Cherry Tree Advises SPARK on its Sale to Arcadea Group

Cherry Tree Advises SPARK on its Sale to Arcadea Group

SPARK Acquired by Arcadea Group

Arcadea Group Announces Strategic Acquisition of SPARK

The acquisition will focus SPARK on long-term growth and enhanced product functionality

MINNEAPOLIS & TORONTO & ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SPARK, an innovative SaaS-based lending platform serving the SBA and conventional lending market in the United States, has been acquired by Arcadea Group, a global, long-hold and growth-oriented SaaS investor. Arcadea acquired SPARK from Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (“CRF”). This strategic acquisition showcases Arcadea’s commitment to partnering with high-quality businesses with significant long-term growth potential.

“We are extremely impressed by the unique product and service that the SPARK team has developed, along with the tremendous loyalty they’ve built within their customer base,” stated Daniel Eisen, Managing Director at Arcadea Group. “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a renewed focus on the SBA as a primary source of lending and we believe that SPARK has the potential to accelerate and redefine the SBA process while also enhancing its offerings in the conventional lending market. With our extensive experience in software operations and forward-thinking growth strategies, we are ready to empower SPARK’s journey towards even greater success. With the continued focus by lenders on digital banking infrastructure, including Lending as a Service (LaaS), we view SPARK as a fantastic addition to our portfolio of companies serving the Community Banking and Credit Union industry.”

SPARK’s user-friendly platform has gained rapid recognition in the SBA and conventional lending market, enabling small business owners to quickly secure the funding they need. With Arcadea Group’s resources and industry expertise, SPARK is poised to accelerate its growth trajectory and deepen its market footprint.

Nick Elders, the CEO of SPARK, expressed his excitement about this new partnership. “Our mission has always been to create a company and a product that leaves a lasting, enduring and impactful mark on the small business ecosystem, and we see Arcadea as the perfect partner to help us realize that vision. They not only have deep expertise in software operations but also a growth-oriented mindset. We’re beyond excited about this next chapter of SPARK.”

The acquisition of SPARK also resonates positively with Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. Jennifer Anderson, President of CRF, stated, “We were intent on finding a partner with a long-term vision for SPARK, and we found that in the Arcadea Group. With their ownership, we’re confident SPARK will continue to thrive, meeting the needs of our customer base.”

Paul Yancich, Managing Director at Arcadea Group, highlighted the strategic alignment of this acquisition, saying, “Acquiring SPARK is a testament to our commitment to only partner with businesses that have significant long-term growth potential. We look forward to supporting SPARK as it continues to innovate and expand its offering in the lending market.”

About SPARK
SPARK helps small business lenders take advantage of the FinTech ecosystem and thrive. SPARK is built, managed, and enhanced by a team of passionate experts across the globe and is focused on helping small business lenders succeed in an increasingly digital world. Founded in 2020, SPARK’s network of banks, credit unions, CDFIs and specialty lenders have used the platform to process over $25B in lending activity, targeting deserving small businesses owners across the U.S.

About Arcadea Group
Arcadea Group invests in high-quality, strongly growing, typically founder-led vertical software companies over durations of time that no traditional private equity or growth equity firm can match. With headquarters in Toronto, offices in Florida, and portfolio companies in North America, Europe, and Asia, Arcadea maintains a global investment purview. Arcadea leverages tailor-made, flexible strategies that prioritize value creation for all stakeholders, offering an alternative to the rigid playbooks of Private Equity or Software Aggregators, which prioritize owner returns at the expense of customers and employees.

About CRF
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports mission-driven organizations, increases economic mobility, and builds strong local economies through the development of solutions aimed at creating an equitable financial system. CRF has injected more than $3.5 billion to stimulate job creation and economic development and support community facilities. www.crfusa.com

Contacts
SPARK
Nick Elders, CEO
Nick.elders@lendwithspark.com
https://lendwithspark.com

Source: https://www.businesswire.com/

SPARK Acquired by Arcadea Group
“We were intent on finding a partner with a long-term vision for SPARK, and we found that in the Arcadea Group. With their ownership, we’re confident SPARK will continue to thrive, meeting the needs of our customer base.”
—Jennifer Anderson, President of CRF

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Cherry Tree Advises Heigl Adhesives on its Sale to APPLIED Adhesives

Cherry Tree Advises Heigl Adhesives on its Sale to APPLIED Adhesives

Heigle Adhesives acquired by APPLIED adhesives

APPLIED Adhesives Acquires Heigl Adhesives

MINNETONKA, Minn., [May 16, 2023] – APPLIED Adhesives, a premier custom adhesive solutions provider in North America, today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Heigl Adhesives. Based in Eden Prairie, MN, Heigl has over 30 years of adhesive and adhesive dispensing equipment experience across a broad range of industries. The acquisition strengthens APPLIED’s commitment to providing industry-leading products, technical expertise, and relentless service to its customers.

