Blackboard Inc. | October 26, 2021
Anthology, a leading provider of higher education software solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, and Blackboard Inc., a leading global EdTech software and solutions company, today completed their previously announced merger.By bringing Blackboard and Anthology together, the combination will create the most comprehensive and modern EdTech ecosystem at a global scale for education. The company is uniquely positioned to enable deeper insights about the learner so that institutions can deliver unmatched personalized experiences and outcomes across the full learner lifecycle.
The parent company of the newly combined organization will be Anthology, with the Blackboard name continuing as an integral part of its brand portfolio. The Anthology brand represents the collection of the best and signifies the continued focus on creating the next chapter in EdTech. The company will tap its leading global position -- with more than 150 million users across 80 countries -- and a comprehensive portfolio of innovative solutions, to enable institutions to remove the historical barriers between administrative and learning ecosystems and drive learner and institutional success.
Led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Milton, a team of top-tier executives has been identified across both organizations to lead the combined company. The company's headquarters will be in Boca Raton, Florida. The company also will maintain its global facility footprint including the main Blackboard office in Reston, Virginia.
"The closing of the transaction represents the next chapter for Anthology and Blackboard as our collective offerings can deliver unmatched personalized experiences and insights across the full learner lifecycle," said Milton. "Our combined broad set of capabilities – including teaching and learning, student information systems, enterprise resource planning, community engagement, student success and student engagement – will provide our clients with a full suite of enterprise-level products and services that enable institutions to not only focus on data-driven decisions but completely transform both student and institutional success."
Clients across higher education, K-12 schools, government and business sectors of the combined companies will benefit from:
Accelerated Investments and Innovation in Current Solutions: Anthology will continue to support the solutions of both companies with key strategic investments and a focus on accelerating innovation. It also will ensure that the various solutions integrate to a heterogeneous EdTech ecosystem.
The World's Largest Modern EdTech Ecosystem and Expanded Portfolio of Solutions: Clients will have access to an expanded product portfolio and global reach to meet institutions' learning and administrative needs.
A Commitment to Privacy, Security and Openness: Ensuring the privacy and security of clients' data is a foundational principle and the combined company will continue to meet the high privacy standards globally. The combined company believes openness is a critical element for innovation and will continue to integrate and connect with other solutions.
"With this combination, Anthology is poised to accelerate the data-driven higher ed ecosystem that the market has been demanding. Under the leadership of Jim Milton and the company's proven senior leadership team, Anthology will serve as an industry force to improve outcomes for students and institutions and ensure the advancement of connected knowledge."
Ramzi Musallam, CEO and Managing Partner of Veritas Capital
The combined entity is majority owned by Veritas Capital ("Veritas"), a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. Leeds Equity Partners ("Leeds"), a private equity firm focused exclusively on partnering with companies in the Knowledge Industries, holds a minority stake in the company as well as Providence Equity Partners LLC ("Providence"), Blackboard's previous majority owner.
Milbank LLP acted as legal advisor to Anthology and Veritas. Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor to Blackboard, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal advisor to Blackboard. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal advisor to Providence.
Anthology exists to help higher education advance and thrive using modern cloud technology and services that keep the learner at the forefront. Drawing on a fully connected data experience, Anthology solutions create operational efficiencies, provide intelligence for staff and administrators, and empower institutional leaders to support and guide students on a path to success.
The full suite covers admission and enrollment management; student success and retention; institutional and learning effectiveness; alumni and advancement; and enterprise applications and infrastructure, offering solutions to the challenges facing campuses today. Working with more than 2,000 colleges and institutions in over 30 countries, Anthology is constantly discovering new ways to revolutionize higher education.
Blackboard is a leading EdTech company, serving higher education, K-12, business and government clients around the world. We connect a deep understanding of education with the power of technology to continuously push the boundaries of learning. Our mission is to advance learning together with the world's education community, so that all learners, educators and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow.
About Veritas Capital
Veritas is a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. The firm invests in companies that provide critical products, software, and services, primarily technology and technology-enabled solutions, to government and commercial customers worldwide. Veritas seeks to create value by strategically transforming the companies in which it invests through organic and inorganic means.
Leveraging technology to make a positive impact across vitally important areas, such as healthcare, education, and national security, is core to Veritas. We are proud stewards of national assets, improving the quality of healthcare while reducing cost, advancing our educational system, and protecting our nation and allies.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a premier global private equity firm with approximately $45 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in over 170 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London.
About Leeds Equity Partners
Leeds Equity Partners is a New York-based private equity firm dedicated exclusively to partnering with management teams in the education, training and information services industries (the "Knowledge Industries"). The firm was founded in 1993 and currently manages $3.9 billion of capital across a broad spectrum of companies within the Knowledge Industries. Leeds Equity seeks to leverage its sector-focused expertise and market insights to create long-term value for its partner companies.
Talespin | April 30, 2021
Talespin Reality Labs, Inc., a spatial computing firm focusing on employee knowledge transfer and capabilities insights, announced today the extension of its off-the-shelf learning content library as well as desktop content streaming functionality for its app. Talespin expands the library of digital soft skills learning resources with new 'Recognizing Bias' and 'Practicing Self-Awareness' content titles in this update. The learning modules, which were previously only available on extended reality (XR) platforms, can now be streamed via web browsers on desktop devices, lowering the barrier to entry for immersive learning.
