Cherry Tree & Associates | September 2021 | Volume XVI, Issue 3
Anthology and Blackboard to Merge 

Anthology, a provider of admissions and enrollment management software for higher education, and Blackboard, a provider of learning management software, announced a definitive agreement to combine the two companies. Jim Milton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Anthology, will serve as Chairman and CEO of the combined company. The combined entity will be majority owned by Veritas Capital. Leeds Equity Partners will hold a minority stake in the company. Veritas and Leeds are currently the majority owners of Anthology. Providence Equity Partners, Blackboard’s existing majority owner, will hold a minority stake in the combined company.
American Public Education, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Rasmussen University

American Public Education (Nasdaq:APEI), the provider of career-focused higher education and training and parent company of American Public University System and Hondros College of Nursing, completed its acquisition of Rasmussen University, the nursing and healthcare-focused institution. The acquisition is expected to nearly double APEI’s revenue to approximately $600 million and generate $90 million in adjusted EBITDA before synergies. Rasmussen will continue to operate as a separately accredited institution.
Byju’s Acquired Tynker

Byju's, India’s largest EdTech company, acquired Tynker, a California-headquartered coding platform for K-12 students. The acquisition is the latest in a series of many purchases as the Indian EdTech giant expands to international markets. Tynker operates an eponymous coding platform and reports amassing over 60 million kids on its platform.
Capstone Acquired Buncee

Capstone, a publisher and education technology provider of children’s content for school and home, acquired Buncee, a creation communication, and collaboration tool for students and educators to construct and share interactive classroom content. Capstone is known for its award-winning PebbleGoTM research database which is estimated to be used by approximately 40% of U.S. elementary schools at the K-2 level.
The Rise Fund to Invest in Teachers of Tomorrow

The Rise Fund, TPG’s global impact investing platform, signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Teachers of Tomorrow, the nation’s largest teacher alternative certification program, from Gauge Capital. Teachers of Tomorrow, which was started in 2005, provides training, certification, and placement services for aspiring teachers. The investment is aligned toward the strategy of The Rise Funds, which is to invest in impact entrepreneurs and growth-stage, high potential, mission-driven companies.
ProBility Media Corp. Acquired Upstryve

ProBility (OTCPK:PBYA), an education company focused on career advancement for the skilled trades, acquired Upstryve, an online tutor for vocational education. The combined entity, which will be calledUpstryve, owns over 500 test prep courses, 600 self-study books and teaches over 1,000 annual virtual classes.
American Safety Council Acquired At Your Pace Online  

American Safety Council (“ASC”), a national provider of critical training, education, and certification solutions to regulated end markets, acquired At Your Pace Online (“AYPO”), an online provider of professional licensure and state-mandated continuing education. The combined business will now offer more content that covers a broader set of adjacent vocations, including real estate, insurance, plumbing, HVAC and many others. AYPO represents ASC’s third acquisition this year as the portfolio company of Ridgemont Equity Partners expands its online educational offering.
CoachHub Raises $80 Million

CoachHub, a digital coaching platform, raised $80 million in a Series B2 funding round, increasing total Series B capital to $110 million. Draper Esprit and RTP Global were a part of the funding round with participation from five others, bringing the total funds raised to $130 million. In just the first half of 2021, CoachHub reportedly tripled its employees and added notable clients including Fujitsu, Electrolux, Babbel, and KPMG
CLASS101 Raises $26 Million

CLASS101, a Korean-based online education platform, raised $25.8 million in Series B funding round. The Company plans to use the capital to accelerate its growth in South Korea, the United States, and Japan. The Series B round was led by Goodwater Capital, with additional participation from four prior investors. Since being founded in 2018, CLASS101 has reportedly grown the number of classes it offers to more than 2,000.
MyTutor Raises £15 Million

MyTutor, an online platform that helped UK children catch up with lessons during COVID-19 has raised £15 Million in a funding round led by SEEK Investments with support from existing investors including Mobeus Equity Partners. The London-based EdTech company was the largest provider of in-school tuition in last year’s government-backed National Tuition Program. MyTutor reports having over 20,000 tutors and supporting more than 1,000 secondary schools over two million lessons.
EdSights Raises $5 Million  

EdSights, the creator of a chatbot and other automation tools that enable schools to improve student enrollment and engagement, raised $5 million in a Series A round led by Album VC. The Company reports that its landed 70 customers to date, up from 16 in May.
Francisco Partners Acquires Follett School Solutions   

Follett Corporation, one of the largest suppliers of educational materials and technologies to schools worldwide, divested its Follett School Solutions (“FSS”) business to Francisco Partners, the private equity group. The FSS business includes the Company’s K-12 software and content division. The FSS group claims to have a library management system with installations in more than 75,000 K-12 schools worldwide. The acquisition adds to Francisco Partners strong education portfolio which already includes Renaissance Learning, Discovery Education, myON and Mystery Science.
Sylvan Learning Acquired by Franchise Group  

