28 April 2021
bd-capital partners with Ascenti, the UK’s leading independent provider of physical and mental wellbeing services
bd-capital’s operational expertise and experience will help accelerate the Ascenti team’s work as they continue to develop their market leading digitally-led national network of physiotherapy and mental wellbeing services – helping improve the lives of thousands of people across the UK every day
bd-capital, the pan-European, operationally-led private equity firm, has made its second investment today into Ascenti, a technology-led disruptor in the UK physiotherapy and mental wellbeing markets.
Ascenti started in 1996 as a small rehabilitation business helping victims of motor accidents recover from injury, and through organic growth and a series of acquisitions over the last 20 years has grown into the UK’s leading independent network of physical wellbeing services serving individuals, corporates, insurance companies, private medical insurers, and the UK government.
Every day, Ascenti’s highly trained, directly employed team of more than 300 physiotherapists and wellbeing practitioners deliver thousands of hours of care, alleviating physical and mental stress and improving the lives of people across the UK.
While physical and mental wellbeing has always been important, over the last few years there has been a significant structural shift in the way we all view our health. A focus on prevention of physical ailments before major symptoms develop has led to the growth of pre-emptive physiotherapy. People are more active than they have ever been and want to remain active as far into their older years as possible. In addition, acceptance of talking about physical and mental health to our family, friends and on social media has increased dramatically and has become a national topic of conversation.
The impact of COVID-19 and lockdowns has resulted in new types of physical and mental stress. Those working from home in difficult conditions have seen stresses on their physical wellbeing, while an unprecedented number of people’s mental health has been impacted, through isolation and the impact the virus itself has had on friends and family.
In addition, the role of technology is playing a greater part in all our lives every day, and this is particularly true in the provision of physical and mental wellbeing services. Ascenti’s market-leading digital proposition is the only ‘end-to-end’ technology in the market. These systems, developed in-house by Ascenti, provide effective referral management, assessment and triage, practitioner allocation, booking engines, monitoring of outcomes and feedback to those paying for the services. This technology delivers to all customers, whether insurance companies, corporates or individuals, an intuitive and compelling experience, which results in better clinical outcomes.
bd-capital will be partnering with the existing management team of Ascenti, led by Stephanie Dobrikova, who said: “We are excited to be partnering with the bd-capital team to take Ascenti to the next level, supporting us as we grow our network, invest in technology and expand our services. We immediately knew that we had found a great partner on meeting bd-capital and they have approached the opportunity to invest in Ascenti with openness, consideration and enthusiasm throughout all our discussions. I know I speak for my entire team when I say that we are excited to be working with bd-capital and am in no doubt that we have selected an exceptional partner.”
Following the investment by bd-capital, both the management team and original founder will remain invested in the company. In addition to Stephanie Dobrikova leading the company as CEO, David Johnston, Operating Partner at bd-capital, will become Chairman.
Richard Baker, Managing Partner and co-Founder of bd-capital, and former CEO of Alliance Boots and Chairman of Virgin Active, commented, “Ascenti is run by an exceptional team, who are on a journey to creating a very special company in the physical and mental wellbeing market. In our view, Ascenti’s team, digital proposition and national scale stands it apart from its competition and we are excited to be partnering with Stephanie and her team to help improve the lives of many more people across the UK over the coming years.”
Established in 2019 by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner, bd-capital takes an operationally-led approach to its partnerships with businesses where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating exciting growth opportunities. Since launching in 2019, the bd-capital team has grown to 18 people, 6 of whom are former CEOs with experience of growing mid-size businesses in the European market.
Ascenti was advised by Arrowpoint Advisory (corporate finance), KPMG (financial), Lyons Davidson (legal), Shoosmiths (management advisory), and WA Communications (political).
bd-capital executed the transaction in close partnership with advisory teams from PwC (financial), Weil, Gotshal & Manges (legal), LEK (commercial), Axis Arbor (debt advisory), M&G Investments (debt), McDermotts (debt legals), Norton Rose (debt legals), European Valuations (debt support), Palladium Digital Group (technology), Marsh (insurance) and Ropes & Gray (compliance and regulation).
Ascenti is the leading independent provider of physiotherapy, mental health and selected clinical outsourcing services in the UK. They are a trusted partner to more than 20 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and hundreds of private businesses across the UK, serving NHS patients, pay as you go customers and private medical insurance members.
With extensive national coverage, Ascenti has over 300 highly trained physiotherapists and healthcare professionals delivering upwards of 600,000 treatment sessions annually. Enabling people to make headway after illness and injury, step back in to work after accidents, or simply stay active and keep moving forward in their daily lives.
Ascenti is a dynamic and progressive company – advancing physical and mental therapies by making them more accessible to all, raising standards and pioneering new digitally enabled services.
