Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

STAR Autism

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

SafeNet logo

“Cherry Tree put incredible time and effort into this project over the last year and from my perspective went above and beyond. I sincerely appreciate the work and will be recommending Cherry Tree to anyone and everyone.”

— Jesse Arick | CEO, STAR Autism Support

INDUSTRY:
K-12 Education; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

DESCRIPTION: 
Provider of evidence-based curriculum materials, workshops, and trainings, to K-12 school districts and teachers who work with special education students, especially those with autism.

HQ LOCATION: 
Portland, OR

TRANSACTION TYPE:
Recapitalization / Sale to Financial Buyer

Situation:

In September 2023 STAR Autism Support (STAR), a leader in providing products and services that help K-12 schools serve students in special education, was recapitalized by Prairie Capital, a Chicago-based middle-market private equity firm. STAR combines research-validated, evidence-based curriculum and professional development services to drive effective and consistent instruction throughout school districts.  STAR’s system-wide implementation approach builds teaching capacity to help manage districts’ growing needs.

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree was engaged to help STAR and its shareholders identify the best partner to help the Company navigate its strong growth while maximizing shareholder value and maintaining its mission and value proposition. The Cherry Tree team advised STAR in a process that included both strategic entities as well as growth-oriented and experienced investors, where its role included preparing evaluation materials, effectively communicating the investment opportunity to potential investors and buyers, engaging with a wide range of qualified parties, soliciting proposals and negotiating attractive terms, and supporting the owners and management team through the diligence process and finalizing the definitive agreements.

About:

STAR Autism Support: STAR was founded in 2004 with the mission of helping others successfully implement research-based techniques (including applied behavior analysis), so that every child with autism can receive effective instruction. Co-founded by Dr. Joel Arick, who began working with children with autism in 1973, and Sheila Magee, a curriculum author with over 30+ years of experience in the field of special education and autism, STAR provides evidence-based curriculum materials, workshops, and training to school districts and teachers who work with students with autism. STAR has supported over 2,500 K-12 districts and continues to develop innovative solutions for all students across the autism spectrum. To learn more, visit www.StarAutismSupport.com.

Prairie Capital: Founded in Chicago in 1997, Prairie Capital is a private equity fund with a long and successful track record of scaling growth-oriented, lower middle market companies in partnership with talented founders and management teams. Since inception, Prairie has invested over $1 billion in 100+ platform companies. Prairie makes control equity investments in founder-owned companies that require company-building investments to evolve into scalable platforms capable of sustaining accelerated growth. Prairie targets companies with $4 to $12 million in EBITDA that participate in growing subsectors within education, technology, business services, consumer, healthcare, and industrial.

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 high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for 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.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises SafeNet Consulting on its Sale to Eliassen Group

Cherry Tree Advises SafeNet Consulting on its Sale to Eliassen Group

SafeNet Consulting

Cherry Tree Advises SafeNet Consulting on its Sale to Eliassen Group

SafeNet logo

“Cherry Tree did a fantastic job for me, our consultants, our customers, and the whole Company with the sale to Eliassen. They helped us get prepared, introduced us to many great potential partners, ran an organized process, and got a great deal done. I am so thankful for all that Cherry Tree accomplished for me and my people.”

—Marty Miller, Co-Founder and Shareholder, SafeNet Consulting

INDUSTRY:
IT Services

DESCRIPTION: 
Strategic Consulting and Talent Solutions

HQ LOCATION: 
Minnetonka, MN

TRANSACTION TYPE:
Sale to PE-Backed Strategic Buyer

Transaction:

SafeNet Consulting has announced that it has been acquired by Eliassen Group, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital.

