“What attracted me to SV first of all was the quality of the human beings.”
“Life is just too short to work with bad people. There’s a lot else that I found attractive – the fact that they’re exclusively focused on healthcare, which is the only industry I want to be in, the focus on distinct industry sectors, and the flexibility of the venture partner program, which lets us all do what we do best. But what really clinched it for me was seeing how the firm behaves in good times as well as bad. A good private equity firm behaves appropriately over the full life cycle of the investment, including in bad situations. Every firm says ‘we partner with management,’ but they don’t necessarily. It’s easy to say that when things are going well, but the true test is when it gets difficult, and SV meets that test.
“When SV called and invited me to join the Venture Partner Program, I liked what I saw. My only condition was that I never wanted to be a CEO again. That’s the flexibility of the Venture Partner program – you can become the CEO of a portfolio company, or you can be an adviser, sit at the entrepreneur’s elbow and translate the language of finance into the language of entrepreneurship. That’s what I set out to do. Of course, now I’ve been a CEO twice more – because SV helped me find companies that excited me. And they assisted me – they helped me change jerseys from venture partner to CEO of a portfolio company, with good blessings, good support and a good team. And I’ve gotten lots of help from the SV network – once or twice a week, literally, I’ll get a call from one of my venture partner colleagues, calling me for advice or offering it. It’s a remarkable resource.”
“When entrepreneurs ask me how to choose among private equity firms, I tell them to do the due diligence, look hard at the numbers, make sure the firm’s investment strategy, deal size and time horizon are right for you – but that at the end of the day, it comes down to the people side – make sure the chemistry is there, and that these are people you trust and want to work with, even – or especially – if things aren’t going well.”
– Bruce Cerullo, Healthcare Services and Digital Health Venture Partner
Bruce Cerullo and SV Health Investors
Bruce Cerullo is a serially successful healthcare services and staffing executive. Prior to his affiliation with SV, Bruce had turned around and grown Trav Corp, one of the US’s leading travel nurse staffing businesses. Part of Bruce’s success is his understanding that each employee must feel important and valued – especially in a professional services business. SV recognized Bruce’s leadership and culture-building skills, and formally engaged Bruce as a venture partner in 2004.
Vitalize Consulting Solutions
In 2007, Bruce identified healthcare information technology staffing as an area of interest. He and SV believed that hospitals would accelerate their spending on IT. SV knew Bruce’s skill set was the right one to make the most of the opportunity. In late 2007, SV recapitalized Vitalize Consulting Solutions, a $30 million revenue HCIT staffing business. Bruce became CEO of Vitalize, partnering with the company’s three founders, who stayed on in executive roles. SV joined the board, identified a co-investor, and helped Bruce recruit exceptional board members.
Over the next three years, Bruce built the culture and implemented the systems to scale Vitalize to over $120 million in revenue. This combination of organizational effectiveness and growth attracted the interest of acquirers, and the company was sold in 2011. Because Bruce, supported by SV, encouraged employee ownership, over 200 Vitalize employees enjoyed proceeds from the transaction.
Nordic Consulting Partners
After the sale of Vitalize, Bruce was looking for new opportunities. He identified Nordic Consulting Partners, another founder-owned HCIT consulting business focused on electronic health record system implementation, as an investment candidate for SV. SV and its co-investors acquired control of the company in 2012. Meanwhile, Bruce re-joined SV as a venture partner in 2014, joined the Nordic board of directors in 2015, and then became Nordic CEO in 2016. Late in 2016, Bruce led the recapitalization of Nordic. SV chose to re-invest a substantial portion of its proceeds into the recap – the second time the firm had elected to place substantial capital behind Bruce. Once again, Bruce is helping a young company to scale its operations while embracing and enhancing its culture. And, once again, Bruce and SV are working to create value for a substantial group of motivated employee shareholders.