Paradigm Education Solutions

Paradigm Education Solutions

Paradigm Education Solutions

Cherry Tree advises Paradigm Education Solutions:

“The Cherry Tree team leveraged their understanding of the education market and competitive landscape to find a great home for the Paradigm business. We are thankful to Chad Johnson and the entire team for the time, effort and care they put into managing this process on our behalf, and look forward to partnering with them again in the future”

Daniel Schwartz, Principal, CIP Capital

INDUSTRY:
Education
DESCRIPTION:
Nationwide Provider of Post-Secondary Print and Digital Learning Solutions and Courseware
LOCATION:
St. Paul, MN
TRANSACTION TYPE:
100% Sale to Strategic Buyer

Situation

In March 2018, CIP Capital acquired New Mountain Learning, a holding company that consisted of K-12 business (EMC School) and higher education business (Paradigm Education Solutions). In September 2018, CIP Capital merged New Mountain Learning with Carnegie Learning. Paradigm was subsequently spun out as a separately operated business and the decision was made to sell the business due to strategic fit.

Cherry Tree’s Personalized Solution

Cherry Tree leveraged its education experience and network of potential buyers and worked closely with the owners and management team to create a competitive sale process that resulted in a favorable outcome for themselves, the employees and the customers. It was especially important to the owners that the process be swift and without disruption to either Paradigm or Carnegie Learning. Cherry Tree’s customized process included introductions and discussions with numerous potential acquirers in marketing the opportunity, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

Outcome

The marketing process generated a broad interest from several strategic and financial partners. Paradigm was sold to Kendall Hunt Publishing Co., a proven leader in academic publishing for K-12 and Higher Education markets, who plans to leverage Paradigm’s offerings, technology platform and customer base for accelerated growth in higher education.  

About Paradigm Education Solutions

Paradigm Education Solutions is a leading provider of educational technology solutions. They prepare traditional and post-traditional students to achieve the requisite digital literacy skill and career knowledge needed to enter the workforce, reskill, upskill and succeed as professionals. With a focus on contextualized, competency-based learning, Paradigm’s digitally driven solutions are flexible and adaptive to give students the power to learn anytime, anywhere.

About Kendall Hunt Publishing

Kendall Hunt Publishing, headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, is a dynamic provider of quality educational products and services. Utilizing a collaborative, solutions-based approach, Kendall Hunt partners with educators to develop affordable content tailored to meet students’ needs. Through a combination of superior service, innovative technology applications and an exceptional content library, Kendall Hunt delivers proven results for both educators and students.

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. For more information, visit Cherry Tree & Associates.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Troxell

Troxell

Cherry Tree provided strategic advisory services to Troxell

About Troxell

Established in 1946 and headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Troxell is the nation’s leading end-to-end solution provider for technology and collaborative solutions in K-12 and higher ed. With 65 offices nationwide, they combine large-scale purchasing power with the high-touch, consultative approach of a local specialist. Troxell-CDI has more than 70 offices nationwide providing product knowledge and personalized customer service with on-site expertise for every area of a school.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

FastBridge

FastBridge

FastBridge Learning

Cherry Tree advises FastBridge Learning

Transaction Description

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 www.fastbridge.org.

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 www.illuminateed.com.

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.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Flipgrid

Flipgrid

Flipgrid

Cherry Tree Advises Flipgrid

Transaction Description

Microsoft acquired Flipgrid, a rapidly growing provider of an engaging video-based social learning platform used in 180 countries by more than 20 million pre-kindergarten to Ph.D.-level educators, students and families. The Flipgrid platform promotes learner engagement through social media features such as video sharing, while supporting organized educational and learning workflows. Microsoft is a global leader in software and technology, and in serving the needs of educators, students, and corporate users through numerous teaching and learning solutions including Office360 Education. Cherry Tree & Associates served as exclusive investment banking advisor to Flipgrid in the transaction, and Faegre Baker Daniels served as their legal counsel.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was retained by Flipgrid to advise the Board of Directors on their strategic alternatives, after they had received several inquiries from potential strategic acquirors. It was important to Founders Jim Leslie, Charlie Miller, and Phil Soran that any outcome be in the best interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, and employees of the company, while protecting their unique position in the market driven by enthusiastic users, and not disrupting their rapid growth. Cherry Tree advised the company through a process that included discussions with numerous potential acquirers and venture capital investors, highlighting the main reasons for Flipgrid’s rapid growth and unique position as a learning platform, and subsequently soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting the due diligence process, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

