Portland healthcare startup GrowthPlug acquired amid slowdown in exit exercise

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CEO Sudhir Bhatti, left, and COO Shavita Bhatti, co-founders of GrowthPlug. (GrowthPlug Photo)

PracticeTek, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based investment firm that targets healthcare software companies, has acquired Beaverton, Ore.-based healthcare software startup GrowthPlug.

The startup will continue to be led by husband-and-wife co-founders Sudhir Bhatti, who is the CEO, and Shavita Bhatti, the company’s chief operating officer. Its 50-person team based in the U.S. and India will also continue to work for the company following the close of the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2016, GrowthPlug aims to help healthcare practices acquire, retain and serve patients by automating various office management systems. It works with dentists, veterinarians and spa practitioners, among others. The company moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to the Portland region in a bid to grow its team with the tech talent in the area.

The deal comes at a time when there has been a slowdown in startup exit activity in the broader market. GrowthPlug will be just the 20th startup based in the Pacific NorthWest to be acquired so far in 2022, compared to about 60 for all of 2021, according to GeekWire’s M&A and IPO list. In 2019, the startup raised $1 million from Elevate Capital, which will cash out on its position following the transaction.

A bevy of startups are zeroing in on healthcare-focused software. In January, BirchAI, a spinout from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, raised $3.1 million in seed funding for its software that streamlines customer support for healthcare companies. In September, telehealth startup 98point6 inked a deal with Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health System to license its virtual care delivery platform.

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“Independent healthcare practices are increasingly focused on growing their patient base, as well as having a unified online presence,” PracticeTek CEO Eric Leaver said in a statement. “GrowthPlug is a market leader in this category and is well-positioned to capitalize on the wave of digitization in practice software.”

The acquisition will add to the PracticeTek’s portfolio of healthcare software companies. The company says these investments provides founders with individual wealth, allowing them to run and grow their business, as well as work with other entrepreneurs in their industry. It is backed by investors Lightyear Capital and Greater Sum Ventures.

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