Business Irish

Thursday 5 December 2019

Founder and his staff reap reward as tech firm sold for €46m

Employees who have been with 3D4Medical more than a year to share in a one-off windfall bonus after €46m sale

John Moore
John Moore
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Staff at 3D4Medical are set for a one-off bonus after the Irish technology business was sold to publishing giant Elsevier in a $50.6m (€46m) deal.

3D4Medical's founder and CEO John Moore is set for a payday of around €26m for his 56pc share of the business he set up in 2004.

Other shareholders include 3D4Medical president Niall Johnson, who had an approximately 6pc stake, and State-backed investor Malin which will receive around €17m for a 38pc stake it bought in 2015 for $16.4m (€14.9m).

Millions of doctors and medical students use the digital tools the Irish business creates - allowing them to study the human body in three dimensions in what has become an alternative to traditional textbooks.

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Elsevier is a global scientific publisher, and its brands include 'The Lancet', the world's oldest and most prestigious medical journal.

Tech giant Apple has repeatedly showcased 3D4Medical as an example of what can be achieved with apps.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Moore described the business as "one of those overnight successes that took 15 years".

He said it was "a natural progression" to join forces with Elsevier.

"We have been growing organically for a number of years and we are very proud that we are in 300 of the top universities of the world from Stanford to Oxford and Cambridge," he said.

"But we looked at Elsevier. It's in 10,000 universities and colleges around the world.

"We have done very well with a limited amount of sales representatives. They have 2,000 sales reps, so for us to really take it to the next level it was just a natural progression to join forces with Elsevier."

Last year 3D4Medical incurred a loss before tax of $531,300. Revenue in 2018 was $5.9m after "promotional discounts", according to accounts filed by the business.

To date this year the company is "very ebitda positive", Mr Moore said.

The 75 employees in Dublin would not be affected by the sale, he said.

It is understood that all staff who have been with the business for more than a year will share in a one-off windfall bonus following the sale. That has echoes of the staff fund Kerry entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly set up when he sold his Stockbyte business to Getty Images back in 2006.

"The idea is to grow this company as fast as possible. There is a huge opportunity to integrate our technology across the whole of Elsevier, which owns one-third of the medical educational content in the world," Mr Moore said.

The deal agreed is "really good for 3D4Medical, it's a very good deal for Elsevier, and for Ireland, as they see this as a gem of a company, and they see it as the future of where they want to bring their company", he said.

Mr Moore, a Trinity graduate whose background was in e-learning before he set up the business, will stay on with the company for a transition period.

"I think we will see how long that process will take, I am always going to be available as a consultant to them.

"This is my baby that I developed from scratch and I want to see it through all the way, however long that process takes," he said.

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