The new partnership will see bd-capital and Ascenti working together to accelerate the positive trajectory that the company has been on since establishing a new management team in 2018. This journey has included notable success, such as the development of their unrivalled training and career offering to clinicians, market leading innovation in digital healthcare and service expansion.
There will be continuity of leadership and strategic direction, with the original founders of Ascenti still invested in the company and the Executive Team remaining in place. In addition to Stephanie Dobrikova leading the business as CEO, David Johnston, Operating Partner at bd-capital, will become Chairman.
The bd-capital team are established business leaders with a wealth of expertise in consumer behaviour and a particular interest in technology disruption. As a European firm focused on the next evolution of operationally led investing, they saw a unique opportunity in Ascenti and are excited about the future of the business.
Musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck and back pain, affect 1.71 billion people globally at any one time (source: World Health Organisation). After common coughs and colds, these conditions are the largest driver of workplace absence, causing over 20 million lost working days in the UK in 2020 (source: Office for National Statistics). It is estimated that back pain alone impacts 16.9% of the population in England, with 60-80% of adults likely to experience this condition alone (source: Public Health England).
The unique set of circumstances relating to the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the number of people searching for support with their physical and mental health online, at the same time as accelerating the acceptance and adoption of remote and digital healthcare. For example, Google Trends data shows that in the eight weeks following 23 March 2020, there was a 102% jump in searches for advice on knee pain. Nearly half of the population (49.6%) reported high levels of anxiety (Source: Office for National Statistics), with the Royal College of Psychiatrists predicting a dramatic increase in demand for mental health services.
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."
Stephanie Dobrikova, CEO of Ascenti, added: "We are excited to be partnering with the bd-capital team to take Ascenti to the next level, supporting us as we grow our workforce and continue to invest in our organisation and people, whilst evolving our technology and 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. They clearly acknowledge that our greatest asset is our amazing people and our nationwide community of clinicians and healthcare professionals. I know I speak for my entire team when I say that we are excited to be working with bd-capital."
Ascenti was advised by Arrowpoint Advisory (corporate finance), Lyons Davidson (legal), KPMG (financial), Shoosmiths (management advisory), and WA Communications (political).