Dr. Nithin Krishna is a board licensed psychiatrist and serial mental health entrepreneur who formerly led as CEO the multimillion dollar Bloom Health Centers.
Krishna acquired Psych Associates of Maryland, one of the largest independent providers of outpatient mental health services in Maryland, in 2018, leading the business through a period of rapid growth and expansion. In April 2022, PAM merged with Comprehensive Behavioral Health, which together provided the foundation for Bloom Health Centers.
Fascinated by the intersection of technology and the service industry, he has ventured into educational tech with neuroscience with MARCo Health Inc., which has created a conversational AI chatbot and a companion robot.
Ahead of the 2018 acquisition, Krishna says he self-educated on how to do a deal. He says as a university professor he loved reading S-4s and analyst reports regarding mental health. He did a lot of lot of investigation and decided he didn’t want to start a business on his own; he wanted a team and a platform.
“I randomly emailed tons of people saying that I'd like to join you, but also want to be an owner,” Krishna said during the Baltimore Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. “And I stumbled upon this practice where this owner was ready to retire. And it was by myself. I learned on the fly. And it was it was amazing.”
Because he was already a subject matter expert in that field, he says he knew the mechanics and business of medicine. That’s something that’s helped him as he pursues deals.
“What I learned is that stay in your comfort zone,” he says. “I think despite private equity firms, lawyers, M&A advisers, you are the best person to assess what business adds synergy or value to your business. Nobody else can tell that. So, that intuition of knowing that field helped me a lot.”
He says it can be the case that when a potential buyer goes into negotiations with a sophisticated deal team, it can change the tone.
“The deal that I could have gotten for $50 converts to $500,” he says. “So, if you're a business owner, you're trying to roll up, you're in the market, you know the market, it's much easier to discreetly meet the seller and finalize the deal and then bring your team. When you go with your sexy private equity flash, they're going to get KPMG.”
He says in one instance when he acquired another company, his jaw dropped at the valuation.
“And it's just because it was this mighty private equity sitting across [the table],” he says. “I was actually the first person who started dealing. I would have gotten the deal like 100 times lesser than what these people ended up paying. So, that’s something that I’ve learned.”
Today, he says he’s very bullish on the M&A market as there are opportunities for local businesses to scale with the crossroads of technology that enable people to do much more value creation than in the past.
“Entrepreneurship has been around for a long time. So, that's not new. But what is new is that the time from when you start to success, the time taken for a company to grow becomes much smaller now,” he says. “The technology, automation, everything is in the palm of your hand. I'm extremely excited. For me, it's even more exciting because technology has percolated into e-commerce and everything but not in health care and service industries like education. It's in the first innings.”