Cherry Tree & Associates | July 2018 | Volume XIII, Issue 1
 Galvanize Acquires Hack Reactor

Galvanize, the Denver-based coding school, is set to acquire Hack Reactor, another coding school operating in San Francisco, New York and Austin. Both Companies offer multi-week courses in a variety of technology skills from web development to data science. The deal was partially financed by a new $32 million Series C round led by Catalyst Investors.
Grand Canyon University Sells for $875 Million

Grand Canyon Education (NASDAQ: LOPE) sold Grand Canyon University to a non-profit entity for $875 million. This is another step in Grand Canyon University’s path towards reverting to a non-profit institution which was approved by its accreditor in January of 2018. Grand Canyon reports serving 19,000 students at its physical location in Arizona and nearly 70,000 students online.
Follett Acquires Fishtree

Follet acquired Fishtree, an adaptive learning platform used in K-12 education, higher-ed and corporate training. Follett will integrate the machine-based learning tools of Fishtree into various platforms. Currently, the Fishtree platform claims over 500,000 users. Terms of the deal were not disclosed .
Golden Gate Capital Acquires The Learning Experience

The Learning Experience, an early education academy, was acquired by Golden Gate Capital. The Learning Experience operates over 300 company-owned and franchise learning centers across 22 states. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Guild Education Raises $40 Million

Guild Education, a Denver-based education benefits platform, raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Felicis Ventures. Salesforce Ventures, Workday Ventures, Rethink Impact & Education and Silicon Valley Bank also participated. The company claims the platform is currently available to 2.5 million working adults and gives access to classes, programs and degrees at more than 90 universities and learning providers .
Zuoyebang raises $350 Million

Zuoyebang, the China-based online education platform, has closed a $350 million Series D funding round led by Coatue Management. Zuoyebang, a Baidu spin-off, allows students to take a picture of their questions, search for answers and seek mentoring. Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital China, GGV Capital, Primavera Capital Group, Xiang He Capital, Taintu Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Taihe Capital participated in the capital raise.
Swing Education Raises $15 Million

Swing Education, a marketplace for substitute teachers, raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Owl Ventures and GV (formerly Google Ventures). In total, Swing Education has raised $22.8 million. Swing says that it currently works with more than 600 schools in the country, most of which are in California.
RaiseMe Raises $15 Million

RaiseMe, a platform that uses micro-scholarships to motivate students, raised $15 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Teamworthy Ventures and joined by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Salesforce Ventures and Strada Education Network. To date, the company has raised $31.5 million.
Showbie Acquires Socrative

Showbie, a classroom workflow application, has acquired Socrative, an assessment and curriculum platform reportedly used by 3.7 million teachers. Prior to being acquired by Showbie, Socrative had been owned by MasteryConnect which paid $5 million for the company in 2014.
National University Acquires UniversityNow

National University, a network of non-profit universities, acquired UniversityNow, an online curriculum and learning platform. Patten University, the for-profit online institution run by UniversityNow, will cease operations as a result of the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Goodwall Raises $10.8 Million

Goodwall, a social networking platform aimed at connecting students with colleges and employment opportunities, has raised $10.8 million in Series A funding. Ranstad Innovation Fund and Manixer led the round with additional participation from Francis Clivas, Zurich Cantonal Bank and Verve Capital Partners.
PennSpring Capital Acquires Professional Systems Software & Technology

Professional Systems Software & Technology (PSST), a software firm serving school districts and municipalities, was acquired by PennSpring Capital. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Illuminate Education Merges with 4 Education Data Companies

Illuminate Education will merge with IO Education, SchoolCity, Alpine Achievement and Key Data Systems which are all portfolio companies of Insight Venture Partners. The combined companies, which will retain the Illuminate Education name, will reportedly reach 15 million students.
Imagine Learning Acquires Reasoning Mind

Imagine Learning, a portfolio company of Weld North Education, acquired Reasoning Mind, a mathematics curriculum provider aimed at the K-12 market. Reasoning Mind claims to have serviced over a million students and teachers in its 18 years of existence. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Learners Edge Acquires iteach

Learners Edge, a portfolio company of L Squared Capital Partners, has acquired iteach, a provider of alternative education certification. The iteach program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and offers programs in Texas, Louisiana, Nevada and Hawaii. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Chegg Acquires StudyBlue

Chegg (NYSE:CHGG) has acquired StudyBlue, a provider of online flashcards and study guides crowdsourced from students, for $20.8 million in cash. The site boasts over 400 million flashcards, notes and study guides and 15 million student users.