“We are excited to expand APPLIED’s offerings through the acquisition of Heigl Adhesives as we share the same dedication to providing outstanding service, innovative solutions, and the highest quality products to our customers,” said John Feriancek, President and CEO of Applied Adhesives. “We are pleased to welcome the Heigl team and its customers to APPLIED Adhesives and look forward to continuing to deliver industry-leading custom adhesive solutions.”

“I couldn’t be more excited about Heigl joining the APPLIED team. We looked hard at the core values and culture of both companies and it’s a great fit on so many levels,” said Dustin Heigl, CEO, Heigl Adhesives. “Coming together with APPLIED is going to give us even more resources to support all of our valued customers, which will always be our highest priority.”

About APPLIED Adhesives
APPLIED Adhesives, founded in 1971, is a premier custom adhesive solutions provider in North America. Our experts source the adhesives, equipment, and parts you need while providing maintenance services that help you run at optimum efficiency. APPLIED offers customized solutions with a cost-in-use approach that saves you time and money. For more information, please visit appliedadhesives.com.

About Heigl Adhesives
Heigl Adhesives is a leading supplier of industrial adhesives and dispensing equipment based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company has been in business for over 30 years and has long-standing relationships with top adhesive and equipment manufacturers. Heigl uses its decades of adhesive expertise and strong industry partnerships to help manufacturing companies of all sizes find the right adhesive solutions for their needs, keep costs low, and keep production running smoothly. For more information, please visit www.heigladhesives.com.

Source:
APPLIED Adhesives Media Contact:
David Posadas
Vice President of Marketing
dposadas@appliedproducts.com

Heigle Adhesives acquired by APPLIED adhesives

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Cherry Tree Advises Lindenwood University on its Acquisition of Dorsey College

Cherry Tree Advises Lindenwood University on its Acquisition of Dorsey College

Lindenwood Education System Acquires Dorsey College

Lindenwood University and Dorsey College Will Continue to Operate as Separate Education Institutions

Lindenwood Education System, the non-profit parent entity of Lindenwood University, has completed its acquisition of Dorsey College, a nationally accredited institution that provides career-focused education in the healthcare, skilled trades, culinary arts, emergency medical services, and beauty and wellness fields. Lindenwood Education System is now the parent organization of both Dorsey College and its existing Lindenwood University, a regionally accredited university with a 190-year history and more than 75,000 alumni.

Under Lindenwood Education System, Dorsey College and Lindenwood University will operate as separate education institutions, and Dorsey will maintain its name and career-focused programs. Lindenwood University will continue as a regionally accredited, NCAA Division I, liberal arts college offering on-campus and online education.

“This is a historic moment for both institutions which have a shared vision for providing learner-centric education,” said Dr. John Porter, president and CEO of both Lindenwood Education System and Lindenwood University. “A key part of our strategy is to expand into the ‘just-in-time’ learner space, and Dorsey’s 89-year history of providing exceptional career-focused education is a perfect fit.”

Dorsey is the oldest career college in Michigan serving more than 1,800 students across eight campuses in the state. The college offers more than 20 programs and certificates running from six to 24 months in length. It is also Michigan’s largest educator of practical nurse and emergency medical service graduates. Lindenwood University offers 70 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs to more than 7,000 students from all 50 states both on-ground at its 500-acre campus and online.

This is the first step in the plan of the Lindenwood Education System to build a network of schools with complementary educational programs that can provide life-long education leading to career advancement. Immediately following completion of the transaction, Dorsey College will hold tax-exempt status for corporate and tax purposes. In the coming months, Dorsey anticipates pursuing recognition as a non-profit institution of higher education with the U.S. Department of Education.

“This is the natural next step for Dorsey College,” said John Barnes, CEO and president of Dorsey College, who will remain in his leadership role. “We believe our career-focused curriculum and our deep commitment to developing the whole person to promote their long-term success aligns perfectly with Lindenwood’s learner-centric mission. These commitments will only grow stronger as a member of the Lindenwood family.”

The Lindenwood Education System represents an innovative and forward-looking approach to growth in the increasingly competitive higher education market which has seen historic enrollment declines in recent years. “We believe the Lindenwood Education System is the beginning of a new network of schools that will attract students by providing them with a solution for lifelong learning that will enable them to achieve their personal and professional goals,” Porter said.

