Aiming to scale into a global enterprise as it enters its second decade, Ottawa-based online health-care platform Fullscript is shaking up its C-suite in a bid to set the stage for a new phase of growth.
The company that twice topped OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies in 2016 and 2017 has continued to thrive throughout the pandemic, beating its financial projections by more than 20 per cent in its most recent fiscal year.
Fullscript's technology allows health-care practitioners to dispense products such as vitamin supplements as well as track inventory and automatically refill patients’ orders. Co-founder Kyle Braatz said the COVID-19 crisis has triggered a surge in demand for natural wellness products and virtual health-care services, which plays directly to Fullscript’s target market.
“I think people just started taking their health more seriously,” he told OBJ on Wednesday. “We saw a big boom on the patient side.”
Now nearing $300 million in annual revenues, Fullscript is reshuffling its executive ranks as it prepares to enter new markets.
The most consequential change will see Braatz, who served as Fullscript’s CEO from its founding in 2011 until it merged with Arizona-based Natural Partners in 2018, shift back into the chief executive’s role after three years as chief revenue officer of the combined firm.
Former Fullscript boss Fran Towey will take on a new position as executive chair, where he will continue to work closely with Braatz to chart the company’s future course, overseeing strategic planning while leading corporate development and financing activities.
Braatz said Towey’s operational acumen was essential to ensuring the union of the two companies went smoothly. With that goal now achieved, he said the company is looking to “supercharge” its technology to meet growing demand for its platform and wants him to lead that effort.
“I lean on Fran a lot,” said Braatz. “He brings a lot of value with industry relationships and has become a really strong guide and mentor.”
In addition to the change at the top, the company has added serious bench strength to its C-suite with a spate of high-profile hires.
Perhaps the most recognizable name among them is Ken Taylor, the former CFO of the Ottawa Senators who now takes on the same role at Fullscript.
Taylor brings a wealth of experience to the post. In a career spanning three decades, he’s held senior finance roles with some of the region’s best-known companies.
Taylor spent more than a decade as VP of finance at Newbridge Networks and later Alcatel before serving as CFO of March Networks from 2004-12. Since then, he’s had stops at several organizations, including a 20-month stint as CFO of the Senators in 2015 and 2016.
For the past two years, Taylor has been chief financial officer at Kanata-based You.i TV, which was sold to WarnerMedia late last year. His last day at You.i is July 2, and he begins his new job at Fullscript the following Monday.
"The stars sort of aligned. This is an opportunity I can’t pass up."
“I can’t wait to get going,” said Taylor, who will be tasked with ensuring his new employer has the financial warchest to fund its ambitious growth agenda.
“When I met (Braatz) three and a half, four years ago, I said, ‘Geez, I’d really like to work with this guy at some point.’ The stars sort of aligned. This is an opportunity I can’t pass up.”
Meanwhile, Christy White, who has served Fullscript in various operations roles since 2018, has been promoted to chief of staff.
“She really complements all of my weaknesses,” said Braatz, lauding White for her “focus and attention to detail.”
'Analytical mindset' needed
In addition, Elizabeth Halkos has come on board as chief commercial officer. The Atlanta resident, who brings more than two decades of experience in key operations, HR and strategic planning roles, will oversee Fullscript’s business development, marketing, sales and merchandising teams.
“When we think of building a technology company, it’s one thing to have the customer obsession … but it’s really the analytical mindset that we believe is going to drive value in our company, and she brings a lot of that,” Braatz said.
In a major HR move, Heather Tyrie, who joined Fullscript last May after spending five years as You.i TV’s VP of employee experience, has officially been named chief talent officer.
Braatz praised Tyrie for spearheading the firm’s shift to a remote workforce during the pandemic, saying the McGill University graduate has the chops to ensure that Fullscript’s growing workforce – which just hit the 500-person mark and is expected to swell to 600 before the end of 2021 – is “well-equipped to kick ass.”
Braatz, who launched Fullscript out of his home 10 years ago with co-founders Brad Dyment and Chris Wise, said the moves were necessary for the firm to keep driving forward.
“When you look back three years ago, we were a $40-million company,” he said. “We’ve accelerated our growth, and this year we're going to do close to $300 million in revenue. Ultimately, we got to a place where … it was time to bring in some really strong talent that could continue to drive that exponential growth. When you have this big mission, you really don’t want to rest on your laurels and just kind of coast.”