CHICAGOINNO: Chicago-Based Sterling Partners Just Launched a $200 Million Education Fund

Career College Central Summary:

  • Chicago-based Sterling Partners announced the $200 million Education Opportunity Fund, its first-ever sector specific fund. It is partnering with USA Funds, a nonprofit that focuses on streamlining student pathways to college, on the venture. The private equity firm hopes to invest in "growth-stage, purpose-driven companies" that further opportunities for students, create new revenue streams, and create more efficient business models for academic institutions.
  • The fund will likely be focused on higher education, said Shoshana Vernick, managing director of the Education Opportunity Fund.
  • "There is a tremendous amount of pressure placed on institutions of higher learning through a lack of ability to raise revenue, meaning tuition, much more," she said."We see a unique opportunity to partner with [universities], and find… opportunities to run their business more efficiently."
  • However, Jason Rosenberg, another managing director of the fund, added that any company that is thoughtful about their impact and product will be considered.
  • "What's important to us is that that company has a real mission, a real purpose, acts with integrity– all those things we aspire to do as investors," he added.
  • Sterling Partners estimates it will invest $10 million to $25 million in equity capital on average per company through the fund.
  • The 30-year-old private equity firm has a long history of successful education investments. The firm is behind the success of Sylvan Learning Centers, the national chain of tutoring centers, as well as Laureate, a massive chain of for-profit international colleges. Here in Chicago, they helped scale the for-profit, accredited digital arts school Tribeca Flashpoint College.
  • With that previous success, the private equity firm decided to stick with what works.

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