Private equity firm EQT takes minority stake in Australia’s Five Good Friends

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The Swedish global investment firm has acquired a minority stake in the Brisbane-based home care provider and its digital care management platform, Lookout, in a deal that values the group at $60 million, and cements its position as one of the most innovative care offerings across the village and aged care sectors.

While the price paid remains commercial in confidence, EQT has taken a minority stake at a $60 million equity valuation.

Founded in 2016 by ex-RetireAustralia CEO and current director at Aura Holdings Tim Russell, and his friends Simon Lockyer (pictured right) and Nathan Betteridge (pictured left) who started charity fundraising startup Everyday Hero, Five Good Friends has proved to be a quiet achiever, growing to over 20,000 home care visits a month.

In 2018, the group raised another $5 million to expand its model and flagged a move into overseas markets.

As we covered in the New Zealand issue of SATURDAY, Five Good Friends has formed a partnership with New Zealand’s fourth-largest retirement village operator, Arvida, to launch an outreach community from its Christchurch village, titled Arvida Good Friends at Park Lane, earlier this year.

Technology-enabled care the future of ageing

However, it is the development of Lookout that has attracted EQT’s attention.

“We’ve been impressed by the innovative platform that the Five Good Friends and Lookout teams have developed and by the range of services they have been able to provide, including to some of Australia’s largest retirement living operators,” said EQT Australia director Sam Franklin.

“We are firm believers in the opportunity for technology enabled care to significantly enhance the quality, transparency and oversight of care provided in today’s world.”

Simon says Five Good Friends sees a combination of personal care and technology as the way forward for the ageing sectors, with Lookout based on data from half a million home care visits.

“In no way does technology replace human care, but it can dramatically enrich the level of care a person receives,” he said.

“The algorithm at the centre of Lookout’s remote monitoring system can now detect risks, ranging from cognition to falls. The platform is a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution allowing a provider to offer a modern, transparent, technology-enabled service.”

EQT has been steadily increasing its healthcare investments in Australia since establishing an office in Sydney in February 2020, last week acquiring the majority of Icon Group, the country’s largest integrated cancer care provider, for $2.3 billion.

EQT also acquired New Zealand’s third largest village operator Metlifecare last year after a protracted bid process saw an initial offer ended up in the courts after EQT withdrew their first bid, citing the impact of COVID-19 on the operator’s value.