Many founder-based companies reach the point where they have to figure out how to continue growing as well as investing in and retaining the right resources, while at the same time, worrying about their founder’s impending retirement.
GoldCare, the leader in Canadian Home, Community and Long-Term Care software, was faced with such a dilemma. On top of that, there was no logical succession and exit plan for the majority shareholder and founder, who like many in this role, wished to leave the business in good hands.
GoldCare, a division of Campana Systems Inc., decided that getting acquired was its best option.
That’s why, in 2014, the software company joined Perseus, an operating group of Constellation Software, which was willing to invest in its growth without tearing down what made it great in the first place.
“We chose Perseus because of its commitment to the software market and willingness to invest in our success. It also provides us with mentorship and additional guidance to ensure we can always tackle our challenges.” Paula Hucko, the General Manager of GoldCare
Ensuring Better Healthcare Across Canada, Australia and New Zealand
GoldCare is a leading healthcare technology software provider for Home, Community Children’s Services and Residential/Long Term Care sectors.
The GoldCare product started out as a co-op project that Brad Bell, one of the company’s co-founders, completed at the University of Waterloo to help a small nursing home.
In 1988, Bell along with Grant Roberts and Jim Hardy founded Campana Systems Inc., with GoldCare becoming one of its two core divisions – alongside Axis, an information solutions provider for the auto club industry.
After deploying its software solutions at long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, and then British Columbia,
it expanded its focus to include community and home care. In 2002, GoldCare entered the Aged Care markets in New Zealand and Australia, and in July of 2005, it opened a branch office in Australia.
Today, GoldCare focuses primarily on Home and Community Care, Children’s Services and Residential/Long-Term Care. In Australia and New Zealand, the combined sectors dealing with aging population are referred to as Aged Care.
Losing Customers and Leadership
By the late 2000s, Campana along with GoldCare and Axis started to experience a financial downturn because it was not investing enough in its quickly aging technology, which prompted many of its customers to turn to other vendors. What made matters worse was the fact that one of the company’s key shareholders was set to retire, leaving GoldCare without proper leadership.
As a result, Campana decided to sell GoldCare and Axis to a larger organization that would invest in the development of both companies and provide them with proper leadership.
Discovering a Willing Investor
“We wanted to preserve business continuity for both the staff and the customers,” said Paula Hucko, the current General Manager of GoldCare. “The challenge was trying to find a company that would acquire GoldCare and Axis together, without altering them in a significant way.”
In 2014, Perseus took both GoldCare and Axis under its wing, promoting GoldCare Chief Operating Officer Paula Hucko to the position of General Manager and giving the company the leader it needed.
Ensuring a smooth transition
It turned out to be a smooth transition for GoldCare since Perseus treated each staff member with proper respect and ensured everyone was off to a good start. As a result, the general attitude within GoldCare was very positive.
One of the key reasons for the success of this transition was the fact that Perseus had already built a strong relationship with GoldCare over the course of nine years. This gave the organization a clear understanding of what GoldCare needed in order to succeed after the acquisition.
“We had a good team of mentors introducing our staff to the way things are done at Perseus and Constellation,” said Hucko. “It was a very transparent process, and we learned a lot when we went through it.”
By joining with Perseus, GoldCare gained the financial support it needed to climb out of its perilous situation without losing its ability to function autonomously since Hucko was firmly in charge of all the operations within it.
“We were able to keep all our locations, our key employees and processes,” said Hucko. “The only requirement Perseus had for us was to perform at a certain level. We wanted the same thing.”
Gaining new knowledge
GoldCare was also able to expand its expertise by receiving mentorship and additional guidance from Perseus as well as exchanging best practices with other software businesses within the operating group and Constellation as a whole.
“It’s great to belong to a larger group of software companies,” said Hucko. “Sharing all this knowledge is a fantastic way to improve each of our respective businesses.”
Becoming more transparent
In addition, GoldCare adopted Perseus’ philosophy of establishing trust and transparency by holding monthly meetings with the team to celebrate good news and share information on business performance.
“People relate to honesty,” said Hucko. “That’s why we share everything. It’s a very transparent environment. Because of that, our staff and management are both more engaged in the business.”
What’s in Store for the Future?
With great support from Perseus, GoldCare is looking forward to expanding its core offering through new releases and winning back its old customers.
“We already won back two of our old customers,” said Hucko. “We’re currently engaged in major projects with both of them. And we’re only getting started.”