Franchise Group (NASDAQ:FRG), the operator of multiple franchise brands, acquired Sylvan Learning, the nationwide tutoring franchise. Sylvan currently has 700 locations in 49 states and provides franchisees with a platform to offer on-premises, online, one-to-one and group tutoring options. The $81 million purchase price for Sylvan equates to 6.75x Adjusted EBITDA of $12 million and 2.7x revenue of roughly $30 million. .
Microsoft Acquires TakeLessons 

Microsoft acquired TakeLessons, a platform for students to connect with individual tutors in areas like music lessons, language learning, academic subjects and professional training. TakeLessons has raised $20 million from a range of VCs that include LighBank, Uncork Capital, Crosslink Capital and others. While the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the Company’s European counterpart, GoStudent, raised $244 million in funding earlier this year that valued it at $1.7 billion. Others in online tutoring like Brainly are also seeing valuations in the hundreds of millions.
Eden Capital Invests in Wall Street Prep

Eden Capital, a New York-based private equity fund focused on technology, business services, and education, invested in Wall Street Prep (WSP), a global financial training firm. For 15 years, WSP has provided in-depth content to equip finance professionals and students with the on-job skills required for careers in investment banking and private equity.
JPMorgan Chase Acquired Frank

JPMorgan Chase, the financial services firm with assets over $2.6 trillion, acquired Frank, a college financial planning platform used by over 5 million students in the United States. Frank was founded in 2017 by its then 24-year-old CEO, Charlie Javice, who will continue to lead the firm and join JPMorgan Chase as the head of student solutions on the digital products team. The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the largest U.S. bank and will enable the bank to deepen ties with students, the bank reports.
MetaMetrics Acquired Elemeno

MetaMetrics, an education technology company offering universal scales for measuring reading, listening, and math, acquired Elemeno, an EdTech company focused on bridging the research-to-practice gap in early literacy by packaging scientific knowledge into useful tools for practitioners. Since July 2019, MetaMetrics has been part of the Apax Digital Fund, a technology-focused equity fund advised by global private equity advisory firm, Apax Partners.
Code Ninjas Acquired by Eagle Merchant Partners 

Atlanta-based private equity firm Eagle Merchant Partners announced its second investment in Code Ninjas, a large coding franchise system for children. The announcement follows a minority investment made last year and completes Eagle's acquisition of the company. Code Ninjas was founded in 2016 and currently has 345 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Panorama Education Raises $60 Million

Panorama Education, which has built out a K-12 education software platform, has raised $60 million in a Series C funding round led by General Atlantic. The latest funding round brings the Boston-based Company’s total funds raised to $105 million since its inception in 2012. The Company claims to now serve over 13 million students in 23,000 schools across the United States, which implies that 25% of American students are enrolled in a district served by Panorama.
CollegeDekho Raises $26.5 Million

CollegeDekho, a college admission and education services platform, raised $26.5 million in an ongoing Series B funding round led by Winter Capital Partners and ETS Strategic Capital. The EdTech platform connects prospective students with colleges using its proprietary Technology and its AI-based conversation bot. The Company said the new capital will be used to help it add new verticals, improve its current offering for students, and expand internationally.
FrontRow Raises $14 Million

FrontRow, a learning platform for non-academic skills, raised $14 million in a Series led by Eight Roads Ventures and GSV, with participation from existing investors including Lightspeed and Elevation Capital. Its learning platform includes industry stalwarts such as Amit Trivedi, Neha Kakkar, DIVINE, Suresh Raina and 100+ live courses taught by influencers and experts. The Company plans to use the funds to scale to over 10 categories and 300 courses over the next year.
For-profit education comprises more than 5% of the roughly $1.5 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
Over the last eight weeks, as schools have started the new academic year, we’ve seen something remarkable happen in education. In school districts and institutions of higher education across the country, a herculean effort has taken place to return students to school as effectively and safely as possible. As anyone on social media knows, a lot of attention is given to the challenges schools have faced (and anyone who has sat in the student pick-up line at my kid’s school knows some challenges are very real). However, the more important story is the diligence, determination and problem-solving we’ve seen in the service of education. The efforts of teachers, professors, administrators, and school boards are not glamorous, but they are a reason for optimism in the future of education. It would be a mistake to fail to recognize this.

Anyone who has followed our commentary knows that we’ve been enthusiastic about what we’re seeing in the education market over the last two years. Earlier this month we shared some of our observations about the uniqueness of this moment with Lee Schafer, a Business Columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Lee does a great job of capturing the evolution of the education market and reasons for optimism going forward. View the piece Lee wrote after our conversation here

For a confidential discussion 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.
Commentary by:
Mike Buttry, Managing Director | 952.253.6027
Prepared by:
Chad Johnson, Managing Partner | 952.253.6010
Follow me on Twitter @ChadEricJohnson
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.