On-demand interpreting specialist GLOBO has secured a growth investment from VSS Capital Partners, the company’s first institutional funding since it was founded in 2009. GLOBO announced the news on January 11, 2022 after the transaction closed on December 30, 2021.
Gene Schriver, Founder and CEO of GLOBO, told Slator that VSS made a minority investment and confirmed that he remains the majority shareholder of GLOBO. “Part of the transaction includes a significant reserve for additional investment and acquisitions,” he added. The financial details of the deal (e.g., valuation and amount invested) are undisclosed.
GLOBO has grown to become a sizable player in the US interpreting space and generated USD 20m in 2020 from services such as phone (OPI), video remote (VRI), onsite, and sign language interpreting. Schriver said GLOBO’s 2021 revenues climbed roughly 50% to around USD 30m in 2021.
GLOBO’s primary focus is supporting the limited English-proficient (LEP) population in the US to access healthcare, health insurance, financial services, technology, education, and public services. According to Schriver, “Approximately 80% of GLOBO’s revenue comes from the healthcare and health insurance sectors.”
The CEO identified growth in the LEP population as being among the main drivers of demand for GLOBO’s services, as well as “legislation and accreditation requirements, CMS audits, and a shift to a value-based care system where reimbursement is based on outcomes.”
Access to Healthcare, Better Outcomes
LEP patients have historically had worse healthcare outcomes and experiences than the rest of the population. Schriver said GLOBO’s mission is to “help providers close the gap in care while increasing profitability.” GLOBO’s proprietary technology platform, GLOBO HQ, is central to this.
Schriver noted that the use of single-login technology on the GLOBO HQ platform helps large healthcare systems manage language services in a unified way. The platform was built from scratch on cloud infrastructure as a service, allowing them to “leapfrog our older, larger competitors technologically,” he said.
Working in healthcare settings comes with its own complexities. Schriver explained, “Larger health systems tend to move slowly, so it is critical that our healthcare partners have fully bought into the concept of transforming the patient experience for limited English speakers. This can be a challenge, because many systems are already stretched for resources, and often the person accountable for language services also has many other responsibilities.”
Having achieved strong growth without any institutional funding before now, GLOBO joins a number of its healthcare interpreting rivals (such as Propio, which secured an investment in June 2021) in taking on financial investors. Schriver said, “The market demand is growing exponentially, and we felt that now is the right time to bring on a partner to help meet that demand [and] really push the envelope on scale.”
Macro Tailwinds and Staying Power
With the VSS investment, the company plans to grow in existing sectors and expand into new end-markets. For example, “We also see great application of our tech in life sciences,” Schriver said. The funds will mainly be used to scale sales, operations, and product development.
Near-term roadmap priorities include integrations into telehealth, meeting, and scheduling software. GLOBO also plans to launch a Linguist Management System for organizations to manage interpreters, which will be made available to customers first and to LSPs later.
GLOBO’s core sectors are closely aligned with VSS’ investment focus on healthcare, business services, and education. The New York-based firm manages USD 4bn across eight funds and typically makes investments of USD 20–30m.
David Bainbridge, Managing Director at VSS, said the experience of GLOBO’s management in language services and healthcare and the capabilities of their technology platform were two of the reasons behind their interest in GLOBO.
Moreover, Bainbridge said, “macro tailwinds such as the growing LEP population and a highly fragmented LSP market lent themselves well to our experience in creating platforms of choice in such situations.”
He added that, over the long term, “while it is difficult to fully disaggregate the impact Covid has had on on-demand video interpreting, we believe there is staying power in the increased demand for such services across many sectors, including healthcare.”
Bainbridge continued, “We believe there will be a sustained shift from in-person to on-demand telephone and video interpreting, depending on the use-case in question — some of it correlated with the adoption of telehealth in various treatment modalities. Further, we believe both customers and linguists alike will increasingly gravitate toward a single integrated technology platform that helps them manage their work seamlessly.”
VSS will have a seat on GLOBO’s board and Schriver said they will support the company in terms of business development, identifying and financing strategic acquisitions, executive placement, and general advisory support. GLOBO’s management team will continue to run the business.
GLOBO was advised in the transaction by Delancey Street Partners and Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld, while Proskauer Rose provided counsel to VSS.