Cherry Tree advises FastBridge Learning in its sale to 
Illuminate Education
Transaction Description
In June of 2019 FastBridge Learning was acquired by Illuminate Education to create the leading K-12 student performance system. FastBridge Learning is a research-driven assessment platform that transforms the way teachers measure and monitor student progress. Together, the company provides effective formative assessments and assessment platforms, data that informs instruction, and the ability for educators to build strong systems of support within their districts.  

Cherry Tree's Role
Cherry Tree was retained by FastBridge's ownership group, including founders Dr. Ted Christ and Dr. Zoheb Borbora, CEO Terri Soutor, and the University of Minnesota, to advise them on their strategic alternatives to support their rapid growth. It was important to the owners that any outcome protect the customers, employees, and education mission of the company, while ensuring the necessary resources to fulfill their strategic plan. As the engagement was beginning the company was approached by Illuminate, an existing strategic partner backed by Insight Venture Partners. Cherry Tree advised FastBridge through a process that included meetings and strategy discussions with Illuminate, negotiating terms, supporting the due diligence process, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

About FastBridge Learning
FastBridge Learning is the brainchild of the leading educational researchers in the country, including those from the University of Minnesota - the birthplace of CBM and CAT methodologies. FastBridge Learning believe teachers deserve the best tools to help students stay on track, and strive to transform the way teachers assess and address the learning needs of students by providing one simple solution for faster results that are proven effective. To learn more, visit
About Illuminate Education
Illuminate Education is a leading provider of integrated K-12 technology systems. Illuminate's innovative tools bridge the gap between instruction, assessment, and data analytics, transforming the potential of teaching and learning. With all the data available within a single platform, teachers can assess learning and link to the right resources, while district leaders can receive a holistic view of students. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Illuminate's team of experienced educators and technology specialists serve 12 million students across all 50 states. Illuminate Education is backed by private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, For more information on Illuminate, visit .

About Cherry Tree & Associates
Cherry Tree & Associates, LLC is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, specializing in serving entrepreneurially-managed companies. Founded in 1980, the firm provides financial advisory engagements for buyers, sellers, and companies seeking growth capital, and provides fairness opinions and other valuation services. 

Chad Johnson, Managing Director, at 952-893-9012
Cherry Tree Deal Team

Cherry Tree Contacts

Elmer Baldwin
Senior Executive Director 
(952) 253-6001

Chuck Gorman
Senior Executive Director 
(952) 253-6008
Tony Christianson
Managing Partner
(952) 253-6003

Cherry Tree & Associates, LLC,  301 Carlson Parkway, Suite 103,  Minneapolis, MN 55305
Phone: (952) 893-9012 |

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Important Disclosures
The information included in this publication has been obtained from public sources, and is not based upon private or confidential Cherry Tree information. Cherry Tree gathers its data from sources it considers reliable. However, it does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided within this publication. Any opinions presented reflect the current judgment of the authors and are subject to change. Cherry Tree makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy of this information or any opinions expressed by the authors. Officers, directors, partners of Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree proprietary investment funds may have positions in the securities of the companies discussed, and certain affiliates of Cherry Tree may recommend to specific clients the purchase and sale of securities discussed in the publication.  This publication does not constitute a recommendation with respect to the securities of any company discussed herein, and it should not be construed as such. Cherry Tree or its affiliates may from time to time provide investment banking or related services to these companies. Like all Cherry Tree employees, the authors of this publication receive compensation that is affected by overall firm profitability. We undertake no obligation to update any information in this publication.