K-12 Dealmaking: Lincoln Learning Acquires Evan-Moor; ETS Teams With LearnLaunch to Fund Startups

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, Lincoln Learning, a nonprofit online learning and support service organization, acquired supplemental education materials provider Evan-Moor. Pitsco Education sold off a portion of its business to NOLA Education. Also, assessments provider ETS and LearnLaunch have joined forces to fund ed-tech startups.

Lincoln Learning Solutions Acquires Evan-Moor: Lincoln Learning Solutions, a Rochester, Pa.-based nonprofit online learning and support service organization, has acquired Evan-Moor Corporation, a provider of supplemental education materials, for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

The Evan-Moor digital assets will be incorporated into Lincoln Learning Solution’s existing, standards-aligned curriculum, Lincoln Empowered and Empowered Digital Content Library. Lincoln Learning said in the statement that the company “believes that integrating the Evan-Moor digital content and services into its product line will further its ability to deliver best-in-class solutions to a wider range of students.”  

Evan-Moor will continue to publish materials for classrooms, homeschools, and at-home practice, operating out of its corporate headquarters in Monterey, California.

“Together our products and services will bring innovative and creative learning tools to countless children,” said William Evans, CEO of Evan-Moor, who will remain in his role.

Bob Clements, CEO of Lincoln Learning said the short- and long-term sales potential provided by the acquisition is important, “but so is the fact that each company shares a common vision and a simple, straightforward mission.”

“The purchase supports LLS’s strategy of investing in products and solutions that deliver the strongest scenarios for successful student outcomes and high achievement,” Clements noted.

ETS, LearnLaunch Collaborate to Fund Startups: Assessments provider Educational Testing Service (ETS) and LearnLaunch Accelerator are collaborating to fund ed-tech startups, according to a statement.

This collaboration “will substantially increase the resources that startups selected by the accelerator program will receive to help them reach their growth goals,” the statement said.

LearnLaunch Accelerator is for early-stage startups, with the aim of investing in the most promising education entrepreneurs worldwide. It is currently accepting applications through June 10 at 11:59 p.m.

ETS noted that while it remains committed to providing assessments, research and related services, this initiative provides another avenue for ETS to “use its considerable resources to positively impact the future of education,” the company explained.

“ETS’s work has evolved over time as the needs of our many stakeholders have changed. This is the next phase in our evolution,” said Scott Weaver, ETS’s chief strategy officer. “Our research has always supported innovation and informed education policy. The marriage of ETS’s research-driven portfolio and LearnLaunch’s agile startups can create a world of new possibilities for using technology to achieve better educational outcomes.”

Added Jean Hammond, co-founder and general partner of LearnLaunch Accelerator.: “Our goal is to promote the growth and development of the ed-tech sector and this partnership further enables us to expand our domain expertise and offer really unique support to our entrepreneurs.”

Pitsco Education Sells Part of Business to NOLA Education: In an effort to fine-tune its focus on hands-on STEM, robotics, and careers, Pittsburg, Kan.-based Pitsco Education has sold its Star Academy program and core math and science curricula to NOLA Education, LLC, of New Orleans.

The move is strategic for both companies as they seek to align with their areas of expertise to extend engaging hands-on educational opportunities to more students across the country, according to a statement. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Pitsco says its strengths lie in K-9 STEM education, as well as STEAM (adding arts to “science, technology, engineering and math), as well as STREAM (which ties in reading,) as well as robotics and coding.

Last March, we wrote about how Pitsco Education partnered with KUBO Robotics. In the meantime, NOLA is focused on dropout prevention and will continue to sell Pitsco’s other proprietary solutions as a dealer in Mississippi and South Carolina.

NOLA Education CEO John Alvendia has sold Pitsco programs for nearly a decade with primary emphasis on spreading the Star Academy dropout intervention solution in several states. Robin White-Mussa, formerly of Pitsco and now vice president of NOLA, has helped shape and sell the Star Academy program since its inception in 2006, the joint release said.

“We are passionate about serving at-risk learners and are committed to expand through new innovations and services,” Alvendia said. “We will continue to service our existing customers while focusing on growth and expansion into new states and markets.”

Pitsco President Lisa Paterni said in the statement that the sale of Star Academy and core math and science products will allow Pitsco to focus more on project-based learning solutions that are experiential while imparting foundational career skills as well as transferable soft skills including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

“We are investing in long-term growth around our areas of expertise. At the same time, we are reducing complexities to enable employees to better develop STEM-based hands-on products, activities, curriculum, and solutions that help students and teachers succeed,” Paterni said. “We know Star Academy will be in good hands with NOLA Education.”

“We’re working with Pitsco to create a transition process so that the customer is always first,” White-Mussa said. “Serving the customer is NOLA’s priority. We’re committed to classroom success, so we know we have to support teachers in the classroom to make that happen.”

Squiggle Park Raises More than $1 Million: Toronto-based Squiggle Park, an adaptive web-based learning app for children who don’t know the English language can use to start learning to read, has raised more than $1 million in funding, according to a press release posted to The PE Hub Network.

The company has raised $1,025,000 in funding to date with investors including founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music, Heather Reisman and John Montalbano, head of Royal Bank of Canada’s global asset management division, the statement noted. Squiggle Park also received business development funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Ontario Centre of Excellence and completed a friends and family round.

The funding will be used to invest in the growth of the company, including product development and international expansion, the company noted.

Squiggle Park is made up of bite-sized games designed by teachers, researchers, and gamers “to lead young learners down a path of mastery of their foundational reading skills.”

Cengage Selects Chegg to Manage Free Rental Program: Education and technology company Cengage has selected Santa Clara, Calif.-based learning platform Chegg to manage the free rental program of Cengage Unlimited, beginning in August, Boston-based Cengage said in a statement.

“By working together with Chegg—a long-standing partner with one of the strongest student brands in education—we can ensure a positive and seamless student experience while quickly accelerating operations,” said Todd Markson, chief strategy officer at Cengage. “Working with Chegg will enable us to focus our efforts on delivering affordable access to high-quality digital learning to a greater number of students. At the same time, this partnership allows us to maintain our high customer service standards with all customers.”

Beginning in August, if a Cengage Unlimited subscriber wants a print rental, it will be fulfilled by Chegg.  Cengage Unlimited rental customers will be directed to a Chegg representative for support.

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