For more information about Ascenti, please visit www.ascenti.co.uk
9 July 2020
bd-capital partners with Symprove, marking the new private equity firm’s first investment
bd-capital’s operational expertise and experience will support the Symprove team as they continue to disrupt the £35bn probiotics market - by making Symprove’s scientifically-proven, life-changing formula available to more of the people who need it most
bd-capital, the pan-European, operationally-led private equity firm, has made its first investment today into Symprove, an innovative disruptor in the £35bn probiotics market.
The Symprove brand was launched in 2010 by Barry Smith on his farm in Farnham, Surrey; Barry discovered that his innovative probiotic formula could not only make the animals on his farm live disease-free lives without the need for antibiotics – but could work on human beings, too. Over the following decade, Symprove’s liquid supplement containing live, active multi-strain bacteria, and its patented delivery system allowing the bacteria to “arrive, survive and thrive” in the gut, was recognised as uniquely effective by some of the world’s leading academics.
Interest in how to improve gut health has grown exponentially in recent years, as advances in scientific research and medicine have continued to uncover how the diversity and balance of bacteria in the microbiome affects many conditions – not only gut conditions such as IBS and IBD, but Parkinson’s and dementia, cardiovascular conditions, mood and mental health. While the science is emerging, it has become clear that people with many different diseases tend to have a less diverse or unbalanced microbiome.
With customer feedback regularly describing Symprove as “life-changing”, it is unsurprising that the company’s daily-use, subscription product, sold primarily through its direct-to-consumer website, is growing at more than 50% year-on-year through word-of-mouth and recommendations from doctors and nutritionists. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic heightened interest in proactive health management, evidenced by a spike in searches online for “probiotics” and “immunity function”.
Recognising that Symprove could change the lives of many more people in the UK and beyond, Founder Barry Smith looked for a partner who could help him realise this potential and chose bd-capital: “We were aware that we needed serious help to take Symprove to the next level and it was clear to us that bd-capital could bring a huge level of expertise and experience to the task. More importantly, however, what sets bd-capital apart is their care and consideration; they are eager to safeguard Symprove’s heritage and brand integrity as the company enters its next chapter of growth. bd-capital’s excitement to work with us is palpable and the entire Symprove team feel the same way; I am in no doubt that we have selected an exceptional partner.”
Following the investment by bd-capital, Founder Barry Smith will remain on the Board of Symprove, Mike Butler will continue as CEO and David Johnston, Operating Partner at bd-capital, will become Chairman, bringing with him 20 years of FMCG industry expertise.
Richard Baker, Managing Partner and co-Founder of bd-capital, and former CEO of Alliance Boots, commented, “It is clear to us from our interactions with Barry and the Symprove team, our own diligence, and review of both the scientific materials and customer feedback, that Symprove not only
has the opportunity for significant future growth, but the potential to change the lives of millions of people living with conditions and symptoms that, today, have very limited treatment options. We are inspired by the level of responsibility, and the scale of the task, that being investors in Symprove will bring.
We share Barry’s vision for Symprove of becoming the world’s leading probiotic supplement, bringing scientific rigour and well-evidenced outcomes to an industry that has often overpromised and under-delivered. We believe that our unique team of business leaders and investment professionals bring the level of experience and professionalism necessary to steward Symprove through this next phase of growth.”
Established in 2019 by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner, bd-capital takes an operationally-led approach to its partnerships with businesses where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities. Since launching in June 2019, the bd-capital team has grown to 17 people, 6 of whom are former CEOs with experience of growing businesses in the European mid-market space.
Symprove was advised by Spayne Lindsay & Co (corporate finance) and Goodwin (legal). bd-capital executed the transaction in partnership with advisory teams from PwC (financial), Weil, Gotshal & Manges (legal), Marsh (insurance) and Ropes & Gray (compliance and regulation).
The Symprove brand was launched in 2010 in Farnham, Surrey, founded in the belief that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria balance can help you live a fuller life. The company holds that same belief today and have stayed curious, dedicated to researching the microbiome and developing Symprove’s unique, patented, water-based delivery system that supports the gut microbiome by delivering live and active bacteria to where it’s needed most.
For more information about Symprove, visit the company’s website at www.symprove.com
29 June 2020
bd-capital appoints former Head of Advent in the Benelux to lead investment activities in the region
Press Release - AMSTERDAM and LONDON – 29 June 2020
bd-capital has today announced the appointment of Bram Grimmelt as Partner and Head of its Benelux investment activities.
Established in 2019 by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner, bd-capital is an operationally led private equity firm investing in pan-European mid-market businesses where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities.
Prior to joining bd-capital, Grimmelt was Head of Advent International in the Benelux.
During his 14 years at the firm he worked out of the Amsterdam, London and Luxembourg offices and was involved in seven investments, including Delft Instruments, Nucletron, Mediq, UNIT4 and Ammeraal Beltech. He was a non-executive on the Board of three portfolio companies.
Grimmelt previously worked at Waterland Private Equity, in their Netherlands office. He started his career at Merrill Lynch in London, working in the European Leveraged Finance team.
