After a competitive bidding process Timo Ahopelto, Jarkko Joki-Tokola and Jaakko Ollila, the original CRF Health founding trio, have acquired all of 3i shares in the company for € 6 million. After the acquisition together they constitute the single largest equity holder of the Company. Other owners includes Nordic Venture Partners and SMAC Partners. CRF Health is the maker of electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO) solutions for the global clinical trials industry
In 2009 3i informed its portfolio companies that it wants to sell all of its venture assets from its portfolio as part of moving away from venture capital where it stumbled as many VCs have with the technology market crash. Clearly, this means that the three founders got to buy the company back with an attractive valuation as 3i categorically wanted to get rid of their venture investments regardless of whether they were successful of not. CRF Health was in the former group – It’s globally number one in its industry regardless of whether you measure it by revenue (Expected close to € 25 million IN 2010) or by net profit (10-15% of revenue).
CRF Health belong to the Bio IT bucket: Companies building technology and software solutions that make life-sciences industry(pharma,biotech, wellness, healthcare) work more efficiently. More specifically the company provides solutions for clinical trials automation. The area itself is gathering interest from major players. As a sign of that, earlier in 2009 Oracle acquired Phase Forward – A complementary web-based solution to CRF Health, at $ 700 million, roughly 3.5x its revenue.
In addition to getting a good deal from 3i, Joki-Tokola explained to us that they wanted to buy the company back because they believed that they can add a lot of value to the company and they believe it has the right management team to take it to the next level.
We look forward to see the founders achieving what Skype founders couldn’t: To buy the company they founded back and take it public.
Two of the CRF Health’s founding members, Timo Ahopelto and Jarkko Joki-Tokola, are also founding partners at Lifeline Ventures, a Finnish Vigo Accelerator.