Editor's Note

Star-Struck Over CRT

Somewhere out there, someone very powerful thinks your job, your industry and the technology you work with every day are glamorous.

Star-Struck Over CRTPerhaps not glamorous in a Hollywood premiere sort of way (though who knows?), but exciting nonetheless. Intriguing. On the rise. Lucrative.

I’m serious.

How else to explain the absolute blizzard of acquisitions in the complex rehab technology industry?

This year alone, we’ve seen Permobil acquire ROHO (after acquiring TiLite last year), Drive Medical acquire Columbia Medical, and Sunrise Medical acquire Switch-It in April, followed by RGK Wheelchairs in May.

And those are only the ones I can talk about…wink, wink.

In stock terms, CRT is a buy. In Hollywood tabloid terms, CRT is the current It Girl. Investors are raving about CRT, and they’re putting their money where their raves are.

Why?

Permobil, ROHO, TiLite, Drive Medical, Columbia Medical, Sunrise Medical, Switch-It, RGK Wheelchairs and all their boards of directors and investors did not invite me to their acquisition-themed meetings or let me listen in on their conference calls. (That’s surprising, right? What could go wrong with having a reporter eavesdrop on financial deals worth millions of dollars?)

But never mind them. I have my own proof in the form of intriguing, slightly secret agent-ish calls that regularly come across my phone line.

There is nothing strange about these calls. They’re usually from mainstream media reporters and business consultants, and very occasionally from research firms working for They Who Shall Not Be Named investors. I’ve fielded these types of calls for decades, in every industry I’ve covered as an editor. Heck, I make some of these calls, to editors in other industries I’m writing about and need background on. Callers think editors know things and are unbiased in their beliefs. So they call and ask: How’s the industry doing? What are the headlines? What current events or topics are exciting you? Worrying you? Causing you to issue extra newsletters on the fly? What’s up with Medicare?

Since I’ve cold-called my share of editors in other industries over the years, I feel obliged to be helpful in return. It’s not always invigorating to fill people in about competitive bidding or audits or Medicare vs. The SCOOTER Store, but I don’t mind. It’s nice to answer questions for a change instead of asking them.

But lately, these calls have become super fun. Because the people who call me have adopted a slightly breathy, sort of star-struck tone, as in You get to write about this industry! You know people in the industry! You know what they’re creating! You know about their innovations! Your industry is full of miracle workers! Tell me more!!!

You’ve always been heroes or movie stars or miracle workers to me, but it’s great that other people who are powerful and make things happen with just a stroke of the pen are also realizing the potential in complex rehab technology. That they’re investing. That they’re committing to this industry’s future.

From where you sit (and stand and measure and build and fight with funding sources), the industry probably doesn’t seem so glamorous. No industry is ever as glamorous as it appears to outsiders. But some of these outsiders are clamoring to become insiders. Some investors who have their picks of industries are putting money on this one. It’s enough to make me a bit star-struck myself.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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