We invest in exceptional people to create exceptional companies. Since 2001, Alpine has believed that inspiring growth in people is the most sound way to build growth and revenue. We start within our own offices, and share our learnings with our portfolio companies. Here are some of our favorite stories about heroes being unleashed.
Dermatologist Scott Guenthner calls himself “a businessman who happens to be a doctor.” He loves seeing patients, and he loves growing his Indiana dermatology practice. What he doesn’t love is staying late on weekends doing back-office chores.
In 15 years, Guenthner had grown the Dermatology Center of Indiana into one of the state’s premier dermatologic practices, with three locations, a clinical trials center, a surgical center and 100,000 active patients. But to take “Dermindy” to the next stage—and to take some of the back-office work off of his plate—Guenthner needed a partner.
During the management presentation process, several prospective buyers proposed changing Dermindy’s name or management structure. Having identified Guenthner’s practice as a top performer, Alpine didn’t ask him to change a thing. Instead, founding partner Graham Weaver told Guenthner that Alpine sought to use Dermindy as a platform for a new dermatology services organization, Summit Dermatology Partners.
“This has probably been our most successful lever,” Weaver told Guenthner, “which is backing someone really good and using some of that industry knowledge to expand and buy more businesses—but continuing to preserve each of those businesses and what makes them successful. As we like to say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”
Having already brought the Alpine approach to a growing management services organization for dentists in Virginia, Summit is applying similar principles to the dermatology space in the Midwest. Dermatology practices that join Summit can keep their name and brand equity while receiving services—such as marketing, financial management, or strategic advice—tailored to their needs, Guenthner says. And by joining forces, practices can gain leverage in deals with business partners in areas including employee health coverage, medical supplies and payer reimbursement.
Since the deal closed in 2018, it’s been business as usual at Dermindy, as Guenthner has hired new people and adopted electronic medical records. Meanwhile, Guenthner has also advised Summit on two acquisitions. The practices have begun to share best practices with each other and with other companies in the Alpine portfolio.
Private equity firms have been rolling up dermatology practices at a rapid pace, provoking concern from some in the medical community. But Guenthner says Summit only wants to partner with top-tier, values-driven firms like his, and to provide maximum autonomy for clinicians. “You build great practices by having great people and taking care of them,” he says. “We turn away a lot of companies because we’re uncompromising in our search for great values and long-term success.”