One year after doubling in size through a major merger, Natural Partners Fullscript is primed to expand again after landing US$25 million in a series-B round announced on Tuesday.
California-based equity group Kayne Partners is leading the investment in the local health-tech firm, born out of a merger between Ottawa-based Fullscript and Arizona’s Natural Partners last June.
Founded in 2011, Fullscript rose to prominence with its online dispensary for health-care professionals to prescribe natural health supplements – the burgeoning firm twice topped OBJ’s fastest-growing companies list in 2016 and 2017. The firm was largely bootstrapped before its merger, save for $2 million-$3 million in funding from local angel investors.
Kyle Braatz, co-founder of Fullscript and now president of the merged company, tells OBJ that Kayne Partners initially reached out to his firm back in 2015 and the two companies maintained a relationship over the years. Since Fullscript's management team had kept the prospective investor in the loop as it set – and surpassed – its growth goals in the meantime, Kayne was a natural fit when it came time to raise a major financing round.
“We were able to build that relationship and build trust with them over a long period of time, both where we trusted them, and they obviously trusted us to execute,” Braatz says.
He adds that with the investment coming less than a year after a merger that doubled the company’s size overnight, Kayne needed to be extra confident that the company’s leadership was on the right track following a major change in the formula.
Today Natural Partners Fullscript stands at a total of 262 employees, 135 of whom are based in Ottawa. Braatz says he expects the company will again double its total headcount in the next year.
The company’s growth plan revolves largely around integrating with electronic health records providers that physicians turn to for information when determining a patient’s prescription. While pharmaceutical medicines have long been the standard in health care, Braatz says “integrative medicine and wellness” plans that incorporate diet, lifestyle and nutraceutical solutions such as vitamin supplements are on the rise as a way to keep people out of hospitals.
Partnering with these health records companies allows Natural Partners Fullscript to build up a database of research on nutritional supplements and thereby make its nutraceutical solutions more attractive to doctors and other health-care providers.
“We're investing heavily in that side of our business,” Braatz says.