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System C founders set up a new company to invest in resurgent market for healthcare IT

Dr Ian Denley and Markus Bolton, founders and former directors of System C Healthcare, have set up a new company to provide growth capital and hands-on expertise to IT businesses in the health and social care sector. Shearwater Healthcare Solutions will invest in and develop innovative and entrepreneurial companies that can transform the delivery of care services in the UK.

Shearwater is capitalising on the government's recent decision to axe the National Programme for IT in favour of creating a vibrant market for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the healthcare sector.

"Suppliers in this market have been starved of opportunity for the 10 years of the National Programme", said Denley. "Now Trusts and care providers are making significant strategic investments in solutions that will bring clinical benefits and deliver cost savings. SMEs are included for the first time in years and we're offering portfolio companies an injection of our time, energy, and cash so they can grab this moment and make the most of it."

Denley and Bolton have over 20 years' experience running successful companies, notably building System C Healthcare from start-up to a leading provider of patient management, clinical and social care systems. They will be using that experience to offer portfolio companies direct, hands-on assistance to 'turbo-charge' their growth. This is a new model which provides substantive operational input as well as the strategic guidance traditionally supplied by investors.

Bolton explained: "With System C we built a company from the ground up. We took it through several private and venture capital fundraising rounds, floated on AIM, carried out five successful acquisitions, before concluding an £87m trade sale in May 2011.

"During that time we also built the UK's most successful healthcare IT services business, developed a large scale patient management and electronic patient record system, and successfully installed it at several NHS hospitals and at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

"We now want to take that knowledge and experience and re-invest it in British healthcare IT."

Shearwater's services to portfolio companies will include the provision of direct support from a central team of experts in sales, marketing, product development, deployment and corporate and HR services. There will be a particular focus on the use of the latest technologies to transform how care is delivered. The companies are also expected to benefit from cross-fertilisation of ideas, customer bases and markets.

Shearwater is currently in discussions with a number of companies and will be making announcements in due course.

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