Growth Story: Kinapse


Business Services

Investment Date

Sept 2012


At a glance

  • 400+ jobs created

  • 62% revenue growth

  • 16.1x cost multiple on exit


Kinapse was a leading provider of outsourcing and advisory services to the life sciences sector focused on the regulatory environment. As the largest company of its type, and amidst rising demand for their bespoke services, we felt Kinapse was well-positioned to capitalise on emerging opportunities for growth.

Introduced originally through industry contacts, we set about building a strong rapport with team. Our narrow sector focus, and experience with internationalising European businesses, meant we were the right partner to support the founder, Andy Black. We worked closely with the team to develop a plan for accelerated growth, before making an investment in September 2012.


Planning for growth isn’t just a matter of heading full-tilt towards expansion. Experience has taught us that it pays to begin by creating the right conditions and environment for growth. Our close relationship with our fellow board members meant we entered the partnership already well aware of the challenges they faced in this regard.

The Company had long been constrained by differences between the management and external shareholders. We helped resolve matters by providing an injection of capital to support growth and allow the founders to rationalise the shareholder base. We followed by overseeing a number of key c-suite hires to strengthen the team.

With an enhanced management team in place, we began by improving the firm’s technology. This included an entirely new ERP system, which enabled analysis of contract profitability and staff utilisation.

One of Synova’s great strengths lies in internationalising European businesses. Accordingly, we supported the opening of new offices for Kinapse in Europe, Asia, and the United States. What followed were a number of huge client wins (including life sciences giants, Pfizer and Merck), helping take annual sales from £6.5m to £27.5m. The increase in sales saw Kinapse’s profitability increase tenfold.


Our success with Kinapse meant we soon received a spectrum of unsolicited offers for the Company. Through a targeted sale process, Kinapse was sold to HgCapital in early 2016, returning 16.1x cost.

Over the period of our investment in Kinapse they entered into long-term contracts with 9 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, GSK, and Johnson & Johnson.

“The entire Synova team were a pleasure to work with. I’ve found their strategic counsel and operational discipline to be particularly valuable.”

– Andy Black, Founder and CEO

What next?

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