Education reform as a business

Did you know that the education sector now represents nearly 9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product? That for-profit education is valued at $1.3 trillion, and is one of the largest U.S. investment markets?

These facts were part of an advertisement for a conference for investors in for-profit education ventures, just one example of how much the profit motive has entered into the public education arena. The conference is one of two examples of how school reform has become little more than a business in some arenas (and just how removed some reformers have gotten from classrooms and the actual dynamic of teaching and learning).

If you had wanted to attend this conference for private equity investing in for-profit education companies, you missed it, (but you did save the walk-in fee of $1,495). Featured at the conference were “20 education experts,” none of whom are actually teachers.

 

AttentionMiddle-Market Private Equity

& Mezzanine Investors & Lenders

 

Private Equity Investing in
For-Profit Education Companies

How Breakdowns in Traditional Models

& Applications of New Technologies

Are Driving Change


ENCORE
ROUNDTABLE

 

CHAIRED BY

Harold Levy, Managing Director
Palm Ventures

 

FULL-DAY CONFERENCE

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

8:00 am – 5:00 pm
New York City

Designed to Meet the Needs of GPs, LPs, & Managers of Buyout, Growth Equity, Mezzanine, & Lending Funds, as Well as Independent Sponsors, Operating Partners, Portfolio Company Managers, and the Bankers, Lawyers, Accountants, & Other Advisors Who Support Them

 

Private equity investing in for-profit education is soaring, and for good reason — the public and non-profit models are profoundly broken.

 

This is why for-profit education is one of the largest U.S. investment markets, currently topping $1.3 trillion in value.

 

Look at the current state of K-12 public education. School districts across the U.S. are underfunded, underperforming, and well behind the curve when it comes to adopting quality technologies.

 

Many simply lack the expertise to treat today’s applied technologies as not just gadgets or strategic opportunities, but as real solutions for expanding their capacity to teach students.

 

And in the post-secondary world, non-profit institutions are finding that very few enticements are bringing in money. Not sports. Not research. Not classrooms.

 

Public funding and private endowments are both down, and neither will be particularly reliable in the future.

 

So 2013, and beyond, will see numerous for-profit companies making inroads into public and non-profit education by taking over large swaths of the market. What’s more, they’ll prosper in the corporate training and continuing education marketplace as well.

 

Consider —

  • The entire education sector now represents nearly 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.
  • Merger and acquisition activity in for-profit education last year surpassed activity at the peak of the Internet boom.
  • More and more non-profit colleges are hitting the wall and seeking investors to help them transform into for-profit institutions.

 

You’ll learn how to achieve investment success in this education revolution when you attend The Capital Roundtable’s ENCORE conference — “Private Equity Investing in For-Profit Education Companies,” being held in New York City on Tuesday, January 15.

 

Here are 6 important reasons you should attend this conference:

 

  • Understand which technologies are the engines of change for the entire for-profit education industry.
  • Hear how online services go well beyond coursework solutions to include engagement, assessment, and other critical needs.
  • Realize what new regulations can be expected during the next presidential term.
  • Find out which technologies are poised to take off, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), adaptive learning platforms, and virtual laboratories.
  • Recognize the growing demand for training tools to assess performance and measure effectiveness.
  • Gain insight on the strongest opportunities to lower costs and improve learning.

 

Serving as chair of this ENCORE conference on Tuesday, January 15, in New York, is Harold Levy, former Chancellor of the New York City School System and now managing director at Palm Ventures in Greenwich, Conn.

Palm is a family office that invests in for-profit education and other capital investments with a positive and transformative effect on society.

 

Harold leads the education practice, capitalizing on his vast experience in education and finance. He is also former executive vice president and general counsel of Kaplan Inc., director of Global Compliance of Citigroup, and head of litigation at Salomon Brothers.

 

He has served on the boards of a number of academic institutions and for-profit education companies. Harold is presently treasurer of the Roosevelt Institute and a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a B.S. and J.D. from Cornell University and a M.A. (PPE) from Oxford University.

 

20 Education Experts Bring You A Day Of Rewarding Lessons

 

Our Roundtable features 4 expert panel discussions led by our chair and with the shared insight of 20 of the top private equity experts in the for-profit education marketplace.

 

When you attend our January 15th Roundtable you will listen and learn from GPs, operating executives, investment bankers, lenders, consultants, and more — offering real-world perspectives, lessons learned and industry outlooks, plus insights on managing current portfolio companies.

 

By attending this Capital Roundtable conference, you’ll be wise to the winning strategies and tactics of successful investors in for-profit education companies. You’ll also hear how they are adding value to their current portfolio companies. We’ll be answering such questions as:

 

  • What are some of the main challenges that PE investors are facing in the education sector?
  • How are lenders approaching education deals, and what factors are behind their decisions?
  • How can new investors in for-profit education avoid common traps and pitfalls?
  • What specific sectors within the for-profit education marketplace may hold the greatest promise for investors?
  • What specific criteria should you use in evaluating potential deals?
  • What are current sector valuations — reasonable, high, or somewhere in between – and how may they change in 2013?

Our Excellent Networking Opportunities May Be Reason Enough To Attend

We’ve built ample time into the day’s agenda so you can –

  • Meet fellow attendees and featured speakers
  • Enhance your personal database with valuable connections
  • Share both ideas and business cards
  • If you’re a lender, hedge fund manager or investment banker – identify potential partners
  • If you’re an attorney or advisor – meet new potential clients
  • If you work as an executive search professional – meet potential prospects

Register Now and Receive Our Early Bird Discount

Early registration for this encore conference is not just a wise idea, but also saves you money. To receive a generous discount of $400 off our regular price, simply sign up before November 20, 2012.

Keep in mind this conference is certain to fill up quickly, so you’ll want to register as soon as possible to assure yourself a seat. To avoid disappointment, please contact Mara Kane today to confirm your attendance at 212-832-7300 ext. 0 or mkane@capitalroundtable.com

 

We look forward to having you join us on January 15th.

This conference is being produced by The Capital Roundtable, America’s leading conference organization focusing on “need-to-know” information for professionals in the middle-market private equity community. For more information about The Capital Roundtable’s 30 annual conferences and other events and programs, please visit www.capitalroundtable.com.

 

Chaired By

  • Harold Levy, Managing Director, Palm Ventures

Hosted By

  • Burt Alimansky, Chairman & CEO, The Capital Roundtable

Speakers

  • David F. Bainbridge, Managing Director, Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC
  • James A. Bland, Principal, HCP & Co.
  • George Cigale, Chairman & CEO, Tutor.com Inc.
  • David Hoverman, Senior Principal, Parthenon Group LLC
  • Jeffrey Keith, Operating Partner, Sterling Partners
  • Victor Klatt, Principal, Penn Hill Group
  • Timothy B. Loomer, President & CEO, Campus Management Corp.
  • Robert Lytle, Partner Parthenon, Group LLC
  • Michael P. McQueeney, Managing Partner, Summer Street Capital Partners LLC
  • H. John Michel, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Jason Palmer, Chief Product Officer, Straighterline
  • Ralph Protsik, Managing Director, BSG Team Ventures
  • John R. Przypyszny, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Robert T. Puopolo, Partner, Epic Partners
  • Adarsh K. Sarma, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus LLC
  • Joshua N. Schwartz, Managing Director, East Wind Advisors LLC
  • Stuart J. Udell, President & CEO, Catapult Learning LLC
  • Carol Vallone, Chief Executive Officer, Educate Online Inc.
  • David L. Warnock, Managing Member, Camden Partners Holdings LLC
  • Ralph A. Wolff, President, Western Association of Schools & Colleges

Additional speakers to be announced

And then there’s the “Business Plan Competition” being run by the Yale School of Management. The competition is said to be promoting “education entrepreneurship as a means of advancing education reform” by encouraging new ventures ‘for profit and nonprofit’ that work to close the achievement gap and raise student achievement.” The judges weren’t announced for this competition, but the 2012 judges are listed here, and while a few were former teachers, there wasn’t a single working teacher or principal or student representative among them.

Business Plan Competition

Mission and Overview

The mission of the Yale SOM Education Business Plan Competition is to promote education entrepreneurship as a means of advancing education reform, specifically among graduate students who have a passion for education. The competition will focus on seed proposals rather than fully-developed businesses to encourage novel thought. Click here for a flyer outlining the competition.

 

The competition will be held in conjunction with the Yale SOM Education Leadership Conference (ELC), which will be held on April 5, 2013. Preliminary evaluation rounds will occur in advance of the spring conference. At the conference, finalists will present, a winning team will be announced, and $10,000 in prize money will be awarded. The top three finalists will receive prize money.

 

Competition Goals

  1. Encourage graduate students to conceive of new ventures “ for profit and nonprofit“ that work to close the achievement gap and raise student achievement
  2. Build a foundation of future entrepreneurs in education
  3. Promote innovation and enterprise as a means of advancing education reform

Timeline for 2013 Competition

  • Submissions due: January 21, 2013
  • Candidates notified of progress to second round: February 25, 2013
  • Finalists pitch and winner announced: April 5, 2013

Additional Information

Please see the following links for more specific information on:

Conflict of Interest Statement

Teams from any school are welcome to submit to the Yale SOM Education Business Plan Competition. Submissions will reviewed by independent judges without preference for specific schools. No additional information beyond the official submissions will be provided to the judges.

