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Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund Announces Sale of National Research Center for College & University Admissions to Nonprofit ACT

Strategic partnership advances shared mission to support educational and workplace success

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund announced today the sale of its portfolio company The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), an educational research organization that links high school students to their “best-fit” college or university to improve graduation and workplace success. NRCCUA has been acquired by ACT, Inc., the nonprofit developer of the ACT® test and other assessments taken by millions of individuals annually worldwide. Financial details surrounding the transaction were not disclosed.

“For over forty years, we have helped connect students to colleges and universities. When we partnered with the Education Opportunity Fund, the purpose was to accelerate our growth and impact. We’ve more than delivered on that, faster than I could have possibly imagined,” said NRCCUA Chairman Don Munce.

NRCCUA was the first investment made from the Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling Partners’ first-ever sector-focused fund. Since partnering with the fund, NRCCUA has invested significantly in technology, operational talent, and strategic relationships, growing its members to more than 1,800 four-year nonprofit colleges and universities. NRCCUA also launched its Encoura™ platform, which provides advanced, data-driven enrollment management and research solutions.

“The Education Opportunity Fund has been a supportive, innovative and creative partner. We have expanded our solutions, expanded our membership base, and created new technology platforms under their ownership,” said Patrick Vogt, CEO of NRCCUA. “Our business has scaled to the point where we can strategically and successfully combine with a larger organization whose mission aligns with our own to better support students and universities.” Vogt will remain on as CEO of NRCCUA and myOptions™, a free college and career planning service. He will report directly to ACT CEO Marten Roorda.

Together, NRCCUA and ACT will offer decades of experience and expertise in delivering data science, analytics, research, measurement, and assessments to the higher-education industry. The acquisition of NRCCUA will advance ACT’s efforts to promote equity in education, especially with underserved K-12 students, while postsecondary institutions will benefit from immediate access to data and research that will enhance their marketing and recruiting efforts.

“As a relatively young fund, we’re thrilled at the success of this investment and want to thank and congratulate everyone involved,” said Sterling Partners Managing Director Shoshana Vernick. “At the Education Opportunity Fund, we continue to look for innovative leaders and ideas that will significantly improve outcomes and our partnership with NRCCUA was a perfect example.”

About Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund

Sterling Partners is a diversified investment firm committed to building high-quality companies. Its eighth private equity fund, the Education Opportunity Fund ("EOF”), was launched in partnership with Strada Education Network in April 2015. The Fund's objective is to invest in purpose-driven companies and partner with high-performing leaders that are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education landscape. The Education Opportunity Fund targets investments where it can invest $10 million to $50 million of equity capital in growth-stage, technology-relevant businesses. For more information, visit www.educationfund.sterlingpartners.com.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from elementary school through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, visit www.act.org.

About NRCCUA

The National Research Center for College and University Admissions is an educational data science and research organization serving over 1,800-member institutions comprised of public and private four-year colleges and universities across the nation. For 45 years, NRCCUA has been a leading provider of data, technology, and programs serving students, high school educators, four-year colleges and universities from its offices in Lee’s Summit, MO, Boston, MA, New York, NY, and Austin, TX. These solutions represent the link between students making important life decisions and those providing the resources and information they need to succeed in their post-secondary educations and careers. With the launch of its Encoura™ Data Lab, the company now combines data science, advanced analytics, research, predictive modeling and omnichannel enrollment services in one platform to enable institutions to make real-time strategic and operational decisions to meet their unique enrollment goals and create the highest probability of student success. For more information, visit https://www.nrccua.org or http://www.encoura.org.

Academic Programs International Partners with the Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund to Help More U.S. Students Experience Off-Campus Education and Work Programs

International opportunities prepare students for success in a global marketplace

AUSTIN, Texas & CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Academic Programs International (API) has announced a strategic partnership with the Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund. The growth investment allows API to expand its safe, high-quality education abroad programs and services to as many U.S. students as possible.

Of the nearly 20 million college-aged students in America, less than 330,000 go to another country each year to study, teach, work, intern, or volunteer. With expanded resources, API can offer universities new technology, innovative programming, and additional education products to help more students have diverse academic and cultural experiences. This allows them to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in both personal and professional opportunities in today’s global economy.