The new content and streaming capabilities arrive at a time when individuals and businesses need adaptable learning resources capable of successful upskilling and reskilling. According to the Congressional Research Service, unemployment hit a 70-year peak of 14.8% in April 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2021, Pew Research discovered that 66% of unemployed adults had considered changing their career or area of employment, highlighting the need for more agile reskilling and knowledge insights solutions to guide professional growth.
Talespin has established itself as a leader in skills-based immersive learning, amassing a library of training material covering key leadership and communication skills usage cases. By extending its social impact acceleration relationship with JFFLabs, an innovative market-facing unit of JFF, a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems, the organization is aggressively targeting new audiences with its content offering and desktop streaming support. JFFLabs, in collaboration with SAP, is using Talespin's new training approach to engage high school-age learners from three areas, including Queens, New York, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Hammond, Louisiana in Southeastern Louisiana. The eight-week program offers high school students a one-of-a-kind comprehensive learning experience to learn employability skills while increasing student interest in and persistence toward educational and career goals.
New Desktop Content Streaming Support
Talespin's desktop streaming technology allows users to access emotionally authentic immersive learning content on Mac and PC devices through a protected website connection, increasing user accessibility. Talespin's content streaming technology employs sophisticated augmented human simulations, conversational interfaces, and voice feedback to provide a degree of consistency and user experience that exceeds that of conventional role play or remote learning solutions such as e-learning and video. Employees can use this experience anywhere to replicate training scenarios in a comfortable environment where they can fail and learn without being judged.
Talespin is developing a spatial computing platform to support talent growth and skill mobility in the workplace of the future. The business, which was founded in 2015, uses its proprietary XR technology platform to include XR-based learning and training applications, virtual reality field solutions to support employee job success, and a new skills-based approach to work and productivity. Talespin, which has offices in Los Angeles and Utrecht, The Netherlands, is constructing a future of employment in which the gap between learning and execution is bridged, allowing people to choose new career paths that address the needs of both firms and individuals.
Nerdy | September 24, 2021
Nerdy, a leading platform for delivering live online learning, today announced that it has completed its business combination with TPG Pace Tech Opportunities a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. The Business Combination was approved on September 14, 2021 by TPG Pace Tech Opportunities’ stockholders. Beginning September 21, 2021, Nerdy common stock and warrants will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols “NRDY” and “NRDY WS”, respectively.
Nerdy has an ambitious mission to transform how people learn, and this transaction sets us up to accelerate the growth of live online learning at a pivotal moment when students and schools across the country need immense support. Our entry into the public market represents an important milestone for the Company and provides the resources necessary to go after the massive and growing opportunity in front of us. I want to recognize the dedication of the entire Nerdy team and could not be prouder of what we have achieved thus far. We’re just getting started and have an exceptional team in place to drive the next chapters of growth for our organization
Chuck Cohn, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Nerdy
Greg Mrva, President of TPG Pace Tech Opportunities, said, “We were attracted to Nerdy for its proven business model, strong leadership team, and ability to deliver live personalized learning at scale for learners of all ages and across thousands of subjects. With these attributes in place, Nerdy has delivered on growth in 2021 through core 1:1 and multi-format instruction and has recently added a direct to school initiative which provides a new driver of growth into 2022. We are excited to move forward as one organization and continue to partner with Chuck and the management team, helping Nerdy strengthen and grow its position in the industry.”
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Nerdy. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. acted as financial advisors, capital markets advisors, FPA and PIPE placement agents to TPG Pace Tech Opportunities. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Barclays Capital Inc. acted as capital markets advisors, FPA and PIPE placement agents to TPG Pace Tech Opportunities. Northland Capital Markets and Siebert Williams Shank acted as capital market advisors and FPA Placement Agents to TPG Pace Tech Opportunities. TPG Capital BD, LLC, Canaccord Genuity, JMP Securities LLC, Needham & Company and Raymond James & Associates, Inc., acted as capital market advisors to TPG Pace Tech Opportunities. Goodwin Procter LLP acted as the legal advisor to Nerdy and Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. acted as the legal advisor to TPG Pace Tech Opportunities.
Nerdy is a leading platform for live online learning, with a mission to transform the way people learn through technology. The Company’s purpose-built proprietary platform leverages technology, including AI, to connect learners of all ages to experts, delivering superior value on both sides of the network. Nerdy’s comprehensive learning destination provides learning experiences across 3,000+ subjects and multiple formats—including one-on-one instruction, small group classes, large format group classes, and adaptive self-study. Nerdy’s flagship business, Varsity Tutors, is one of the nation’s largest platforms for live online tutoring and classes. Its solutions are available directly to students and consumers, as well as through schools and other institutions.
TPG is a leading global alternative asset firm founded in 1992 with $108 billion of assets under management and offices in Beijing, Fort Worth, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, and Washington D.C. TPG's investment platforms are across a wide range of asset classes, including private equity, growth equity, impact investing, real estate, secondaries, and public equity. TPG aims to build dynamic products and options for its investors while also instituting discipline and operational excellence across the investment strategy and performance of its portfolio.