National Optical Care (NOC), founded by 2018 Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner Tomas Steenackers, has expanded its Queensland portfolio with three optometry practice acquisitions as it aims to significantly grow its national footprint by the end of the year.
The optometry rollup saw three practices join during September, bringing the total number of practices in its portfolio to 33 located across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.
In September, the group welcomed Dickens & Herd Optometrists in Brisbane, Options Eyecare in Noosaville and Richard Watt Optometrist in Hervey Bay. The practices are expected to collectively contribute $5.6 million in annual revenue.
Founded by Steenackers, who also started vet rollup National Veterinary Care (NVC) which was sold for $250 million in 2020, NOC has been actively seeking to grow its portfolio since it entered the industry late last year.
Speaking to Business News Australia, Steenackers said he was aiming to grow the NOC practice portfolio to 45 optometrists by the end of December - a process that is accelerating now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing nationally.
“Now that everything’s opening up we’re just going to turbocharge the effort,” Steenackers said.
“So we’re hoping by the end of December we’ll have settled everything and will be a group of 45 practices across Australia, which is a good achievement within a year and a month of operating a business.”
In total, NOC estimates that once the acquisitions are all completed by the end of the year, combined with the most recent purchases in QLD, the company will be adding an additional $23 million of annualised revenue.
Steenackers said NOC’s model was similar to the NVC play - growth by acquisition.
Before the NVC take over, the veterinary rollup had established itself not just in Australia, but New Zealand too. This is something the serial entrepreneur wants to achieve with NOC, but noted a solid base was first required before rapid expansion was on the cards.
“We want to set up the base properly, so probably get to about 50 or 60 practices, and then we’ll be okay to move sideways to New Zealand and start developing a value proposition there,” he said.
“We don’t want to move to New Zealand too quickly because our value proposition is about support to the practice, so we need to make sure our systems are perfect.”
The support NOC gives to optometrists is everything, according to the company’s founder, who says the rollup model gives practice owners time to focus on patient care, rather than administrative tasks like payroll and paperwork.
“It’s all about systems and people. If you look after the people well and support them well they will do a brilliant job,” Steenackers said.
“We try to honour their branding and what they’ve done for the last years, but also give the owners and the team a lot of operational support so they can go back to focusing on the patients rather than doing admin work, payroll, accounts payable, dealing with suppliers - most of the people don’t really enjoy that.
“They enjoy patient interaction and fixing the problems and improving patient care.”
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