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Induction Healthcare Group PLC (LON:INHC) chief executive Hugo Stephenson’s is a medical doctor by training and a serial entrepreneur who has built a number of businesses from the ground up.

In fact, his success at a company called DrugDev provides some insights on the buy-and-build blueprint he has in place at the AIM-listed med-tech firm.

What he did at DrugDev was to consolidate a number of apps popular with doctors involved in drug development to create an enterprise platform adopted by the pharmaceutical industry, before going out to buy ‘point solutions’ used in the day-to-day work by medical researchers that could be plugged into that “backbone of users”.

In doing so it created a software as a service platform used by the industry, generating significant recurring revenues.

Making doctors’ lives easier

It is this ground-up approach Stephenson is now deploying at Induction.

Here in the UK, its free Induction messaging app for hospital doctors has seen widespread adoption. Around 140,000 health professionals use it, which is “roughly 60-70%” of that particular population, and in August the platform was awarded supplier status on the NHS’s digital procurement framework.

At the same time, the group has been buying up ‘point solutions’ to provide services that make doctors’ lives easier.

One of those is an app called MicroGuide, which is a clinical guidelines management platform used by 80% of NHS trusts and with almost 170,000 users.

A September trading update revealed MicroGuide had achieved earn-out targets for management well ahead of schedule, with 32% year-on-year growth in user numbers since its acquistion last November and 44% growth in guideline page views.

In May this year, Induction unveiled plans to buy a technology firm called Zesty, in a predominantly paper deal over £11mln at current prices.

It is acquiring a platform that provides an integration layer with a hospital’s electronic patient records, which allows patients to manage their hospital outpatient appointments, read their administrative and clinical correspondence, attend a video-based consultation and store a personal copy of their clinical record.

Where Induction is now

Stephenson said the company now has what he calls “the backbone” of the core Induction app. So, the plan going forward is to “continue to delight the end-users in UK hospitals”.

“Our focus is on delivering for healthcare professionals tools they want to use. Delivering what they want to use then guarantees that the tools that the enterprise wants them to use will work much, much better,” he explains.

In August the group reported results for the year to March 31, 2020, where it was stated that the Induction app is expected to generate sales in the new financial year, joining revenue-generating MicroGuide and Zesty. 

“We are shifting from that development phase into sales and acquisition,” Stephenson says.

The Induction CEO says he expects the business as it stands should get to a “position of cash neutrality” within two years; however, he remains ambitious: “We will continue to look at acquiring. In doing that we would be looking at raising more cash.”

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Inflection points

  • Induction plans to expand horizontally to provide the app to professionals working in aged and primary care parts of the health service, plus more functionality is being built into the app
  • Internationally, Induction will be rolled out in Australia, Canada, and mainland Europe, while a series of premium features have also been added
  • A “healthy” acquisition pipeline is targeting new and complementary products and geographies
  • The board expects Induction to generate revenues in the current financial year