 

The 2012 Judges

(our 2013 judges will be announced in the run-up to the conference)

 

Brian Bordainick, Entrepreneur in Residence, Idea Village & Founder, 9th Ward Field of Dreams
In 2007, Brian Bordainick graduated from the University of Georgia and moved to New Orleans to begin his adventure as a teacher at G.W. Carver High School in the 9th ward. Bolstered by the support of the Carver community, Brian founded 9th Ward Field of Dreams to support the construction of a state-of-the-art football field and track on Carver’s campus in the upper 9th ward. This organization has raised over $1.8M in less than two years. Brian currently works with startup education companies in New Orleans, LA as an Entrepreneur in Residence for an incubator.


Maureen Burke, Lecturer, Yale School of Management
s
Maureen Burke has over 20 years’ experience in entrepreneurship and finance. She began her career at Merrill Lynch and Cantor Fitzgerald as an underwriter and trader in Municipal Bond Finance. After nine years, she left Wall Street to pursue an MBA in finance from the Yale School of Management. Since graduating from SOM in 1997, her focus has been advising entrepreneurs and technology-based start-up companies. Maureen is a lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is also a longtime advisor to the Yale Entrepreneurship Society’s Y50K business plan competition. She was an advisor for Sachem Ventures, a venture capital fund run by students at Yale SOM until 2003.


Wayee Chu, Associate Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
s
Wayee is an Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focuses on sourcing and supporting early stage education technology entrepreneurs. Wayee leads the NewSchools EdTech Entrepreneurship Lab, in partnership with Teach For America and the Stanford d. school. Formerly, Wayee focused on NewSchools’ field-building work, planning and executing Community of Practice gatherings for entrepreneurs at the annual NewSchools Summit. After starting her career as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley, Wayee worked for four years as an equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch in New York. She also served as finance director for a magazine publishing firm. Wayee graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science.


Scott Given, Chief Executive Officer, Unlocking Potential
Prior to his time at Unlocking Potential, Scott worked as a strategy consultant at the Parthenon Group before teaching high school history at Boston Collegiate Charter School. In 2005, Scott became the Principal of Excel Academy Charter School, where for three years he was part of a comprehensive school improvement effort. Scott has worked as an independent consultant for charter schools in 9 states, as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Newark Charter School Fund, and as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the NewSchools Venture Fund. Scott is a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.


Chaula Gupta, Managing Director, Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Teach For America
As Managing Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at Teach For America, Chaula Gupta is creating an enabling platform to help alumni launch and grow their own social change ventures that target the systemic factors behind educational inequity. Prior to this role, Chaula worked for four years with Ashoka, where she supported the US Fellowship in screening social entrepreneurs, managed various projects in Ashoka India, launched and ran a new global staff recruitment program, and did due diligence on innovative ideas that employed technology for social change. Chaula has done research on small-arms disarmament at the Geneva-based UN Institute for Disarmament Research and co-authored a US government study on nuclear terrorism while working at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. She graduated from Mumbai University majoring in telecommunications engineering and has a graduate degree in international relations from Syracuse University.


Valerie Sakimura, Senior Analyst, NewSchools Venture Fund
Valerie Sakimura is a Senior Analyst at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focuses on investment strategy, due diligence, and management assistance for the organization’s portfolio ventures. Prior to joining NewSchools, Valerie was an Operating Associate at Monitor Clipper Partners, a mid-market private equity firm, where she provided strategic and operational support to the management teams of MCP’s portfolio companies. Before joining MCP, Valerie was a consultant at The Monitor Group, a management consulting firm, where she focused on private equity diligence in a variety of sectors. She has also volunteered with Inspire, a pro-bono consulting group providing services to youth-focused nonprofits. Valerie graduated cum laude from Harvard with an AB in Social Studies where she focused on education policy.


Chad Troutwine, Founder and CEO, Veritas Prep

Chad is Co-Founder and CEO of Veritas Prep, the largest privately held GMAT prep and admissions consulting company in the world, and Spectrum Station, a 400-student early education learning center. After producing the acclaimed documentary film Freakonomics, based on the New York Times Bestseller, Chad launched a media company in 2011 with the book’s co-authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Chad graduated from the public school system at sixteen years old, earned a JD with honors from the University of Missouri, graduated with an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and is completing a Masters degree at the Harvard Kennedy School. Chad was the 2002 Forbes Future Capitalist and Entrepreneur magazine’s 2009 Trailblazer.


Lindsay Ullman, Associate, Google Ventures

Lindsay is an associate with Google Ventures, where she works in areas that include consumer internet, mobile, advertising, security, and enterprise software. She joined Ventures after working on Google’s display ads team, focusing on YouTube and Google’s ad network. Prior to Google, Lindsay worked on a number of local, state, and national political campaigns. She was also a co-founder of a nonpartisan civics organization and co-authored a book on youth engagement in the political process. Lindsay is a graduate of Yale College.


