Stone-Goff Partners (SGP) announced today that it has sold Learners Edge to L Squared Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Newport Beach, CA specializing in education investments.
Based in Lakeville, Minn., Learners Edge is a leading direct-to-teacher provider of online professional development, continuing education, and master’s degree programs for K-12 teachers. Founded in 2002 by two middle-school geography teachers, the company was established with the mission to help teachers advance their classroom skills and careers, while also improving student learning. Co-founders Joe Cotter and Kyle Pederson started with innovative distance-learning courses, enabling teachers to secure their education and training whenever and wherever they prefer. As the distance learning model transitioned online, they invested heavily in an online platform that could deliver a full course curriculum. Learners Edge is now the largest online direct-to-teacher continuing education provider in the U.S.
In 2013, Stone-Goff Partners invested alongside the company’s co-founders. With an enhanced focus on reaching more teachers and developing proprietary online content, the business continued its rapid growth trajectory.
"The Learners Edge team – led by CEO Joe Cotter – developed a clear, mission-driven approach for the development and dissemination of continuing education for teachers. Our successful exit is a testament to the value created by the management team since our investment and demonstrates the company’s strength in helping on-the-ground teachers improve classroom instruction and student learning," said Hannah Craven, co-founder of Stone-Goff Partners. "As the company’s first outside investor, we are honored to have been able to partner with Joe, Kyle, Julie Yaeger, Jenny Oelkers, Mark Hrubes, and the entire Learners Edge team. We wish them and their new investment partners the very best as they continue to deliver high-value professional education to teachers around the country."
George K. Baum Capital Advisors acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Learners Edge in this transaction. Avante Mezzanine Partners provided debt and equity co-investment. Fredrikson and Byron P.A. served as legal counsel to Learners Edge.