K-12 Dealmaking: Fusion Education, HopSkipDrive Raise Funds

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, private school operator Fusion Education Group and HopSkipDrive, a ride service for kids, received investments.

Fusion Education Receives Investment: Fusion Education Group, an operator of private middle and high schools that touts its ability to offer individualized education, received an investment from New York-based Leeds Equity Partners, according to a statement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Leeds Equity has unmatched sector experience, an excellent track record and a far-reaching network that will greatly benefit Fusion as we continue to pursue our vision of building the leading national network of private schools that deliver best-in-class education through our one student-one teacher approach,” said Peter Ruppert, CEO of Fusion.

“We are strong believers in the efficacy of Fusion’s offering as well as its ability to meet the vast underserved need for personalized education. We look forward to supporting Pete and his team as the Company enters its next stage of growth,” said Carter Harned, managing director of Leeds Equity Partners.

Fusion classrooms have one student and one teacher, “allowing a personalized approach to each student’s unique emotional and academic needs,” according to the company. The company operates in 43 campuses in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington, DC. 

HopSkipDrive Raises $7.4 Million: Children’s ride service HopSkipDrive closed a $7.4 million strategic funding round led by Student Transportation Inc., a provider of school transportation, safety and fleet services throughout North America.

Existing investors including FirstMark Capital, Upfront Ventures, and other insiders, as well as new investors Skyview Capital and Halogen Ventures also participated in the investment.

The Los Angeles-based company said the funds will be used “to help HopSkipDrive accelerate growth in new and existing markets and scale its operations to meet an ever growing demand as busy families need help getting kids to school, to after-school activities and back home,” according to a statement.

As part of this investment, Denis J. Gallagher, chairman and CEO of STI, will join HopSkipDrive’s board of directors and will work with the rideshare company to rapidly scale its partnerships with schools in new markets, HopSkipDrive noted.

IK Investment Partners to Acquire Studienkreis: European private equity firm IK Investment Partners has agreed to acquire Studienkreis GmbH, a provider of tutoring services for primary and secondary school students in Germany from asset manager Aurelius, according to an announcement.

IK Small Cap I fund, which is advised by IK Investment Partners, will purchase Studentkreis For EUR 71.7 million.

“We now embark on the next phase of our growth trajectory with the support from IK and I’m truly excited for the opportunity to even better service our students,” said Lorenz Haase, CEO of Studienkreis said in a statement.

Studienkreis operates a network of over 1,000 learning centers, offering small group tutoring to primary and secondary school students across Germany, covering all common subjects as well as special preparatory courses for pre-graduation exams.

KKR Partners With Code First: Girls: Investment firm KKR has formed a partnership with Code First: Girls to support the London-based notprofit social enterprise organization’s campaign, which aims to train 20,000 women to code by the end of 2020.

KKR said it will provide a “significant yearly financial commitment” throughout the course of the campaign, in addition to leveraging its global resources, network and portfolio of companies to provide operational and logistical support for the program’s roll-out of community courses.

“KKR is a major tech investor both in the U.K. and around the world, so we know firsthand how important technology is to the future success and prosperity of the U.K. and Europe,” said Jean-Pierre Saad, director in KKR’s TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications) team in London said in a statement. “More generally, coding is becoming an increasingly important skill that should be available equally to all, regardless of gender. We are hence delighted to partner with a pioneering organization like Code First: Girls and support them in tackling gender diversity in tech which we believe will drive better outcomes for businesses and our communities.”

The partnership with Code First: Girls is the latest initiative born out of KKR’s citizenship efforts as part of the firm’s continued focus on inclusion and diversity, which began with KKR’s Inclusion and Diversity Council (IDC) founded in 2014.

In May, KKR formed a partnership and provided a “significant financial commitment” to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that encourages middle and high school girls to pursue careers in computer science and close the gender gap in technology,

Google Partners With Pluralsight, Udacity: Google has formed a partnership with learning platform Pluralsight and online degree and credentialing program Udacity to train developers and students across India, according to press reports.

Google will fund 130,000 scholarships – 100,000 on the Pluralsight platform and 30,000 on Udacity. The scholarship aims to help students gain access to advanced learning curriculum and further their employability in mobile and web development, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud platforms, according to reports.

Edmodo Partners With Clever: Global education network Edmodo has formed a partnership with Clever, a San Francisco-based data integration tool, to offer teachers, students and parents “immediate access” to fully rostered digital classrooms, the company said in a statement.

“With Clever, a district can provide all their teachers pre-rostered classrooms in Edmodo,” said Vibhu Mittal, CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based Edmodo. “Teachers can then instantly use Edmodo to discover the best resources—whether that’s from their Google Drive or a fellow teacher in their Edmodo network—and deliver those resources to their classes in a differentiated, social, highly engaging way.”

Michelson Runway Ed-Tech Accelerator Accepting Applications: The Michelson 20MM Foundation is now accepting applications for its ed-tech accelerator, Michelson Runway.

The application is open through January 5, 2018. Selected startups can receive up to $150,000 in equity investment, with the possibility of an additional $150K in follow-on funding. The program was founded thanks to the support of philanthropist Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson.

The four-month hybrid, virtual program is designed to support ed-tech innovators in developing creative solutions for improving equity, access, and efficacy in higher education and career training.

Michelson Runway is heading into its second programmatic year after an inaugural program, which included startups such as Motimatic, ReUp Education, Pragya Systems, and more. To date, Motimatic, the first automatic motivational support system that aims to improve outcomes for students, has gone on to raise $3.4 million in Series A funding.

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


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