be able to add some centralized support functions, which will allow clinicians to focus more on the delivery of top quality patient care.”
Those supports could include financial backing, human resources support, centralized manufacturing of some medical device components, clinical education, marketing work and managing relationships with referral partners and insurance companies, Cowper-Smith added.
“We're looking at majority investments, so 51 percent or greater, but we do look to partner with the acquired companies and owners … so many will continue to have an ownership stake,” said Cowper-Smith. “They'll want to hold that in the parent company over time to see it appreciate in value as the company scales.
“While on the other hand, other owners might be looking for a straight succession plan, where they're looking to sell 100 percent of the business and transition to a new operational leader. We're willing and interested to work with both.”
At first, the main leadership at Mable will comprise Cowper-Smith and SeaFort Vice President Jack Dallaire, a veteran of RBC’s mergers and acquisitions group, although on SeaFort’s side, key decisions will be made by the company as a whole.
Soon, Cowper-Smith hopes to hire a CEO and a CFO, with more staff to come as the business scales.