K-12 Dealmaking: Pearson Gets Back in Acquisition Game; Guild Ed. Raises $157M; NeighborSchools Pulls In Seed Funding

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In the latest dealmaking news, Pearson, in its first acquisition in three years, has snapped up data and analytics company Lumerit Education. The workforce training company Guild Education raises another $157 million and now says its valuation tops $1 billion. And the early education software company NeighborSchools has pulled in $3.5 million in seed funding.

Pearson makes acquisition with data analytics in mind. Pearson has acquired data and analytics company Lumerit Education, a company that seeks to provide flexible, online college courses from different higher education institutions to help students complete college degrees affordably in the consumer and corporate markets.

Lumerit uses data analytics to match learner profiles to academic programs in an attempt to personalize the learning process.

A Pearson spokesman said the deal was the company’s first acquisition of any kind in three years. The deal puts the value of Lumerit at $29 million, according to an announcement from Pearson.

Pearson plans to use Lumerit’s technology to boost the growth of its Accelerated Pathways business, which works with employers to deliver education programs that improve employees’ skills and knowledge.

“Pearson is committed to making education more affordable and accessible in all phases of life so that anyone with a desire to learn can have the opportunity to obtain the skills necessary to build a successful career,” said John Fallon, chief executive officer at Pearson. “Lumerit’s team has had tremendous success opening doors to education by offering flexible and personalized learning that works no matter if you have a full-time job, are a single parent, are an 18-year old just out of high school, or even a combination of these.”

In the last few years, Pearson has shifted its focus away from the U.S. K-12 marketplace, selling its K-12 curriculum business to an investment firm, and declaring the company will go “digital first” in its college materials, rather than creating them in print. The company is also looking closely at the adult education market—a Pearson survey released in October found that 20 percent of workers across 19 countries have had to “upskill” their jobs through education over the past two years because some part of their work duties has been automated.

Spring Branch, Texas-based Lumerit’s 70 employees will join Pearson’s Online Learning Services business, working with the Accelerated Pathways team. The company has served more than 24,000 students across the U.S. and in 48 countries, taking into account student learning styles, goals, available time, budget, as well as important life situations to help them graduate.

“Lumerit has built an organization dedicated to using technology to serve students from all backgrounds and at all points in their lives,” said Ryan Yamane, co-founder and president of Lumerit. “There is no better way for us to continue to build on this success than by combining our incredible talent and innovation with the reach and resources of Pearson.”

Guild Education Raises Series D financing, tops $1 billion valuation. Guild Education, a company focused on providing workforce training, announced that it closed a Series D financing round worth $157 million.

The financing round was led by General Catalyst; its chairman and managing director, Ken Chenault, led the investment and joined Guild’s board of directors, the company said in an announcement.

The new funding now puts Guild’s value at $1 billion, the company said, making it one of only a few female-led companies this year to earn a valuation hitting that mark.

Fundamentally, education creates opportunity: 88 million Americans are in need of reskilling and upskilling in order to compete in the future of work, 64 million of whom have yet to complete college. Guild Education is focused on expanding opportunities through education for these individuals—America’s workforce.

“Ken and I share a deeply held belief that today’s leading CEOs are uniquely capable of driving social change around the world, but most importantly within their own company, for their employees and their families,” Rachel Carlson, Guild Education’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

Guild Education has worked with corporations such as Walmart, Lowe’s, The Walt Disney Company, Discover Financial, and Chipotle, to give their employees education programs, including access to accredited universities.

NeighborSchools pulls in seed funding. The software company, which helps home daycare providers with licensing and operational support, raised $3.5 million in seed funding.

It was a financing round led by venture capital firm Accomplice, with Tuhaye Venture Partners and World Within also participating.

NeighborSchools was founded in 2018 and is based in Boston. It seeks to help childcare providers “launch and sustainably operate licensed home daycares and helping parents identify trusted home daycare providers in their neighborhood.”

The company says that as childcare professionals struggle to make a living, with many earning below minimum wage, it aims to help daycare providers create sustainable licensed home daycares.

“We created NeighborSchools to empower people passionate about working with children to become small business owners,” said Bridget Garsh, co-founder and COO of NeighborSchools, in a statement.

“By supporting them, we are increasing access to affordable, high-quality childcare for parents everywhere. Children get the individualized care they deserve, parents pay a lot less than they would at a large, corporate center, and Providers can earn a living wage doing what they love.”


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