The Care Division

Care providers and learning disability care services in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorchester, Dorset and Southampton, Hampshire.

Investment date
JUNE 2011
Exit date
FEB 2016

Investment Overview

Jane and Stephen Piper started The Care Division (‘TCD’) in 2000 to provide quality agency staff to major care providers. The business soon moved to become a care provider in its own right, operating in Hampshire and Dorset with offices currently in Southampton, Poole and Dorset.

The company is a specialist provider of domiciliary care and support to adults and children with learning disabilities, often on a 24/7 basis. The level of care provided allows these clients to live in their own accommodation and lead a more independent, happy and rewarding life as part of their local community.

The company has an outstanding reputation in its locality for its high calibre ‘wholehearted person-centred’, learning disabilities care, as well as a unique software-based care support system.

The Growth Challenge

The specialist nature of the care provided by TCD means that it is funded by Local Authorities; it is won under framework agreements and through competitive tender processes.

TCD continues to succeed in its market through the provision of high quality care and real innovation. The business actively finds suitable properties for potential clients, especially in cases where the in-house resources of the Local Authority are stretched.

TCD has also developed a unique software service called ‘My Diary’ which provides real-time information on the client, their contentment, care plan, medication, activities etc. This enables the company, the social services and the parents, where appropriate, to access live information at any time.

This unique system gives a much better and far more up-to-date view of the care provided and the happiness of the client. It also helps TCD win a significant proportion of the tender processes it enters.

Value added by Altitude

Altitude invested development capital of £1.14m. At the point of investment, around half of the care hours were booked by putting TCD staff into other care operators’ packages. Retaining some additional staff capacity allowed the business to provide a seamless service but the balance produced a potential exposure as TCD had no influence over the packages it supported.

Together we defined the following goals:

  • Reduce that part of the business supporting other provider care packages. This reduced to 8% of hours booked, substantially improving the quality and security of earnings.
  • Use the funding to buy-out a sleeping shareholder who had been drawing significant cash from the business for his own projects.
  • Use part of the funding as development capital to start writing the software which became ‘My Diary’ and was a unique competitive advantage in winning new business.
  • Appoint a part-time Finance Director to improve the financial systems with clear KPIs which helped refine the business.

These goals were achieved; the company’s hours and revenue subsequently increasing with a flow through into value in a segment with a series of larger potential acquirers.

“The investment allowed us to make serious inroads into providing accountable, transparent care.”

Stephen Piper, Founder & MD

What Next?

With a very strong quality of earnings and rapid growth in a sector with little volatility, TCD became a valuable asset. ‘My Diary’ was a unique selling point for TCD in its market, leading to a 100% one-on-one tender win rate.

The Exit

In Feb 2016 Altitude exited from TCD in a transaction with Alina Healthcare, another provider who were supported by Bridges Ventures.

This transaction generated a 2.9x gross return with Jane and Stephen Piper exiting the business alongside Altitude.


“I genuinely cannot fault Altitude. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the deal again and don’t think we could have found a more suitable partner.” Read more...

Stephen Piper Founder & MD

In Numbers

Gradwell Communications

Peter Gradwell started this multiple award winning business in 1998 whilst at University and has been a pioneer of Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") telephony in the UK.

The Bath-based business provides a wide range of cloud-based services to SMEs.