On June 15, 2021, US-based language service provider (LSP) Propio Language Services announced that it had secured a growth equity investment from Triple Tree Capital Partners (TTCP). The transaction closed on June 1, 2021.
Having operated for more than two decades without any external investment, Propio decided to launch the search for an investment partner as part of a “transformational agenda” conceived in late 2019, Propio CEO and Partner Marco Assis told Slator.
Assis declined to share the investment total or any financial metrics relating to the transaction (such as TTCP’s share in the LSP), but said the process started seven months ago when Propio engaged financial advisers Mariner Capital Advisors.
According to Assis, “It took six to seven months, from beginning to end, and several conversations with institutional investors of high caliber.” Moreover, Propio “decided to only go forward with the right partner, and we found in TTCP values and passion that are very aligned.”
News of the investment comes around six weeks weeks after Propio’s acquisition of translation and interpreting provider Vocalink at the end of April 2021.
TTCP is a healthcare investor with a focus on growth-stage companies. It is part of TripleTree healthcare merchant bank, which was founded in 1997. TTCP currently has 16 portfolio companies including health plan analytics provider Next Health Technologies and Clinithink, which uses NLP to automate the review of health records.
Propio has its core in the US healthcare interpreting sector, deriving 70% of revenues from healthcare and about 80% from interpreting services including over-the-phone (OPI), video remote (VRI), and in-person interpreting.
Assis told Slator in May 2021 that the LSP observed “incredible growth with remote services and there are no signs of slowing down.”
Assis outlined TTCP’s rationale for investing in languages services, a new addition to their healthcare portfolio, thusly: “As the industry continues to focus more on total-person care and the social determinants of health, there is a growing demand, and need via regulatory requirements, for language services.”
The CEO added, “TTCP was intrigued by Propio’s current capabilities, the product vision, and the opportunity to serve more people in an increasingly diverse US population.”
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According to a press release, Propio will use the funds for the development of Propio ONE — the LSP’s proprietary app, which allows customers to order on-demand and scheduled interpretation services — and for hiring. Propio also announced the appointment of ex-Amazon Web Services exec Brian Singer as CTO alongside news of the investment.
Propio generated revenues just shy of USD 15m in 2020 and grew 2.8% from 2019. The LSP forecasts strong growth in 2021 and expects to more than double its headcount to over 100 FTEs by the end of 2021.
Asked what involvement TTCP will have in Propio going forward, Assis said there will be “no changes to the business and we will continue to operate in the same way.” TTCP will provide support to Assis as CEO “in executing the strategy and providing resources and expertise when needed.”
Advising Propio in the transaction was Mariner Capital Advisors (financial) and Spencer Fane LLP (legal), while Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP served as legal adviser to TTCP.