About the Flipgrid and Microsoft Education Combination

“We’re thrilled to see the impact Flipgrid has had in social learning thus far and look forward to helping them continue to thrive as part of the Microsoft family,” said Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president for Microsoft. “We’re diligently committed to making sure their platform and products continue to work across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems to benefit students and teachers everywhere.” Like Office 365 Education software, Microsoft will also be making Flipgrid free for schools so it’s easy for any school to utilize the software. Customers who’ve purchased a subscription from Flipgrid will receive a prorated refund.

Flipgrid was created in 2015 with a mission of empowering educators as they help students define their voices, share their voices and respect the diverse voices of others. That mission aligns with that of Microsoft, which aims to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft sees Flipgrid as an effective tool to help teachers and students build social emotional skills beyond traditional curricula – skills the company’s recent research says will be required in 30 to 40 percent of the fastest-growing occupations.

In joining Microsoft, Flipgrid will retain its distinct brand, culture and team that is focused on amplifying the voices of all students. Expanding Flipgrid’s accessibility across the global educator community, the company will also align with Microsoft’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)- and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)-compliant privacy architecture to ensure Flipgrid continues to be a safe, secure place for students and teachers to communicate.

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.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Creative Learning Case Study

Creative Learning Case Study

Creative Learning

Cherry Tree Advises Creative Learning Systems

“We were extremely happy with the job Cherry Tree did advising us in the sale of a majority stake in our business. Their process led to a higher valuation than other advisors told us to expect, and most importantly they never lost focus on our personal goals and our desire to ensure a good outcome for all stakeholders. They did a great job of focusing buyers on the most attractive elements of our business, and created a competitive environment that allowed us to pick a great financial partner. They also negotiated successfully through what were sometimes difficult issues, and I could tell that their relationships with decision makers and their knowledge of the market helped build credibility. We recommend Chad and Cherry Tree without reservation, especially for M&A engagements in the education markets!.”

Gary Nelson, Owner
Creative Learning Systems

Transaction Description

Creative Learning Systems sold a majority equity interest to Brass Ring Capital. Creative Learning Systems is the leading provider of engaging, turn-key STEM Labs in K-12 schools across the U.S. STEM Labs engage students in learning core 21st century skills in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Brass Ring is a private investment firm focused on partnering with leading businesses in growth markets.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was retained by Creative Learning Systems to advise the owners Gary Nelson and Matt Dickstein on their strategic alternatives, as Gary was planning his retirement. It was important to Gary and Matt any outcome protect the culture, customers, and employees of the company, while supporting their strategic plan and not disrupting their rapid growth. Cherry Tree advised the company through a process that included introductions and discussions with numerous potential acquirers and financial partners, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting the due diligence process, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

About Creative Learning Systems

Creative Learning Systems, based in Longmont, CO, is the leading provider of engaging STEM and digital media programs for elementary, middle and high schools. The company calls these fully-integrated learning environments, SmartLabs™. Since creating the first technology lab in a U.S. school in 1987, Creative Learning Systems has pioneered STEM and digital media arts programs in K-12 education. Together with its partner schools across the country, Creative Learning Systems puts technology in the hands of students and engages them with personalized, problem-based learning. Additional information about Creative Learning Systems can be found at www.creativelearningsystems.com.

About Brass Ring Capital

Brass Ring Capital, founded in 2004, is a private investment firm focused exclusively on ownership transitions and growth initiatives. Their approach targets acquisitions and recapitalizations that provide liquidity solutions for owners and resources for managers to empower promising emerging companies. Brass Ring is currently investing via its second equity fund into companies with revenue between $5 and $50 million. The Brass Ring approach to business ownership transitions is collaborative, striving to meet the goals of both business owners and managers. Throughout the firm’s history it has demonstrated an ability to close deals and position companies for success, and provide the necessary resources and depth of experience to grow companies post-transaction. For more information on Brass Ring, visit www.brassringcapital.com.

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.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC