Blackstone has agreed to make a significant investment in Renaissance, a provider of pre-K-12 education technology. Blackstone is making the investment alongside Renaissance’s existing backers, which include TPG’s The Rise Fund and Francisco Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. Upon the closing of the deal, Francisco Partners will remain a major shareholder in Renaissance.
NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. November 9, 2021 – Renaissance® (“Renaissance” or the “Company”), a global leader in pre-K–12 educational technology, today announced its entry into a definitive agreement for private equity funds managed by Blackstone (NYSE:BX; “Blackstone”) to make a significant equity investment in the Company alongside existing investors including Francisco Partners and TPG’s The Rise Fund. Francisco Partners, a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology businesses, acquired the Company in 2018 and will remain a major shareholder. Blackstone’s investment will be made through its flagship private equity vehicle.
Founded in 1986, Renaissance combines decades of experience in assessments with personalized instruction and analytics solutions delivering teachers and administrators the tools to plan, lessons to teach, and the resources to motivate students to learn.
Renaissance is one of the most recognized and trusted brands in K-12 education serving more than 40% of US schools and more than 16 million students worldwide. The Company’s assessment-driven, integrated instructional ecosystem enables schools and districts to benchmark student progress; teach, plan, and respond to students’ needs in real-time with personalized instruction; and offer supplemental student literacy and math learning software solutions.
The new investment from Blackstone will enable the Company to further accelerate organic growth initiatives and innovation across its product suite. Building on the platform’s growth under Francisco Partners, the investment will also enable the Company to continue executing on its targeted acquisition strategy following its recent acquisitions earlier this year of Lalilo, a research-based foundational literacy program; and Nearpod, a leader in teacher-facilitated instructional delivery.
Chris Bauleke, CEO of Renaissance, said: “As technology continues to change, and as teachers and students connect in new ways, our commitment to empower teachers, students, and administrators is unwavering. Now, together with Blackstone and Francisco Partners we have even more opportunity to further our mission to accelerate learning for all worldwide.”
Eli Nagler, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said: “Chris and the Renaissance team have done an exceptional job building a next generation technology platform to meet the rapidly evolving needs of today’s classroom and beyond – where digital tools play a critical role. We’re thrilled to join with Francisco Partners to support the continued expansion of the business as educators increasingly leverage technology to provide students with personalized learning solutions.”
Jason Brein, Partner at Francisco Partners, and Alan Ni, Principal at Francisco Partners, said: “As a leading K-12 edtech software platform, Renaissance is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions that offer new ways to teach and learn across remote, hybrid, and in-person classrooms. It has been our pleasure to partner with Chris and the Renaissance team over the last few years as they have scaled their integrated platform and product suite to best support the needs of students, teachers, administrators, and parents. We are excited to continue our partnership and look forward to working together with Blackstone to further support Renaissance’s mission.”
Blackstone’s investment is a continuation of the firm’s high-conviction thematic focus on the fast-growing education technology industry. It follows recent investments through its private equity business in Ellucian, a leading software provider to universities, and through its Blackstone Growth (BXG) business in Articulate, a SaaS training and development platform for companies.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as lead financial advisor to Renaissance, Macquarie Capital also served as a financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal advisor. SVB Technology Investment Banking served as financial advisor to Blackstone, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor.
As a global leader in assessment, reading, and math solutions for pre-K–12 schools and districts, Renaissance is committed to providing educators with insights and resources to accelerate growth and help all students build a strong foundation for success. Renaissance solutions reach more than 40% of US schools and more than a half million students in other regions across the world. The Renaissance portfolio includes Star Assessments, for reliable, accurate insights into K–12 student learning; myIGDIs, for accurate assessment of early learning; myON, to increase students’ access to high-quality reading materials; Accelerated Reader, to support independent reading practice; Freckle, for teacher-led differentiated instruction; Schoolzilla, to give educators actionable insights into trends in student attendance and achievement; Lalilo, to develop critical foundational skills; and Nearpod, for teacher-facilitated instructional delivery. For more information, visit Renaissance.com.