“API was founded by four women with a simple mission – to provide an education abroad experience that, as mothers, we would expect for our own children. Throughout the years, that mission and our core values have never faltered,” said API President, Executive Director and Co-Founder Jennifer Attal Allen. “With the Education Opportunity Fund, we can continue to be the best in our field, grow thoughtfully, and remain a fulfilling place to work.”

API was founded by the “Four Mamas” – Jennifer Attal Allen, Sharon Foerster, Ph.D., Julie Leitman, and Brittany Norman, in 1997. Over the last two decades, the company has helped over 40,000 students experience some form of international study, work, intern, or volunteer program. Today, API works with over 250 university affiliates, accepting students from over 1,000 schools and supporting over 4,000 students annually in their journeys through 29 countries.

With the Education Opportunity Fund, API has a committed financial and strategic partner whose experiences and expertise will help ensure the future success and expansion of its founding mission. After a proactive search to find a partner to help grow API, the organization chose the Education Opportunity Find because of its cultural fit, relevant industry experience, and strategic expertise.

“Our partnership with API is a true testament to their success and reputation,” said Shoshana Vernick, a Managing Director of the Education Opportunity Fund (who studied abroad in the Netherlands). “Together, we aim to bring advanced capabilities to the field of education abroad and to bring expanded programmatic offerings to students desirous of rewarding and practical global experiences.”

Formed in 2015, the Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund focuses on purpose-driven companies or organizations that are supporting the education system from early childhood all the way through life-long learning. If you are interested in exploring a partnership with the Education Opportunity Fund, or know of any interesting opportunities or referrals, please contact them directly.

EOF ANNOUNCEMENT

We are pleased to introduce an investment area of importance to us, as well as our relationship with Sean Bisceglia, who has been helping us research and identify prospective opportunities in the human capital management and workforce strategies space.

Panopto Featured in The Seattle Times

In his 20 years of involvement with a video-technology project, Eric Burns has learned that people want to be able to search videos the same way they search the web.

Need to find a specific quote from a Ted Talk? Want to see that part of a video where a professor discusses the geologic history of Mesopotamia? Panopto can help with that.

The Seattle company’s technology lets people create searchable videos as well as search video libraries — by what is said or shown on screen in the video.

Read more about Panopto from The Seattle Times here.

Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund Invests in Amerigo Education

Amerigo is a Leading Provider of Comprehensive and Superior Support Services for the Growing Number of International Students at American Preparatory Schools

CHICAGO – January 24, 2017 – Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund announced today its investment in Amerigo Education, a company that partners with elite American high schools to support their international students and prepare them for acceptance into selective U.S. universities. Amerigo uses an approach centered on excellent academic outcomes to ensure international students thrive both in and out of the American classroom.

The team behind Amerigo is intricately attuned to the burdens, concerns and challenges shared by many teachers and administrators who work closely with international students. After decades of combined industry experience at companies like Deltak (acquired by John Wiley & Sons in 2012), Shorelight Education, Meritas, the Cristo Rey Network and Navitas, the educators, program specialists and experts at Amerigo created a solution that emphasizes success and growth which reaches far beyond just academic and support services.   

“I am thrilled to work with a team of people and partners who are truly motivated by one mission – to provide the best experience and care for international high school students,” said Craig Pines, Chief Executive Officer at Amerigo. “We’ve created a solution that many international students desire but currently do not find at U.S. high schools – parental guidance, language-learning support, support to adjust to American community and classroom norms; the list goes on. We provide all the resources our students require to be successful in high school, college and beyond. If we and our current and future partners succeed at that, the ripple effect ultimately benefits everyone in today’s global community.”

“With emerging global economies and rising middle class wealth, the demand for high-quality education is expanding. Populations around the world are looking more and more for access to our U.S. education system,” said Jason Rosenberg, Managing Director of Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund. “The existence of Amerigo means that international students at a younger age are much better prepared for college and to survive and thrive well beyond. And as we transition to a more global community, those educational and cultural experiences Amerigo students have truly benefit everyone, regardless of where you live. We’re interested in working with leaders and companies that are transforming American education and Craig Pines at Amerigo is doing just that.” Amerigo is the third investment made out of the Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling’s first-ever sector-focused fund.

Each student at an Amerigo campus is nurtured throughout the duration of a thoughtfully designed program that creates a pathway to admittance to one of the top 200 American universities. This is done by providing a college preparatory education, English language training and cultural immersion opportunities in a safe and supportive dormitory-style residential community.

Every element of the program is focused on student outcomes and the highest level of student satisfaction. In addition, existing students at American preparatory schools benefit from the program as Amerigo fully integrates international students to create a cohesive global culture.

“We are being selective in terms of the high schools with whom we partner,” said Pines. “We are seeking partners who are committed to creating a diverse student body for the right reasons. Amerigo is committed to ensuring students achieve their academic goals, but that’s just the beginning of our mission.”

Amerigo seeks to build a strong cohort of strategic partners comprised of college preparatory schools in safe environments, with dedicated faculty and administrators who want to diversify their student body in order to move all students down the path to global education.

Comments from some Amerigo partners: 

“Lexington Catholic High School has internally managed its international student program for several years. While it has been successful, we lacked the range of support resources our students needed to thrive,” said Dr. Steve Angelucci, President of Lexington Catholic. “We have been blessed to meet the Amerigo team and incorporate their experience and resources into our school. We now have the ingredients for an exemplary support program for our international student population that we are fully confident will translate into a truly inclusive environment for all of our students. After having worked with the Amerigo staff, it now seems archaic to continue with our program without their extensive means of support. The Lexington Catholic-Amerigo relationship is one we are truly excited about. We expect it to become an integral part of who we are as a school.”

“Amerigo students will expand the opportunities for open communication with others from distinctly different cultural backgrounds and help to build cross-cultural understanding,” said Vincent J. Krydynski, President of Marian Catholic High School. “By bringing our community and international students together in the loving, caring and academically challenging environment found at Marian Catholic, young men and women will not only come to appreciate how unique they are, but perhaps more importantly, how much they are alike. Ultimately, these students will be the foundation for greater global harmony.”

About Amerigo Education

Amerigo supports international students at elite U.S. high schools with a holistic and supportive approach that emphasizes excellent academic outcomes. We help international students seeking a preparatory education in the United States thrive both in and out of the American classroom. Combining a nurturing boarding environment, supplemental academic support, English language development, and an approach oriented around successful college outcomes, Amerigo prepares students with the skills, values, and care required to succeed in high school, at the college level, and beyond. For more information, visit http://amerigoeducation.com/.

NRCCUA Acquires Leading Higher Education Research Firm Eduventures

Eduventures will expand NRCCUA’s strategic research and analytics offerings, further empowering colleges and universities with valuable student insights.

Lee’s Summit, Mo. (September 15, 2016) – The National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA), a leading provider of data and analytics solutions to public and private colleges and universities, announced today that it has acquired Eduventures. The combination will bolster NRCCUA’s offering in the areas of research, data and analytics, so that postsecondary institutions can identify, recruit, admit and serve students across the education industry and throughout the student life cycle. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Eduventures is one of the leading research and advisory firms servicing colleges and universities. Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Eduventures provides research and recommendations focused on innovations in higher education. The company’s clients, which include higher education leaders across the U.S., have access to Eduventures’ extensive research library, analytic capabilities and thought leadership events. The company also offers personalized advisory sessions that contextualize the research for the specific needs of its member institutions.

Both NRCCUA and Eduventures are aligned in their mission to deliver the research and strategic recommendations necessary for education leaders to drive innovation and compete effectively to meet the needs of today’s students and help ensure their future success.

“We are excited to welcome the Eduventures team into the NRCCUA family. The combination of our two organizations will accelerate our strategy to serve students and transform the way colleges and universities use data, find insights and take action. Our member organizations have real-time access to our data platform, which provides robust intelligence and insights for their student marketing and recruiting efforts,” said Patrick Vogt, CEO of NRCCUA. “Our mission to build enabling technology that helps colleges and universities create the real-time data-driven admissions office of the future is significantly enhanced with the addition of the Eduventures team and research library.”

According to Vogt, the combination with Eduventures will drive NRCCUA’s Research as a Service initiative and create a simple and easy way for clients to access research via its data platform. The Eduventures acquisition will allow the company to help members better address challenges such as:

·        Increasing access to postsecondary education

·        Improving student success and outcomes

·        Advancing the college and career readiness of graduating students

Ultimately, the combined entities will create efficiencies that reduce the cost of education recruiting, while successfully matching the students to colleges and universities.

It will also empower university admissions departments with the software capability they need to improve and modernize their processes internally versus having to rely on a third party.

Bob Blakeley, Eduventures’ President and COO, commented, “NRCCUA’s robust data platform and reach in the higher education marketplace will provide opportunities for Eduventures’ research and

solutions and significantly help Eduventures’ clients. We are delighted to be part of the NRCCUA and look forward to continuing the important work we do for our clients and the industry.”

NRCCUA is part of Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund, a fund focused on partnering with purpose-driven companies and leaders who foster innovation within the education sector.

About NRCCUA

The National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA) is an educational data platform and research organization based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Austin, Texas. For 44 years, NRCCUA has been a leading provider of data, technology and programs servicing public and private colleges and universities to enhance their marketing and recruiting efforts. These solutions represent the link between students making important life decisions and providing the resources and information they need to succeed in their postsecondary education and career. NRCCUA is part of Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund. For more information, visit www.nrccua.org.

About Eduventures

Eduventures is the leading research and advisory firm that is focused exclusively on analyzing the forces that are transforming higher education. Building on 20 years of success in working with education leaders, Eduventures provides forward-looking and actionable research based on proprietary market data, and advisory services that support both strategic and operational decision-making. Our recommendations and personalized support enable clients to understand the top traits of leaders in critical disciplines, and evaluate the opportunities presented by new technologies. For more information about Eduventures’ research, practice areas and team, visit us at www.eduventures.com.

Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund Partners with Panopto to Fuel Company Growth and Expansion

Partnership will help accelerate growth and platform innovation for the leading provider of enterprise and education video solutions

CHICAGO--Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund, a fund focused on partnering with purpose-driven companies and leaders who foster innovation within the education sector, announced today that it has invested in Panopto. Panopto’s partnership with the Education Opportunity Fund will allow the company to build upon its position as a technology leader in video content management, recording, and live streaming, and will fuel Panopto’s plans for business expansion.

Founded in 2007, Panopto pioneered the categories of lecture capture and enterprise video content management. Today, the company offers a comprehensive video platform that enables a diverse set of organizations to capture and manage all of their video assets.

“Within five years, video will be the dominant form of online communication,” said Education Opportunity Fund Managing Director Jason Rosenberg. “As demand for this technology continues to accelerate, Panopto is leading the industry in product innovation and organizational capability. With its explosive growth in the enterprise, its dominant position in higher education, and its significant technological advantages over its competitors, Panopto is set to emerge as the leader in this multibillion-dollar market. We’re thrilled to partner with the company and the leadership team as they continue to scale.”

Since its founding, the company has amassed more than two million videos in its cloud-based video platform, making it the largest repository of expert learning videos in the world. Each month, customers stream more than 100 years of video from Panopto Cloud, which has experienced 20% compound quarterly growth since 2012. For two years running, the company has been recognized by Gartner as a “Leader” in enterprise video content management and has been ranked as one of the fastest growing companies on Deloitte's Fast 500 list. Current clients include New York Life, GE Healthcare Digital, Yale University, Brown University, and the Wharton School of Business.

“Over the past nine years, we’ve had the privilege of helping millions of students and employees improve themselves and their organizations through video-based learning," said Eric Burns, co-founder and CEO of Panopto. "With Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund, we've found the ideal investor to help us bring this enabling technology to more businesses and universities around the world. The Education Opportunity Fund's deep network and unique experience across enterprise and education technologies will propel us to the next level of growth and market presence.”

This is the second investment made out of the Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling’s first-ever sector-focused fund. In April 2015, Sterling partnered with USA Funds, a mission-driven, nonprofit organization with a focus on “Completion With a Purpose,” to launch this $200 million fund. Panopto represents a unique platform that directly aligns with the Education Opportunity Fund’s strategy of investing in purpose-driven companies that are advancing opportunities for learners.

About Panopto

Panopto helps businesses and universities create searchable video libraries of their institutional knowledge. Since 2007, the company has been a pioneer in video capture software, video content management systems, and inside-video search technology. Today, Panopto’s video platform is the largest repository of expert learning videos in the world. Headquartered in Seattle with offices in Pittsburgh, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Sydney, Panopto has received industry recognition for its innovation, rapid growth, and company culture. For more information, visit www.panopto.com.

The National Research Center for College & University Admissions Announces New CEO Patrick Vogt

 

 

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®) announced today the appointment of Patrick Vogt as NRCCUA’s new CEO. Mr. Vogt brings nearly 30 years of experience building innovative technology and products, accelerating company growth, and establishing first-class organizational cultures.

In his new position, Mr. Vogt will report to the NRCCUA Board of Directors and work closely with NRCCUA’s management team to lead the company into its next phase of growth. Mr. Vogt will lead the strategic effort by providing new capabilities and insights to NRCCUA members through advanced analytics, and expanding and enhancing its technology-enabled services, ultimately driving exceptional growth and improving the overall value proposition. NRCCUA is the first investment made out of Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling’s first-ever sector-focused fund. To launch the Education Opportunity Fund, Sterling partnered with USA Funds, a mission-driven non-profit focused on building purposeful paths for students that begin with college completion and ensure a smooth transition from education to employment in the modern global workforce.

Mr. Vogt assumes the leadership of NRCCUA from Don Munce, who is transitioning from his role as CEO to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Munce has played an integral role in the success of the organization for nearly 30 years, and will remain an active participant in the company’s future growth and continued evolution. Mr. Munce was actively engaged in the selection and appointment of Mr. Vogt as the new CEO.

“Attracting a talent such as Patrick is a testament to NRCCUA’s long-standing reputation for providing trusted solutions within college admissions and higher education,” said Mr. Munce. “I look forward to seeing Patrick build upon the values and strengths of NRCCUA that have made it such an amazing place to work, and have positively impacted so many college-bound students and their families.”

A technology industry veteran, Mr. Vogt was previously CEO for HealthiNation, a leading digital video company focused on inspiring healthy and active lifestyles, where he led the development and execution of a transformative growth plan. Before that, Mr. Vogt was President of The Weather Channel's International Division, where he led the global expansion of The Weather Channel's products and services. Throughout his impressive career, which also includes successful CEO roles at leading digital media technology companies, as well as senior executive positions at Sony, Dell and HP, Mr. Vogt has demonstrated a unique ability to accelerate growth and innovation.

“The foundation on which Don created NRCCUA will not change. We will remain focused on supporting higher-education institutions and helping students achieve great academic and future workforce success,” said Mr. Vogt. “But as the industry faces new challenges in terms of decreased enrollment, the rising cost of college and the demand for transparency, we need to adapt to the current environment and offer our members new technology and data solutions in order to seamlessly connect them with their right prospective students. I look forward to leading the team and working closely with our member institutions as we begin our next phase of growth.”

Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund welcomed NRCCUA into its portfolio in February 2016. As part of the fund, NRCCUA has access to benefits much deeper than just capital and can take advantage of the fund’s invaluable strategic and operational understanding of the education market. Since its founding in 1983, Sterling Partners has had a rich history of successful investing in the education space.

About NRCCUA

The National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA) is an educational research organization based in Lee's Summit, MO. For 40 years, NRCCUA has conducted one of the largest nationwide surveys of high school students, which serves as a communications link between college bound high school students and public and private colleges and universities. For more information please visit www.nrccua.org.

About Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund

Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Its eighth investment fund, the Education Opportunity Fund, was launched in partnership with USA Funds in April 2015. The Fund's objective is to invest in purpose-driven companies and partner with high-performing leaders that are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education landscape. The Education Opportunity Fund will target investments where it can make between $10M and $25M of equity capital commitments to growth-stage, technology-relevant businesses. For more information, visit www.educationfund.sterlingpartners.com.

About USA Funds

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more at www.usafunds.org.