SafeNet Consulting, located in Minneapolis and Milwaukee, is an IT consulting firm specializing in resolving complex business problems through technology solutions. SafeNet employs a “best-fit” approach to project staffing, ensuring alignment with customer expectations, consultant capabilities, shared values, and trust-building for successful outcomes.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was engaged to assist SafeNet Consulting in identifying the best partner to help SafeNet achieve its next phase of growth through a sale of the business, while allowing the founder to retire. Cherry Tree’s role included preparing evaluation materials, introductions, and discussions with numerous potential partners, 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 Eliassen Group:

Eliassen Group is a leading strategic consulting company that provides business, IT, and clinical services for clients as they seek to transform and execute strategies that will drive exceptional outcomes. Eliassen leverages over 30 years of success on behalf of their clients, with a focus on technology solutions, financial, risk, & compliance advisory, and clinical solutions.

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 high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for 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.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises SPARK on its Sale to Arcadea Group

Cherry Tree Advises SPARK on its Sale to Arcadea Group

SPARK

Cherry Tree Advises SPARK on its Sale to Arcadea Group

SPARK Acquired by Arcadea Group

“Cherry Tree was instrumental in keeping the various parties involved in the transaction continuously moving forward. They were able to deliver a great result for all parties involved while dealing with turbulent markets on a short timeline. I can’t imagine how the deal process would have gone without their involvement, connections, expertise and guidance.”

— Nick Elders, SPARK CEO

INDUSTRY:
Technology, Software​
DESCRIPTION: 
SaaS-based Lending Platform
HQ LOCATION: 
Minneapolis, MN
TRANSACTION TYPE:
100% Sale to Financial Buyer

Situation:

In June 2023, Arcadea Group acquired Saas-based lending platform SPARK from Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (“CRF”). SPARK was incubated within CRF more than 10 years ago and served as a vital technology tool for lenders during the PPP lending program, facilitating billions of dollars of SBA loans in 2020 through the CARES Act. Later in 2020, CRF spun SPARK out as a standalone entity, allowing the business to rapidly grow customers and revenue.  

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree was engaged to advise SPARK, its board of directors and its shareholders in identifying the best partner to help the company achieve its next phase of growth, while maximizing shareholder value. It was especially important to SPARK and CRF that the process be swift so as to not disrupt SPARK’s momentum. Cherry Tree’s customized process included introductions and discussions with numerous potential acquirors in marketing the opportunity, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

The process generated broad interest from strategic and financial partners. SPARK was sold to Arcadea Group, a Toronto-based growth equity, long-hold software investor with additional FinTech holdings and experience building profitable, high growth software companies.

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-controlled 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.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of 12 Points Consulting

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of 12 Points Consulting

Renodis

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of 12 Points Consulting

“We are thrilled to welcome the 12 Points team and its clients to our company. This acquisition, along with the recent acquisition of The Eric Ryan Corporation, will strengthen our ability to offer a variety of services to our combined clients and prospects. Our priority is to ensure the resiliency of our clients’ connectivity, advise on the right technologies, and provide best-in-class managed solutions.”

— Craig Beason, CEO and Owner of Renodis​

INDUSTRY:
Telecommunications
DESCRIPTION:
Hospitality Telecommunications Equipment and Management
Services Provider
LOCATION:
Fargo, ND
TRANSACTION TYPE:
Strategic Advisor to Acquirer

Transaction Overview

Renodis is a leading telecommunications and mobility management services company based in Saint Paul, MN. In November 2022, Renodis acquired 12 Points Consulting. The Fargo-based company is a telecommunications company that primarily works in the hospitality industry. 12 Points Consulting provides hardware equipment and installation and manages the wireline services of several hotels located in the United States for some of the largest brand names in the hospitality industry. With this strategic acquisition, Renodis will enter the hospitality industry and will be able to leverage its resources to attract larger prospects and provide additional offerings to existing customers. This acquisition follows the acquisition of Eric Ryan Corporation which allows Renodis to cross-utilize resources in growing its management services and sourcing offerings across the hospitality and energy industries.

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree served as a buy-side M&A advisor to Renodis, helping the company identify numerous acquisition targets with offerings that align with the company’s growth strategy. 12 Points was a target identified during Cherry Tree’s prospect evaluation. Throughout the process, Cherry Tree assisted Renodis with financial modeling, due diligence, and negotiation of the purchase agreement.

