The investment company Weld North Holdings LLC today announced its acquisition of Performance Matters, a student assessment and data analytics company that it will merge with Truenorthlogic, a K-12 ed-tech business focused on continuous educator improvement.
The move will give Truenorthlogic, which provides data on teachers’ performance and tracks their professional development, the ability to take student assessment results and combine them with educator performance data on one platform, using an analytics engine to surface information and trends.
“The platform combines teacher and student data so principals can manage schools better,” said Jonathan Grayer, Weld North’s chairman and CEO, in a phone interview. Previously, Grayer was CEO of Kaplan, the education company that grew into a $2 billion business over his 14-year tenure.
While terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the combined acquisition and merger will result in doubling the size of Truenorthlogic’s revenues and staff, according to Grayer. The company’s 2015 revenues have not been made public, but its 2014 revenues of $11.9 million were reported to Inc. magazine, which ranked Truenorthlogic 2,345th on its Inc. 5000 list last year. The Sandy, Utah-based business has appeared on the list of the fastest-growing private companies for the past eight years,
Since Weld North acquired Truenorthlogic in 2014, Grayer said his investment firm has been looking to marry the data it already collects on teachers with data on how students perform, and provide that solution to districts using a SaaS (Software as a Service) subscription-based business model.
Performance Matters, which was founded in 2003, provides comprehensive, integrated solutions for formative assessment, data management, and analytics. K-12 educators use the company’s Unify product to author instructional materials and administer assessments. Performance Matters gives educators the tools to analyze student data from multiple sources, including assessment data, to improve teaching and learning. “We are very excited to be joining Truenorthlogic so that our shared customers can now answer the most important question among educators: ‘What are we doing effectively and what can we do better to ensure all students are receiving the best possible educational opportunities?’” said Woody Dillaha, CEO and co-Founder of Performance Matters, in a statement.
Based in Winter Park, Fla., Performance Matters has the bulk of its customers in its home state. “Together, we serve 10 of the top 20 school districts in the country, and have over 1,000 clients together,” said Alia Jackson, vice president of marketing and client adoption for Truenorthlogic.
Grayer cited the December passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act as promoting the use of data for tracking teacher performance and student achievement, and said its focus on state and local control is about “empowering local school buildings in how they manage their business.”
At the same time, he said the use of data so teachers can be evaluated by how students do in the classroom can be “politicized.” The question is, Grayer said: “Once you have the information, what do you do with it? Is it used as a management tool to help improve the teacher in the classroom? Is it used for pay scales, or is it used to identify which curriculum is working or not?”
Asked how quickly Weld North is expecting a return on the acquisition and merger, Grayer said, “Like any investor, we do seek the monetization of our efforts. But we are in a very long-term mentality here. Our industry requires it,” he said.
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