xSEL Labs

Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

“The Cherry Tree team provided the advice, counsel, and support we needed during the sale process. They were involved throughout diligence and negotiations, helping us get the right deal closed with the right partner. Their hard work, expertise and leadership were integral to our successful outcome.”

— Clark McKown, xSEL Labs Founder and President

K-12 Education, EdTech
Research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments for K-12 schools
Evanston, IL
Sale to PE-Backed Strategic Buyer


xSEL Labs announced that it has been acquired by 7 Mindsets, a portfolio company of Gauge Capital. xSEL Labs’ core assessments directly measure students’ social and emotional learning strengths and needs, helping educators decide what to teach to whom, and measure student learning in response to instruction. The acquisition strengthens 7 Mindsets’ offering of high-quality, multi-tiered SEL instruction and assessment supporting teaching, learning, and student success.

“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. 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.”

xSEL marks 7 Mindsets’ third acquisition since Gauge’s investment in December 2021. In addition to the acquisition of BASE Education earlier in 2023, 7 Mindsets acquired the Better Together adult SEL program in August 2022.

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree was engaged to advise xSEL Labs and its shareholders on the completion of its transaction with 7 Mindsets. The objectives were to maximize shareholder value and terms of a transaction, while managing an efficient closing process. Cherry Tree’s role included 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 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.

About 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. For more information, please visit www.7mindsets.com.

About Cherry Tree & Associates

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1980, it specializes in M&A transactions for both buyers and sellers of middle market companies. Additionally, it conducts private placements for attractive, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services to CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services.

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