K-12 Dealmaking: Thoma Bravo Acquires Frontline; Impero Gains $36 Million

Contributing Writer

Frontline Education, a provider of administrative software to 12,000 educational organizations across the U.S., has been acquired by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo; in addition, UK-based Impero Software, which produces remote monitoring and management technology, has raised $36.3 million from Investcorp Technology Partners.

Thoma Bravo Acquires Frontline Education: San Francisco-based private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo has acquired Frontline Education for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement from both companies.

The transaction is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2017. Insight Venture Partners, a prior investor in Frontline, will retain a minority stake in the company.

Malvern, Pa.-based Frontline provides administrative and HR software solutions to educational organizations across America. Frontline has approximately 650 employees in five locations around the U.S. The acquisition by Thoma Bravo, whose series of funds represent more than $17 billion in capital commitments,  is not expected to change the corporate headquarters, management team or employee base of the company, the companies noted.

“We are a company of people passionately devoted to K-12 education, and our partnership with Thoma Bravo will allow us to become even more valuable to educators, school districts, communities and, most importantly, students,” said Tim Clifford, president and CEO of Frontline Education.

On behalf of the acquirer, Holden Spaht, a Thoma Bravo managing partner, said, “We look forward to supporting the company’s growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, while maintaining the high level of customer service for which Frontline is known.”

Frontline most recently acquired School Improvement Network, a professional growth provider for education; the acquisition was Frontline’s tenth overall and the second this year. In April, the company acquired Teachers-Teachers, a national job search resource that connects educators with school systems.

Impero Raises $36.3 Million: Nottingham, UK-based Impero Software has raised $36.3 million from Investcorp Technology Partners, according to a statement from Impero.

The company, which also has an office in Los Angeles, noted that “following a management buy-out by Connection Capital in 2014, Impero has undergone a transformation to professionalize the business, strengthen the management team, establish growth in overseas territories and build an impressive market share and leadership position in the UK.”

Impero Software offers remote monitoring and management software, sold to education establishments around the world. Founded in 2002, Impero software is now accessed by over 1.5 million devices in over 90 countries. Impero is used by over 1,400 U.K. high schools and in over 500 U.S. districts.

“Working with Investcorp Technology Partners not only allows us to accelerate our business plans, it opens new doors in terms of partnerships, opportunities and geographical reach,” said Sam Pemberton, CEO of Impero.

ACT Invests $10.5 Million in New Markets Venture Partners: Nonprofit college and career readiness organization ACT has made a $10.5 million strategic investment in New Markets Venture Partners, an education-focused fund that focuses on identifying and scaling businesses committed to improving educational outcomes for millions of students across the K-12 and postsecondary spectrum, according to a statement.

With ACT’s support, the 10-year fund “will invest in education companies with proven models of success across the early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education landscape,” according to the statement, which noted that the fund also intends to back emerging approaches to workforce development, hiring and training at a time when skills and equity gaps challenge employers.

ACT will be the largest strategic investor in the new fund, which recently named former Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Deputy Director Jason Palmer as general partner. Other investors include the Lumina Foundation, Strada Education Network, ECMC Group and Prudential Financial.

Earlier this year, ACT announced plans to invest in ProExam, a not-for-profit organization focused on noncognitive assessment and professional credentialing, with an eye toward a merger between the two organizations in 2018.

Sawyer Raises $6 Million: Children’s activities platform Sawyer has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by Advance Venture Partners, according to a statement on The PE Hub Network. Others contributing to the round include Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, 3311 Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Female Founders Fund in addition to others from the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company’s seed round.

“With this new injection of capital and investors, we will rapidly scale our software into new markets and build out our team,” the company said. “Sawyer is committed to giving all children access to great educational activities, working with under-served communities to bring more educational opportunities to families that wouldn’t normally get this access.”

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

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