At Advent and Waterland, Grimmelt invested across several sectors including Healthcare, Consumer & Retail, Services, Software and Industrials.
Commenting on his new role, Bram said, “I think the bd-capital model of business leaders working closely together with investors will be a true differentiator in the Benelux mid-market. Few firms bring the international expertise and reach of bd-capital to this part of the mid-market and I am excited by the prospect of partnering with management teams and working alongside bd-capital’s team of business leaders to build great businesses together.”
Since launching in June 2019, the bd-capital team has now grown to 17 people, 6 of whom are former CEOs with experience of growing businesses in the European mid-market space.
Managing Partner at bd-capital, Andy Dawson commented, “Bram and I worked together for 14 years at Advent and I am very pleased to be working with him again at bd-capital. Bram has an impressive track record of investing in the Benelux and has built many strong partnerships in the region. In his role as a Founding Partner he will be a key contributor to our growth story over the coming years.”
27 January 2020
bd-capital appoints former Head of KKR in Spain to lead Southern European investment activities
Press Release – MADRID and LONDON – 27 January 2020
bd-capital has today announced the appointment of Alejo Vidal-Quadras de Caralt as Partner and Head of its Southern Europe investment activities.
bd-capital is a new operationally-led private equity firm established in 2019 by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner. The firm invests in pan-European mid-market businesses where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras was previously Head of KKR’s Spanish operations. He joined KKR in 2014 and was responsible for developing and supporting KKR's investment platforms in Spain across Private Equity, Credit (Direct Lending, Special Situations and Principal Finance), Infrastructure and Real Estate.
Prior to KKR, Vidal-Quadras was Head of 3i Spain where, over a nine year tenure, he was responsible for investments across Iberia and worked on a number of opportunities across Europe.
At KKR and 3i, Vidal-Quadras invested across several sectors including Healthcare, Consumer & Retail, Services and Industrials.
Alejo explained: “I chose to join bd-capital because I am excited by their new approach to the private equity market. I believe that the model of business leaders and private equity investors working together in full partnership is the best way to create outstanding returns. I feel that this, together with their international ambitions, will bring something special to the Southern European mid-market.”
Since launching in June 2019, the bd-capital team has now grown to 15 people, 6 of whom are former CEOs with experience of growing businesses in the European mid-market space.
Managing Partner Andy Dawson commented: “We are pleased to welcome Alejo to our team as a Founding Partner. His track record is exceptional and he will be a key contributor to our growth over the coming years. Alejo brings with him best-in-class experience and a deeply entrenched network in a core investment region for our fund.”
Press Release - 12 June 2019
Firm founded by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner
LONDON. 12 June 2019 - Richard Baker and Andy Dawson have today announced the formation of bd-capital, a new operationally led private equity firm.
bd-capital will specialise in making control or co-control investments in pan-European mid-market businesses with strong growth potential. The firm’s strategy is to invest in businesses where changing patterns in consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities. These opportunities will initially be found in carefully targeted subsectors of the consumer products, modern retail, leisure, services and health & wellbeing sectors.
The firm will be supported by former Advent International Managing Director, Ron Sheldon who will join as a Senior Advisor to the bd-capital Investment Advisory Committee.
“We believe that operationally-led growth-focused partnership investing is the best way to achieve consistently strong returns. bd-capital will focus on sub-sectors and opportunities where its operational experience and networks can really help businesses grow and thrive”, said Dawson who is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner.
bd-capital intends to bring a differentiated approach of investing to the European mid-market. At its core is a team structure where business leaders and private equity investors work together in full partnership across sourcing, diligence, execution and value creation activities.
In addition to its team of investment professionals, the firm will work alongside business leaders who will form the bd-capital Operators’ Club; an evolution of the proven and successful Private Equity Operating Partner model and a structure through which Dawson and Baker built a ten-year working relationship.
“I am excited to be forming a new type of private equity team. One where business leaders work alongside investment professionals in partnership to help build great companies”, said Baker who is Co-Founder and Managing Partner.
About the team:
Andy Dawson is a former Partner of Advent International. Dawson joined Advent in 2004, and during his time at the firm led, co-led or participated in seven investments including Poundland, Fat Face, Lululemon, DFS and Williams Lea Tag.
Prior to Advent International, Dawson worked for OC&C Strategy Consultants in London, where he spent time working with a number of corporate and private equity clients covering the Retail, Consumer Goods, Media, Leisure and Technology sectors.
Richard Baker is a former FTSE 100 CEO and Chairman. Until recently, Baker served as Chairman of Whitbread, the British Retail Consortium, DFS, Virgin Active and Nectar, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of the Lawn Tennis Association.
His previous executive roles include Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Boots and Chief Operating Officer at ASDA. Baker started his career at Mars where he spent nine years in various management and directorship roles.
bd-capital is being advised by Houlihan Lokey PFG and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.