 

SOURCE: https://www.lindenwood.edu/

“This is a historic moment for both institutions which have a shared vision for providing learner-centric education”
—President and CEO of both Lindenwood Education System and Lindenwood University

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Cherry Tree Becomes MESA’s Fifth Foundation Partner

Cherry Tree Becomes MESA's Fifth Foundation Partner

Minneapolis, MN – April 4, 2023  

Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory (MESA), a non-profit, pro bono mentoring organization inspired to make Minnesota’s software economy rank among the most vibrant and respected in the nation, is announcing its fifth foundation partner – Cherry Tree & Associates.

Cherry Tree & Associates is a Minneapolis-based private investment bank with more than four decades of transaction experience. The firm was founded in 1980 as a private equity/venture capital firm. After successfully managing four investment funds during the 1980s and 1990s, the firm expanded into investment banking in 1996, which has become its primary business line. The firm specializes in serving business owners in their M&A transactions and funding efforts.

Cherry Tree Managing Directors and Associates have comprehensive M&A and financing expertise. Many have held previous C-Level operating roles, sat on Boards of Directors, and have extensive networks of Executive, Venture Capital, and Private Equity contacts.

“We are fortunate to have Cherry Tree as our fifth partner organization,” said Jim Moar, MESA President. “Like MESA, Cherry Tree leverages the knowledge and wisdom of C-Level executives that have ‘been there, done that’ experience. We are excited to welcome them to our MESA community.”

With over 75 Minnesota-based emerging software companies mentored, MESA’s track record and pro bono approach to coaching founders/CEOs was a natural fit for Cherry Tree. Cherry Tree’s technology expertise aligns well with those MESA mentees on a spectacular growth track moving from emerging growth to mid-market status. And both are driven by the desire to help business owners get where they want to go.

Scott Brown joined Cherry Tree as a Senior Executive Director in December of 2022 to leverage his unique skill set as a Founder, Inventor, Executive, and Board Member which he developed over nearly 30 years. As a MESA mentor for five years, he contributes to the powerful work that MESA is doing to support the Minnesota software startup community. In both of his roles he acts as the Advisor he desired as an Operator.

“MESA has an exceptional portfolio of software mentees in their mentoring program,” explained Scott. “And as someone with a long track record of working with VC and PE backed companies, I understand how important it is to have experienced advisors in your corner.”

Scott continued, “Both MESA and Cherry Tree are strategic advisors during important times in these companies’ lifecycles. MESA mentors provide in-the-trenches experience and act as an independent sounding board to founders/CEOs looking to grow and scale. And Cherry Tree advises companies on complex financial transactions to increase the probability of achieving the optimal outcome. We have developed a strong brand as a trusted M&A advisor and are excited for the opportunity to support MESA.”

As a FINRA-licensed broker dealer, Cherry Tree offers a variety of specialized financial services such as sell-side and buy-side advisory, recapitalizations, market checks, divestitures, capital raises and fairness opinions.  They offer regular industry specific research reports and helpful insights for CEO’s that are available on their website (https://cherrytree.com).

Cherry Tree joins RSM LLC, Modern Logic, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, and TriNet as the fifth MESA partner organization.

About MESA

Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory (MESA) is a non-profit mentoring organization whose mission is to make Minnesota’s software community among the most vibrant by providing C-level pro bono mentoring for CEOs of emerging software companies. MESA offers a deep bench of experienced software industry executives from a wide spectrum of disciplines, matching these volunteer mentors with early-stage startups to meet their specific growth needs. MESA has mentored more than 75 emerging software companies in Minnesota. Graduates from the MESA mentoring program have gone on to achieve new levels of success. Of the 36 MESA graduates to date, 21 have had major capital events – either a significant capital raise, acquisition, or IPO, and thousands of jobs have been created. For more information, visit https://www.mesagroup.org/

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises SOS Manufacturing on its Sale to Auxo Investment Partners

Cherry Tree Advises SOS Manufacturing on its Sale to Auxo Investment Partners

Auxo Investment Partners acquires SOS Manufacturing

SOS Manufacturing has announced that it has been acquired by Auxo Investment Partners, a Michigan based private equity firm. This transaction marks Auxo’s fourth acquisition in the space as the firm builds out its wire harness platform.

SOS Manufacturing makes specialized wire harnesses for business customers all over the world. The company was organized in 2001 and is currently headquartered and builds product in its facility in Roberts, Wisconsin.  Major sectors served include automotive, aerospace, computer, electronic, networking and security.  In addition, the Company offers engineering assistance, CAD drawings, complete box builds/product assembly and part kitting.

