ETS, a Princeton, N.J.-based nonprofit educational assessment and measurement organization, created ETS Strategic Capital, a new unit that will focus on growing the business and advancing its mission through strategic equity investments, growth partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions.
Led by Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director, ETS Strategic Capital will broaden, expand and diversify ETS’s offering in assessment, learning and development for K–12, higher education, and corporations.
With this mandate, the arm is actively seeking transactions to establish a global portfolio of innovative education companies that will have both a positive financial and strategic impact.
ETS Strategic Capital will serve as the private equity investment and M&A execution arm for ETS, its subsidiaries and its partners. It will source transactions both within the domestic United States and internationally. It will partner with the broader EdTech ecosystem, to identify and execute deals, coordinate with other ETS business units to identify opportunities and needs, network with professional services firms with education expertise, and build direct relationships with businesses internationally — especially within Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MENA) regions. It will target private equity investments that are typically in Series B, C or later, where companies already have a proven product and/or market fit, initial customers, and developed business-model, and are seeking further new growth capital to scale the business; in select situations, earlier-stage investment may be possible. Acquisitions will primarily focus on middle-market scale deals, though smaller or larger acquisitions may also be possible in certain situations. ETS Strategic Capital defines growth partnerships broadly and they might involve joint ventures (JVs), channel-partner or distribution agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and technology-transfer relationships, along with similar strategic value-add business partnerships.
The arm currently has a portfolio of five companies including:
- ApplyBoard, a Canadian platform for international student recruitment
- Pipplet, a Paris-based startup specializing in language assessment for businesses
- Capti (by Charmtech Labs LLC), a Buffalo, N.Y.-company which leverages machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide personalized literacy and learning support to K–12 students
- EdAgree, a newly formed spin-out company from ETS that will match international students with universities and support those students throughout their education journey
- Gradschoolmatch, an interactive internet-driven software platform that helps prospective graduate students match with potential graduate academic programs