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WebPT acquires competitor Clinicient, cementing Valley startup’s role as market leader

Phoenix Business Journal

WebPT, one of Phoenix’s largest homegrown software companies, announced on Tuesday that it had acquired Portland, Oregon-based Clinicient, a major competitor in the physical therapy software space. 

The acquisition, WebPT’s fourth, cements its role as a dominant provider in the U.S. physical therapy software market, with the combined company expected to service 27,000 clinics and 43 million patients, or more than half of the market. 

WebPT makes software that helps therapists’ offices run smoothly, with everything from record keeping, billing and scheduling capabilities to patient retention and marketing efforts. The company sees the acquisition of Cliencient, and its subsidiary Keet, as a way to add scale to the business and boost its ability to create new products. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and the deal closed on January 18, following regulatory review.

The acquisition is part of a new chapter for WebPT, a company that has grown from one of the Valley’s plucky startups to a national powerhouse. 

The company has a new CEO, Ashley Glover, who joined the company in November. Glover has built her career working in software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology companies, most recently working at RealPage, a real estate data company in Dallas.

Glover left RealPage in the summer of 2021 and planned to take some time off, but an accident helped change her mind about what she wanted to do next with her career.

“I was in physical therapy at the time, because several months before, I’d fallen off a horse and had actually broken six bones,” Glover said on Tuesday. “I’ve never had to be in that intense kind of physical therapy before. I built a really great bond with my PT and really understood the value of it.”

That personal experience in therapy (coupled with a well-timed call from a recruiter) led Glover to the top job at WebPT.

Bought by Warburg Pincus

WebPT has previously taken on three rounds of outside funding, first in 2010again in 2014 and most recently in 2019 when private equity giant Warburg Pincus bought the company outright. 

“With each of those transactions, we’ve actually recognized as founders that we needed leadership to help us take this into that next level,” Heidi Jannenga, WebPT’s co-founder, said. “Ashley is our third CEO at WebPT, so I’m thrilled and excited about this next chapter.”

After the acquisition of Clinicient, the combined company will employ 850 people. Jannenga said the acquisition is a win for the whole industry and that Clinicient’s products were strong on their own but combined the two companies will be able to serve its customers even better.

WebPT was founded 16 years ago after Jannenga, who now serves as the company’s chief clinical officer, realized a need for better software in her own physical therapy practice.

“Heidi Jannenga and technology probably weren’t uttered in the same sentence when I first started back in 2006,” she said. 

Therapists rethink jobs

The pandemic has forced physical therapists, like so many other professionals, to reconsider how they do their jobs. Before Covid, virtual PT sessions were not common practice, but Jannenga said therapists have reimagined their role and deployed hybrid services more during the pandemic, facilitated by WebPT’s software.

While some PT needs to be done in-person, the hybrid approach allows therapists to see into patients’ homes, how they live and what physical challenges they might face, like stairs or carpets. Virtual visits also allows therapists to check a patient’s form as they walk or do rehabilitation exercises.

Jannenga said that when WebPT started, she did not realize how big the problems were for therapists running their own clinics. But now, thanks to WebPT’s software, Jannenga has been able to help far more patients than she ever would have in her own clinic.

“As a physical therapist, this is a legacy for me, in my own industry,” she said. “I mean, who gets to do that? Not very many people get to really make such a transformative contribution for the evolution of your own industry and profession, so this is just… it’s awesome.”

 


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