“We first met the Cherry Tree team a few years ago.  Their early advice was helpful in our decision not to sell then but rather continue growing and strengthening our business.  When we were ready to sell, we engaged Cherry Tree.  They led a disciplined process that created a competitive situation among multiple qualified buyers.  The Cherry Tree team provided invaluable advice during the process and was with us every step of the way through closing. Cherry Tree worked closely with our financial and legal advisors and provided the overall project management to get a successful transaction completed.  The result was a great outcome for our shareholders, employees, and customers.” — Ray Stoner and Steve Oakins, Owners

Cherry Tree’s Role:
Cherry Tree was engaged to advise SOS Manufacturing and its shareholders in identifying the best partner to help SOS achieve its next phase of growth through a sale of the business. The objectives were to maximize shareholder value and terms of a transaction, while managing an efficient closing process. Cherry Tree’s role included preparing evaluation materials, identifying and screening buyers, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of a transaction. It was especially important to the shareholders and management team that the process was well planned and efficiently executed, to not disrupt the core business operations, and to complete the transaction in a timely manner.

About Auxo Investment Partners:
Auxo Investment Partners is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based private investment firm that partners with owners and management teams of companies at transition points in their history. Auxo’s flexible capital model allows for long-term, growth-oriented decision-making without artificial deadlines. The structure was specifically designed for family businesses facing a generational transition or management teams seeking a partner to fuel growth and achieve their full potential with a long-term investment approach. Auxo’s unique philosophy aligns the interests of its companies, their employees, the communities in which they are located and its investors to achieve optimal outcomes for all. For more information, please visit www.auxopartners.com.

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

7 Mindsets Continues Rapid Growth with Acquisition of xSEL Labs

Move strengthens company’s ability to help educators understand students’ social and emotional strengths and needs

ROSWELL, Ga., Jan. 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — 7 Mindsets, the leader in PreK-12 mindsets-based learning and well-being solutions, today announced the acquisition of xSEL Labs, a creator of scalable systems to assess and address the social and emotional needs of children. This acquisition further solidifies 7 Mindsets as the most comprehensive social and emotional learning solution for schools and districts across the country and strengthens the company’s offering of high-quality, multi-tiered SEL instruction and assessment supporting teaching, learning, and student success.

“Today SEL is embedded into the work of school districts more than ever before and it’s critical we continue helping district administrators provide comprehensive social and emotional learning solutions for all members of their school communities,” said Mark Belles, CEO of 7 Mindsets. “The acquisition of xSEL Labs bolsters our high-quality assessment offerings and we’re thrilled to provide educators more insight into their students’ SEL skills as well as help them identify areas for improvement and inform the development of more targeted interventions.”

xSEL Labs’ core assessments directly measure students’ social and emotional learning strengths and needs. Assessment results help educators decide what to teach to whom, and measure student learning in response to instruction. xSEL Labs also offers brief climate surveys and educator surveys.

The combination of xSEL Labs, 7 Mindsets, and the recently acquired BASE Education, a social and emotional learning and mental health platform, will enable the company to offer a flexible and highly effective range of SEL assessment and instructional resources to address children’s social and emotional strengths and needs and achieve better outcomes for all students.

“This is an exciting milestone for xSEL Labs,” said company Founder and President Clark McKown. “We believe in 7 Mindsets’ vision for bringing together Tier I instruction, Tier II and Tier III intervention, and assessment. This is a combination that is greater than the sum of the parts, and I’m excited about what we can do together. Having 7 Mindsets, BASE, and xSEL Labs under one roof, we can offer fantastic assessment and instructional resources individually or together in ways that flexibly meet the needs of our district partners.”

7 Mindsets is a portfolio company of Gauge Capital. xSEL Labs marks the company’s third acquisition since Gauge’s investment in December 2021. In addition to its acquisition of BASE Education earlier this month, the company acquired the Better Together adult SEL program in August 2022.

To learn more about 7 Mindsets, visit www.7mindsets.com.

7 Mindsets
Founded in 2009, 7 Mindsets is a comprehensive social-emotional learning and mental health solution provider for schools and districts across the country, offering high-quality, multi-tiered SEL instruction that supports teaching, learning, and student success. The company’s flexible and highly effective programs have been shown to improve student engagement, behavior, and academic success, and have been used by over 5 million students and educators in all 50 states. Find out more at www.7mindsets.com.

About xSEL Labs
xSEL Labs partners with K-12 schools and districts across the country to assess and address social and emotional learning (SEL) outcomes. xSEL Labs’ core assessment, SELweb, is a reliable and easy-to-use direct assessment of the social and emotional competencies that are reflected in the CASEL framework, state standards, and evidence-based SEL programs. For more information, please visit www.xsel-labs.com

Source: 7 Mindsets

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