About Renodis:

Renodis is a connectivity technologies consulting, sourcing, and managed services firm. We help enterprises accelerate their copper-to-cloud journey resulting in less frustration from managing legacy technologies and suppliers, better utilized IT talent, and improved support experience for their offices and people. All while client experience skyrockets and IT costs are reduced. A Saint Paul, Minnesota-based company since 2002, Renodis has helped hundreds of organizations with their connectivity technology transformations. Find out more at Renodis.com.

About 12 Points Consulting:

12 Points Consulting provides, services, and supports telecom equipment and provides telecom expense management services in the hospitality industry. Based in Fargo, North Dakota since 2013, 12 Points has become a one-stop-shop for all of their clients’ facility and hardware equipment support needs, including 24/7 support. Find out more at 12PointsConsulting.com.

About Cherry Tree:

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 high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services. For more information, please visit: www.cherrytree.com.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of The Eric Ryan Corporation

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of The Eric Ryan Corporation

Renodis

Cherry Tree Advises Renodis in Acquisition of The Eric Ryan Corporation

“We are excited to welcome the ERC team and its clients to our company. This is our fifth acquisition on our continued growth journey and will expand our brand along the East Coast. Renodis’ most important priority has always been ensuring the resiliency of our clients’ connectivity, advising on the right technologies, and providing best-in-class managed solutions.”

— Craig Beason, CEO and Owner of Renodis​

INDUSTRY:
Telecommunications
DESCRIPTION:
Utility and Telecommunications Management Services Provider
LOCATION:
Ellwood City, PA
TRANSACTION TYPE:
Strategic Advisor to Acquirer

Transaction Overview

Renodis is a leading telecommunications and mobility management services company based in Saint Paul, MN. In September 2022, Renodis acquired Eric Ryan Corporation (ERC), which is headquartered in Ellwood City, PA, 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. ERC is a provider of utility and telecommunication management services. Following the transaction, ERC will be an entity under the Renodis umbrella. This transaction expands Renodis’ footprint to the East Coast and adds utility management services as a new service offering.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree served as a buy-side M&A advisor to Renodis, helping the company identify numerous acquisition targets with offerings that align with the company’s growth strategy. Renodis was a target identified during Cherry Tree’s prospect evaluation. Throughout the process, Cherry Tree assisted Renodis with financial modeling, due diligence, and negotiation of the purchase agreement.

About Renodis

Renodis is a connectivity technologies consulting, sourcing, and managed services firm. We help enterprises accelerate their copper-to-cloud journey resulting in less frustration from managing legacy technologies and suppliers, better utilized IT talent, and improved support experience for their offices and people. All while client experience skyrockets and IT costs are reduced. A Saint Paul, Minnesota-based company since 2002, Renodis has helped hundreds of organizations with their connectivity technology transformations. Find out more at Renodis.com.

About Eric Ryan Corporation

The Eric Ryan Corporation (ERC) has been in operation since 1990 providing utility and telecommunications consulting and auditing services to over 11,500 customers throughout the US and Canada. Based near Pittsburgh, PA, the company has been a leader in the hospitality industry and one of the nation’s largest and well-recognized utility and telecommunication consulting and management firms. ERC specializes in cost reduction through bill analysis, utility bill consulting, telecommunications bill consulting, rate reviews, and energy management services including energy incentives, energy rebates, and energy efficiency grants. Their telecommunication services include 24/7 help desk, cellular optimization, telecom services pricing, network design, circuit monitoring, security, and new construction management. ERC has provided cost-savings solutions for thousands of businesses in the educational, governmental, hospitality, commercial, retail, health care, non-profit, and industry sectors of the marketplace. Find out more at EricRyan.com.

About Cherry Tree

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 high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services. For more information, please visit: www.cherrytree.com.

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

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC