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Focus will be on improving reading outcomes for millions of students

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund (EOF), a fund focused on partnering with purpose-driven companies and leaders who foster innovation within the education sector, announced today its investment in Reading Plus®, an adaptive literacy intervention and practice tool for grades 3-12. The partnership with EOF will enable Reading Plus to expand its best-in-class customer success operations, explore technology enhancements, and further develop sales and marketing functions. This partnership is EOF’s sixth platform investment in its most recent fund.

Company founder and CEO Mark Taylor developed the product with guidance from a team of leading reading researchers. The Reading Plus assessment and instructional model improve reading comprehension, reading efficiency, as well as student motivation for reading. It is the first—and only—program to assess and address all three domains of reading proficiency.

“We are thrilled to join forces with EOF," said Taylor. "Working with EOF allows us to reach even more students with our best-in-class product and to empower students of all abilities with reading proficiency. We want to instill in every student a love of reading."

Taylor added, "We met with many potential partners, but EOF had the track record of partnering with founder-owned businesses, which was very important to us. They are committed to working with the Reading Plus team to bring our program to millions of additional students.”

“Mission-driven, culture-focused, and passionate companies like Reading Plus embody the spirit and inception of EOF,” said Jason Rosenberg, a Managing Director of the Education Opportunity Fund. “We are excited to work with Mark and his team to ensure their best-in-class product reaches its full potential for growth and impact in the United States and abroad.”

Following the close of the partnership, Taylor will move to the new role of Executive Chairman of the Board, where he will continue to provide counsel on strategy. Steven Guttentag, Ph.D., will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Guttentag, who has extensive experience as an educator, school administrator, and operator in the K12 space, was most recently President of Pearson’s Online and Blended Learning Division. Previously, he was the co-founder of Connections Academy, which was sold to Pearson.

“I am extremely excited to partner with Mark and the Reading Plus team,” said Guttentag. “Reading Plus checks every box for me. The company has a great culture, a differentiated product rooted in results, strong channel partners, and an opportunity to impact millions of students by improving their reading skills.”

About Reading Plus: Reading Plus is an adaptive literacy intervention that develops the fluency, comprehension, and motivation students need to be successful readers. Built on decades of research, Reading Plus assesses efficiency, and also measures and increases motivation and comprehension. The program allows students to practice at their own pace and uses adaptive technology in a truly meaningful way. To date, the millions of students using Reading Plus have gained an average of two grade levels of proficiency with 40 hours of use. For more information, visit www.readingplus.com.

About Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund: Sterling Partners is a diversified investment management 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 who are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education landscape. EOF targets opportunities 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.