Updated: Mar 14
We are thrilled to announce that One45 was acquired by Altus Assessments last week. The sale marks a new chapter in One45’s journey, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this promising company.
One45’s story echoes those of many other budding software companies, and the road to its latest acquisition is a testament to the team’s ingenuity and determination.
The company was founded in 2001 by Derek Hemmes, John Simms, and the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Ric Arseneau. The name One45 had its genesis at a meeting when the company’s founders and others, including Pender CEO David Barr, met for one beer for 45 minutes to brainstorm new company ideas.
Back then, Dr. Arseneau’s Internal Medicine program was generating so much paperwork evaluating his students and residents that existing processes were not able to keep up and crucial information was slipping through the cracks. One45 was the result of that inefficiency and frustration.
The founders envisioned a performance evaluation tool that could provide the operational tools and end-to-end data analytics required to assess students, improve and run great programs and train even better doctors. The concept was born out of a customer need for automated scheduling, evaluation and reporting for undergraduate and graduate healthcare education programs.
One45 soon grew into an end-to-end medical education management platform that provides various software tools to drive medical education operations. Within a few years, the company had built out its product and was selling it to medical schools across Canada.
In 2007, HR software firm Cytiva acquired One45, driving a 60 percent revenue growth and doubling Cytiva’s headcount. However, as can be true in many large organizations when buying a non-core product, One45 received little new investment, and revenue growth slowed as a result. In 2010, Cytiva was acquired by Taleo, which gave Pender Growth Fund the opportunity to fund the separate spin-out of One45 and its team and to provide continued support through its next phase of growth.
Once the spin-out closed, the team at Pender got to work. We helped build the One45 board, provided an outsourced CFO function, and helped with strategy and recruitment. CEO of One45 Brian Clare said Pender knew when to get in the trenches and when to take a backseat, which made all the difference to the company’s growth.
“Pender really trusted me to run the business,” Brian says. “They were an extremely trusting partner and were always there if we needed assistance. I'm super thankful to them that they were so easy to work with for so many years.”
One45 soon became profitable and launched a new product, One45 Analytics, which was developed with the company’s own cash flow. The product, designed to provide medical schools with better data about their programs, was officially launched in 2020. One45 Analytics performed well at launch, even as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the fates of post-secondary budgets into doubt.
The team began exploring partnerships and ways to offer its product alongside a larger organization with more resources.
“After interacting with Altus Assessments, I got the feeling that we shared the same values about how to run the company,” Brian says. “They essentially have the same philosophy about the market as we do, and they have a tremendous go-to-market machine. So it was a natural next step.”
Altus Assessment provides research backed admissions and other assessment tools and together, One45 and Altus can now provide medical schools with the operational tools and analytics they need to identify and nurture learners in the field.
One45’s road to being acquired illustrates how entrepreneurs can succeed when a great product is supported by a determined team. The company’s vision remained laser-focused on helping universities run great programs and train better doctors, and with Altus Assessments, One45 can now do that on a greater scale.
At Pender, we believe in being true partners and chief problem-solvers for businesses. When we invest in a company, we are not just writing a cheque. In reality, the work truly starts after the cheque is written.
We believe that to be an effective investor, we must get in the trenches. We must roll up our sleeves to support businesses from idea to execution to exit.
From the entire team at Pender, we offer a big congratulations to the One45 team. We look forward to seeing what the combined company can bring to medical programs across the globe.
Maria Pacella & David Barr