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Skillshare Raises $28 Million

Skillshare, an online learning community, has raised $28 million in Series C funding led by Union Square Ventures. Burda Principal Investments, Amasia and Spero Ventures joined in the capital raise. Skillshare’s platform purports to have a network of 6,000 experts teaching over 20,000 classes across dozens of subjects, serving over 5 million users.
ACT Acquires The National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA)

ACT, the education nonprofit providing college-readiness tests, acquired the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA). NRCCUA helps colleges market to and recruit students by providing data and research. NRCCUA reports over 1,800 four-year nonprofit colleges and universities as members. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Impraise Raises $10.6 Million

Impraise, a continuous feedback and performance management HR tool, raised $10.6 million in Series A financing led by Keen Venture Partners with participation from HenQ.

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Kenzie Academy Raises $4.2 Million

Kenzie Academy, a tech focused education and apprenticeship program, raised $4.2M in seed financing. The funding was led by existing investor, ReThink Ventures. Kenzie Academy plans on using the seed funding to develop additional course offerings.

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Pi-Top Raises $16 Million

Pi-Top, a London based ed-tech startup geared toward teaching children about computer science and coding, has raised $16 million in a funding round led by Hambro Perks and Committed Capital. Pi-Top has now raised a total of $22.5 million.

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Kaplan Closes Acquisition of the College for Financial Planning

Global education provider, Kaplan, has closed its acquisition of the College for Financial Planning (CFFP). The acquisition of CFFP, formerly owned by Apollo Education Group, was announced in December of 2017 but has been awaiting approval from the Higher Learning Commission.
Audax Private Equity Acquires Van Pool Transportation

Van Pool Transportation, the Massachusetts-based provider of outsourced transportation services to K-12 students with special needs, has been acquired by Audax Private Equity. Financial terms were not disclosed.
ASSIST Education Secures Funding

Assist Education has secured $2 million in financing to expand its programs throughout Mexico. The funding was provided by a private investor

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For-profit education comprises more than 5% of the roughly $1.3 trillion that is spent on education in the U.S. annually. Cherry Tree created the Education For-Profit 50 Index representing a group of publicly traded for-profit education companies. 
The For-Profit Education 50 Index consists of companies in the Pre-K-12, Postsecondary Education, Training and Development, and Education Products and Services segments for-profit education industry.
* EV= Enterprise Value
Lifelong learning is a wise mindset and is arguably a requirement for people in most professions today. From the spread of project-based work (the gig economy) to the disruptions brought on by technology, we should expect that mastering new skills and competencies will be the norm in the future. 

Adult education and human capital management are seeing similar changes brought on by new tools and methodologies, as witnessed in this month’s news stories. Guild’s platform to help companies provide education benefits to workers, more consolidation among coding schools, and funding for Kenzie’s internship solution are just a few examples of the many investments and innovations occurring in adult ed. Speaking more broadly, technology is especially empowering for adult learning, who are more likely to need anywhere, anytime access to resources, to fit education into their already busy lives. 

I look forward to posting stories about technologies such as virtual reality, which will someday make a significant contribution to adult education and training. If you’ve tried it, you’ll immediately understand why. 
For a confidential conversation about your company's strategic alternatives for exiting, merging, acquiring, or obtaining venture financing, and how trends in education affect your prospects, please contact us at 952-893-9012

Prepared by:
Chad Johnson, Managing Director and Partner | 952.253.6010

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis. Our firm specializes in serving middle market companies and their owners, whether private, public, or divisions of larger corporations.
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.  

The Education For-Profit (EFP) 50 Index is a hypothetical index, and does not reflect an actual investment portfolio. Comparisons between the EFP 50 Index and the S&P 500 are for illustrative purposes only. Correlations in performance information for the EFP 50 Index and the S&P 500 should not be relied upon as indicative of risks involved in owning or holding a portfolio of securities similar to the EFP 50 Index. Past performance should not be relied upon as indicative of future performance.