K-12 Dealmaking: Hero K12, BV Acquire SchoolMint; Brainly Raises Funds

Contributing Writer

This week’s roundup of dealmaking news leads with Hero K12 and BV Investment Partners acquiring SchoolMint, a provider of cloud-based student enrollment and school choice systems.

Also, ed-tech startups Brainly and Galvanize have raised additional funding, and Canadian educational publisher NELSON continues forming partnerships with foreign education companies looking for a foothold in Canada.

Hero K12 and BV Investment Partners Acquire SchoolMint: Student behavior management app Hero K12 and BV Investment Partners have acquired SchoolMint, a provider of cloud-based student enrollment and school choice systems for PreK-12 district, charter, and independent schools, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hero K12 called SchoolMint “a clear example of Hero K12 and BV’s investment strategy, focusing on applications to improve school operational efficiencies.”

Mark MacDonald, the CEO of Hero K12, said his organization was enthused about the deal, “given SchoolMint’s unique positioning at the start of the student’s journey.”

“Supporting the student’s journey with Hero K12’s impact on a more positive school culture will be a great benefit to our shared customers,” he added.

“Joining the EdTech Platform enables us to continue our mission, gaining resources to help us scale and reach more families, in more communities, nationwide,” said Jinal Jhaveri, co-founder and CEO of SchoolMint.

Hero K12 received a $150 million investment from BV last June shortly after unveiling a new growth initiative of investments, acquisitions, and integrations of early and mid-stage education technology companies.

Brainly Raises $14 Million: Brainly, a peer-to-peer learning platform for students, has closed a $14 million funding round led by Kulczyk Investments, according to an announcement on The PE Hub Network. Previous investors Naspers, General Catalyst, Point Nine Capital, and Runa Capital also participated.

“Now fueled by additional funding from Kulczyk Investments, Brainly will further
accelerate global growth and expand its product team, which will focus on developing new personalized learning features for the Brainly platform,” the company said in the statement.

The investment from Kulczyk Investments brings Brainly’s total funding to $38.5 million since the company’s inception in 2009.

Sebastian Kulczyk, CEO of Kulczyk Investments, said Brainly “perfectly fits into our VC strategy.”

“They have a great team and product, and are positioned to have great global development potential,” Kulczyk said. “We share a fascination with modern technology and a vision to continually create value out of our partnership.”

In July 2016, Krakow, Poland-based Brainly acquired OpenStudy, a peer-to-peer study help platform. Earlier that year, Brainly raised $15 million in a Series B funding round led by Naspers, an Internet and entertainment group based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Galvanize Raises $7 Million: Technology training company Galvanize has raised $7 million in a funding round led by existing investors ABS Capital Partners and University Ventures.

The funding “will be used to fulfill strong demand for Galvanize’s consumer and enterprise focused-technology education and training programs,” according to the Denver-based company.

Last year, Galvanize raised $45 million in a Series B funding round also led by ABS Capital Partners.

Paul Mariani, general partner with ABS Capital and Galvanize board director said “we have seen Galvanize’s growing engagement with Fortune 500 companies and believe that offers the Company significant opportunity to partner on digital transformation-related efforts that require technology talent strategies and solutions.”

GL Education, NELSON Form Partnership: UK assessment provider GL Education has signed a 10 year strategic partnership agreement with the major Canadian educational publisher NELSON.

The agreement will see “a significant expansion of GL Education’s global footprint across Canadian elementary and secondary schools,” the companies said.

As a result, NELSON will now take an exclusive role in the sales, support and marketing of a number of GL Education’s assessments, with a specific focus on reading assessments, attitudinal surveys, and screening and diagnostic assessments that identify special educational needs, according to the announcement.

“Our partnership with GL Education reaffirms NELSON’s commitment to improving outcomes for all students. Their world-class assessments are tools to address early literacy and student well-being, and to allow educators and parents a greater understanding of their students’ attitudes towards their schooling,” said Steve Brown, NELSON President and CEO. “By focusing on those students who need the most support and assessing their needs early on, we can increase educational equity in all classrooms.”

NELSON has been already helping companies in the U.S., Britain, and Australia to gain a foothold in the Canadian market.

Earlier this year, the publisher recently signed 14 deals with partners in the U.S. during a 12-week span, forging agreements with literacy products provider myON, DreamBox Learning, online math provider DreamBox Learning, and others. (See EdWeek Market Brief’s story breaking down the opportunities and challenges for companies thinking about doing business in Canada.)

itslearning Partners With Knovation: Boston-based learning management system itslearning has formed a partnership with digital content and open educational resources provider provider Knovation to give school districts using Knovation access to the Knovation Content Collection within the itslearning platform, according to a statement.

“Our partnership with itslearning will help teachers find the right content so they can devote the majority of their time to meaningful instruction with their students,” said Randy Wilhelm, CEO of Cincinnati-based Knovation in a statement.

Added Bailey Mitchell, chief academic officer at itslearning: “We partnered with Knovation in response to the market demand for expertly curated OER collections. With this partnership, we are providing teachers a seamless way to do both from one central location. Like Knovation, we strive to connect teachers to students, and students to their studies in a way that ignites a true love for learning.”

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking.


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