5 MIN READ
52 history-seeped steps.
That’s the journey into the timber-framed attic of the previous St. Thomas’ Hospital, home to the Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret and recent venue for Cooper Parry’s 4th Annual Health & Social Care event.
Climbing each creaky step, you can all but hear the muffled screams as pioneering surgeons operated on their patients in a pre-anaesthetic, pre-antiseptic, era. It was here too that the herbs were dried and stored to provide basic medicines.
How times change.
Fast-forward two hundred years or so and the focus for this year’s event is very much future facing and lasered on healthcare technology. Introducing the first in-person event for three years (we all know why), Cooper Parry’s Head of Corporate Finance, Andy Parker, welcomed guests with a simple theme: despite the pandemic, deals in the healthcare market have proved remarkably resilient.
In rude health, in fact. As if to underline the point, Andy’s team has recently advised Nourish Care Systems on their successful MBO backed by Livingbridge. So it felt wonderfully appropriate that Nuno Almeida, CEO of Nourish, was the annual event’s first speaker.
Speaking at the front of Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre, Nuno dissected his entrepreneurial journey – from market identification, idea development and building a team to positioning the company in the social care landscape.
Nuno adopted a highly personal approach to the key points along this journey and some of the game-changing lessons he learned along the way. Having already sold a business in 2009, Nuno was adamant that he wouldn’t make the mistake of doing something that wasn’t important to him. If he didn’t believe in the business with a passion, he wouldn’t take it any further.
Here are some of Nuno’s key take outs.
1. BE YOURSELF
Accept that as an entrepreneur you don’t have a work/life balance. Your team will; you won’t. Your life is your work. Nuno knew that he had to be true to himself. He wanted to spend his life in social care and ‘just happened to have a pretty good business idea.’
2. WHEN THE GOING GETS EASY
It will take as long as it takes. It will not be a sprint. In social care, everything is a 10 year plan. Nuno reflected on the occasion in 2017 when the offices were broken into and the building went up in flames. Crisis management was redefined. Nuno added: “At times like this, you need energy. You need to see the silver lining. These challenges become springboards . . when the going gets easy, no one cares. But it is when the going gets tough that people decide if they can really trust you.”
3. LOOK AFTER YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
It sounds obvious, but it’s an easy thing to overlook. With a mischievous grin, Nuno states: “The book I have most recommended over the last 10 years is Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things. He says, “a bunch of flowers and a regular day out is a lot cheaper than a divorce.” So true. Devote time to the important people around you.
4. OUR ENEMIES ARE NOT OUR COMPETITORS
Nuno is passionate about collaboration – even with competitors. He states: “Our competitors are not our enemies. Our real enemies are things like bad care practices and poor quality of care. Actually, there are so many ways in which working with our competitors helps us all fight these enemies. If people understand what you are trying to achieve, they are more than likely to help you.”
5. CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNERS AND ADVISERS IS KEY
When choosing the right partner to work with, Nuno was contacted by 27 different PE funds. He spoke to each and every one. Many were ordinary. Some were outstanding. But Livingbridge was to be a phenomenal partner for Nourish. With the scale required, the original angel investors were no longer able to help. Livingbridge understood how to deliver the next part of the journey. Nuno was equally positive about Cooper Parry’s role (always good to know). To quote: “I have to say, Cooper Parry was absolutely essential for the deal to happen. I can’t tell you how much stress you are under going through a deal as a founder. Cooper Parry reduced that by 90%. That’s not an exaggeration. Even the 10% I was left with was nigh on unbearable. The CP team became Nourish for a while. Don’t even think about venturing down this road without the right advisers.”
Then, with disarming charm and a clear passion for everything he does, Nuno wrapped up and left the stage to warm applause. Another operation. Another successful outcome.
DO YOU KNOW NUNO?
Nuno Almeida is the CEO at Nourish Care, a market leader in digital social care information and data insights. His background is in Data Science, a track record of building fast growth and sustainable businesses and an interest in ventures that deliver positive societal impact at a large scale. Nuno is also a serving board member with the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA), and chaired the Social Care Vision subgroup of the APPG for Adult Social Care. Nourish is a leading provider of digital care planning software to the UK social care sector.
Founded in 2011, Nourish is a cloud-hosted Digital Care Planning Platform supporting care providers and carers in the evidencing, and accessing of care records, and enabling better care provision using data insight and reporting. Over the past few years Nourish has grown rapidly and now serves over 300 care providers across over 1,800 settings in the UK from its headquarters in Bournemouth.
THAT’S A WRAP. FOR NOW
A huge thank you goes out to Nuno for sharing his fantastic insights. Our second speaker was Clare Connell, CEO, Connell Consulting. You can find out what Clare had to say about the trends, drivers and investment opportunities across health and social care here