Stebby, the largest wellness service marketplace in the Baltics, is being acquired by Livonia Partners in a management buyout transaction. According to Kestutis Mackelis, CEO of Stebby, new ownership will allow Stebby to strengthen its position in the Baltic market and provide resources for further product and geographic expansion. ‘My last 4 years at Stebby showed me people’s increasing desire for a modern and convenient way to consume wellness. I am very excited we’ve managed to find a financial partner that shares the same vision.’ says Mackelis. ‘The ownership change was necessary to enable Stebby to reach its full potential and become the convenient one-stop-shop for wellness,’ adds the CEO. The transaction at Livonia Partners was led by Kaido Veske. “We are excited to support the ambitions of Kestutis and the wider management team as the employee benefits market gains further traction globally. Stebby is an incredible platform to build upon.”
Long-term management consultants and co-investors in the transaction Erik Oja, Egon Orav
and Kristjan Novitski, will be joining the management board to help grow the business to new markets and verticals. “This transaction is a step beyond an ordinary ownership change. It’s driven by the team wanting to achieve a much healthier society through personal wellness in the Baltics and beyond. We’re proud what Stebby team has established so far and this MBO opens up great opportunities in reaching new heights.” says Erik Oja.
The buyout of the wellness service marketplace was financed by Swedbank, the largest bank in Estonia. Liisi Himma, head of corporate banking at Swedbank sees this transaction as a great example on how the local banking sector can contribute to the effort of building the world’s leading startup ecosystem in Estonia. “It has been impressive to follow Stebby’s growth so far and we wish the company’s management team and Livonia Partners the very best on the continued path of creating another Estonian startup success story. We keep looking at new favorable opportunities to assist in taking companies like Stebby to the next level in their development stage.”
When discussing the sale of the company, the founder Marti Soosaar also commented: “When I founded Stebby in 2012, the goal was to get Estonian companies to support the physical activity of their employees. We have fulfilled our goal in Estonia, and Stebby has become a synonym for employee wellness. For the same to happen across the Baltic market and to move even further in the future, having Livonia Partners on board is great news. As the founder of the company, I have great faith that today’s management team, together with Livonia Partners, will be able to fulfill these ambitions.”.
Celebrating its 10th birthday soon, Stebby has outgrown the label of a start-up and become the largest wellness services environment in the Baltics with more than 1,500 companies, 150,000 users and over 2,000 wellness partners. Initially started as a business-to-business wellness compensation platform, it has now been open to all users interested in health and sports services. Stebby users can quickly find, discover, and purchase various well-being services around them using the Stebby app. Management consists of CEO Kestutis Mackelis and COO Roman Gnibida, who have been in the company for 4 and 6 years, respectively. Stebby currently has over 30 employees across Tallinn, Tartu, Vilnius, and Riga offices.
Livonia Partners is a pan-Baltic private equity investment firm that is managing assets of EUR 230 million. The founding partners and managers of the firm are Kaido Veske, Kristīne Bērziņa, Rain Lõhmus, and Mindaugas Utkevičius. The Livonia team works across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Fund investors are Baltic and Nordic pension funds, including Swedbank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Fund (EIF) investing through the Baltic Innovation Fund 2 (an initiative created by cooperation between the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, and the EIF) and others.