K-12 Dealmaking: IXL Acquires Emmersion; GiveCampus Raises $50M

Staff Writer
K-12 dealmaking, edweek market brief

IXL Learning acquired language assessment platform Emmersion, in the former company’s seventh acquisition in the past five years as it continues to expand its suite of language-focused products.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Emmersion’s adaptive placement exam, WebCAPE, is used by education institutions and organizations to assess users’ knowledge of seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, and Russian.

The acquisition follows IXL’s purchase of Curiosity Media in June, Rosetta Stone in March 2021, Wyzant in February, 2021, Vocabulary.com in March 2020, Education.com in November 2019, and ABCya in October 2018.

“Emmersion’s adaptive technology and automated exams are unrivaled,” IXL Learning CEO Paul Mishkin said in a statement. “The Emmersion team will be a valuable addition to our family and we expect to make more investments in the company as we expand to additional languages and capabilities.”

Fundraising platform secures $50 million from private equity firm. GiveCampus, a fundraiser platform designed for K-12 schools and higher-education institutions, raised $50 million in funding from Boston-based private equity firm Silversmith Capital Partners.

The financing also included participation from investors including Michael Seibel from Y Combinator, which GiveCampus participated in in 2015, as well as Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson and Mike Volpe, a founding team member of HubSpot.

Silversmith now maintains a minority interest in GiveCampus, which was founded in 2014 to provide non-profit educational institutions with digital options to engage with donors and reduce friction in the giving process.

The company reports facilitating more than $2 billion in gifts to schools, colleges, and universities and having a revenue run rate of $20 million annually.

The capital raise marks the first time GiveCampus has taken on significant outside funding. It raised less than $1 million from Y Combinator, family, friends, and angel investors in 2015.

The new funding is aimed at fueling the company’s growth and adding new capabilities, data, and insights into its platform, Co-founder and CEO Kestrel Linder said in a statement.

“From the start, we sought to build a sustainable business that prioritizes long-term success and value creation,” he said. “That’s why we’re thrilled to have Silversmith as our first institutional investor. As we have gotten to know the Silversmith team over several years, it’s become clear they share our belief in capital efficiency and long-term outcomes. Silversmith brings deep experience working with software and payments businesses that will be invaluable as we begin our next phase of growth.”

Finalsite acquires Blackboard K-12 division. Anthology sold its Blackboard K-12 Community Engagement division to Finalsite, a Connecticut-based company that provides website and communications services for K-12 school districts.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Blackboard’s K-12 Community Engagement division includes its online community manager as well as its communication-focused apps and services for K-12 school districts. With the deal, Finalsite will be able to add additional communications services to its offerings for K-12 schools, Finalsite Founder and CEO Jon Moser said in a statement.

“This acquisition brings together the brightest minds in K-12 edtech, accelerating transformative improvements in everything from our product development to our customer service. Together, we will elevate school-to-home engagement and improve outcomes for schools – and learners – globally.”

By selling Blackboard K-12, Anthology said it will be able to continue to invest in Blackboard Learn Ultra, Anthology Student, and other areas of its business.

Edlio acquires SchoolInfo. Edlio scooped up SchoolInfo, maker of mobile apps for K-12 schools, in another deal that brings together two digital communications companies in the K-12 space.

Edlio said adding SchoolInfo’s capabilities will help round out its current suite of products for K-12 districts, which includes a website management platform; email, text, and voice communications; and a payment processing system.

Edlio Founder and CEO Ali Arsan said acquiring SchoolInfo will allow it to offer clients SchoolInfo’s Access app, which includes two-way communication, security features, and direct mobile access to school information.

The acquisition means Edlio will now be able to provide “a robust app that is branded to [clients’] school’s colors and logo,” Arsan said in a statement, but that more importantly, the app “will increase their opportunities to engage students, staff, families, and community members.”

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