EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Don Johnston Incorporated Joins Texthelp Group; Edtech Giants Join Forces to Help Students Across North America and the Globe

Texthelp | January 11, 2022

Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows' investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company's reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp's goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.'s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.'s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.

"Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed. Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available."

Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp

For more than 40 years, Don Johnston Inc. has developed technology tools and curriculum that have helped students and educators build literacy skills. The company's support and accessible technology is designed to accommodate children and adults with special needs and learning disabilities. Since its inception, Don Johnston Inc. has helped over 32,000 schools through technologies, implementation, and personal connections.

"Don Johnston Inc. and Texthelp have worked in parallel in the edtech sector for decades. We share so many commonalities," said Don Johnston, CEO of Don Johnston Inc. "Fundamentally, we are both unified by a mission to help as many students as possible learn and succeed. I strongly believe that together we can achieve more, and I am excited to see what the future holds. My new role on the board of the Texthelp Group will allow me to continue to drive forward our shared vision. This is also an opportunity for our curriculum tools to forge their own path as a new organization, Building Wings. I am passionate about the role curriculum has to play in helping students, and I will maintain a leadership position with Building Wings as CEO."

Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will work together to expand product innovation and help many more people fulfill their potential, beginning in classrooms and extending through to the workplace. The two organizations will combine their teams and products to create the best technology available to students, educators, and employees. Texthelp will add Don Johnston's Snap&Read™, Co:Writer®, Word Bank™, Quizbot® and uPAR™ tools to its suite of products and all employees of Don Johnston's Education Technology Division will become Texthelp employees.

About Texthelp
Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company. On a daily basis, it helps people all over the world to understand and to be understood. For the last three decades, it has led the way in creating innovative education and workplace technology. Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability, or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital literacy and accessibility software. With over 50 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, EquatIO®, WriQ®, Fluency Tutor®, ReachDeck®, and SpeechStream®. These tools work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite. This allows for its products to be quickly integrated into any classroom or workplace with ease. Visit www.texthelp.com for more information.

About Don Johnston Inc.
Since 1980, Don Johnston Inc. has been a staple of the accessibility community, partnering with literacy experts, AT specialists, SLPs, OTs, and special education directors to develop popular assistive and evaluative tools including Co:Writer®, Snap&Read™, uPAR®, Word Bank™ and Quizbot®. Students across North America with dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia, and other diverse learning challenges rely on Don Johnston Inc. assistive tools every day to accommodate their learning needs in schools and at home. Education isn't the end of the transformation, it's only the beginning. Don Johnston Inc. tools open up possibilities right through the education journey and into the workplace. Visit https://learningtools.donjohnston.com/ for more information.

About Five Arrows
Five Arrows Principal Investments (FAPI) and Five Arrows Capital Partners (FACP) (together, "Five Arrows") are the European and US corporate private equity arms, respectively, of Rothschild & Co's Merchant Banking business. Five Arrows is focused on investing in middle-market companies with highly defensible market positions; strong management teams; business models with high visibility of organic unit volume growth and strong free cash flow conversion; and multiple operational levers that can be used to unlock latent value. The sector focus at Five Arrows is limited to healthcare, data & software and technology-enabled business services.

Spotlight

These findings have several implications for both public policy advocates and philanthropy. Meaningful change will not take place unless there are policy advocates who are unapologetic in their endeavors. Students have essentially provided a policy agenda. The question is, are we willing to listen and more importantly, act on what they are saying? They have a strong desire to attend college, yet often lack the knowledge on how to pay for it. The philanthropic community can help bridge this gap and invest in innovative programs.

Spotlight

These findings have several implications for both public policy advocates and philanthropy. Meaningful change will not take place unless there are policy advocates who are unapologetic in their endeavors. Students have essentially provided a policy agenda. The question is, are we willing to listen and more importantly, act on what they are saying? They have a strong desire to attend college, yet often lack the knowledge on how to pay for it. The philanthropic community can help bridge this gap and invest in innovative programs.

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