Jason Weeby, Director of Network Strategy, Education Pioneers

As Director of Network Strategy, Jason is the architect behind Education Pioneers’ leadership network using the principles of social network theory to accelerate information sharing and collaboration amongst its 1,200+ members. He began his career as a youth treatment provider in a residential crisis unit in Kalamazoo, Michigan and then went on to teach students ranging from fifth grade to college freshman from across the socio-economic spectrum. Most recently, he served as Education Pioneers’ Bay Area Program Director from 2007-2010 leading recruiting, selection, placement, partnerships, and facilitation of the graduate school fellowship. Jason earned his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Environmental studies from Western Michigan University. He earned his Master’s in Education from Stanford University with a concentration in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies.

 

Final Round Judges

Tina Barseghian
Editor, Mindshift

Tina Barseghian is the editor of NPR’s MindShift Web site, which covers innovations in education and examines how technology is changing the way teachers teach and students learn. Before launching the site, Tina worked as the executive editor of Edutopia magazine produced by the George Lucas Education Foundation, as an editor at ReadyMade Magazine and editor-in-chief of Craft Magazine. Since launching MindShift, Tina has covered innovations in education springing from Silicon Valley and watching its ripple effects in schools in the Bay Area and beyond.

 

Justin Cohen
President, School Turnaround Group

Justin S. Cohen leads the School Turnaround Group (STG) of Mass Insight in launching a multi-year “Partnership Zone Initiative,” working with state education agencies, school districts, and partner organizations to develop the organizational strategies and capacity necessary to turn around our nation’s lowest performing schools. Prior to launching the STG, Cohen was director of the office of portfolio management and senior advisor to the Chancellor at the District of Columbia Public Schools. He served as director of industry support and development for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and spent time at Edison Schools. He is the primary author of the blog “Meeting the Turnaround Challenge” and has a bachelor’s from Yale.

 

Matt Greenfield
Partner, Stonework Capital

Matthew Greenfield is a partner of Rethink Education, a venture fund focused on educational technology, and Stonework Capital, an ethically oriented hedge fund based in New York City. He serves as an advisor to University Ventures, the NewSchool Ventures Seed Fund, and the College Board. He previously helped start three technology businesses and invested in successful ventures such as Wireless Generation, Atricure and Wellfleet. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in English from Yale University. He taught at Bowdoin College and the City University of New York. He has published extensively and helped design and launch Blackwell’s Literature Compass online journal and blog.


Jennifer Medbery
Founder and CEO, Kickboard

Jennifer Medbery, founder and CEO of Kickboard (formerly Drop the Chalk), is a software developer who spent three years in the classroom as a high school math teacher. After receiving her degree in Computer Science from Columbia University, Medbery joined Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta and then served as a founding teacher at Sci Academy, a charter high school in New Orleans. Jen left the classroom to build the tools she wished she had in the classroom, and Kickboard was born. The teacher-friendly web-based software is now used by over 60 schools in 12 states.


Adam Porsch
Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

At the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation, Adam G. Porsch, works with states, districts, and charter schools throughout the United States on education efforts. Prior to joining the foundation, Porsch served as a consultant at New Leaders for New Schools and served as director for performance management for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Porsch also worked as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, helping to advise leading companies across a wide range of industries including K-12 education, and as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Porsch earned a law degree from Yale and a master’s from Northwestern University.

And then there was this, from Harold Levy, former chancellor of New York City public schools:

Dear [name], I’m chairing The Capital Roundtable’s ENCORE full-day conference — Private Equity Investing In For-Profit Education Companies — http://capitalroundtable.com/r/?t=l&m=1198&l=1&s=238309&c=394436> How Breakdowns in Traditional Models & Applications of New Technologies Are Driving Changehttp://capitalroundtable.com/r/?t=l&m=1198&l=2&s=238309&c=394436> Tuesday, January 15, in New York City Sponsored by — • Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP • Parthenon Group LP I was formerly Chancellor of the New York City School System, and am now managing director at Palm Ventures in Greenwich, Conn. Palm is a family office that invests in for-profit education and other ventures with a positive and transformative effect on society. I lead the education practice, capitalizing on my experience in education and finance. In the past, I was executive vice president and general counsel of Kaplan Inc., the first director of Global Compliance for Citigroup, and head of litigation at Salomon Brothers. I have served on the boards of a number of academic institutions and for-profit education companies. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan appointed me to be a member of the C0mmittee on Measures of Student Success. I am presently on the board of the Roosevelt Institute, the National Dropout Prevention Center and the American College of Greece, and a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of Teachers College, Columbia University. I’ll be joined by 20 knowledgeable private equity professionals, senior executives, consultants, accountants, and regulators who are involved in the education sector, including — • David F. Bainbridge, Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC • James A. Bland, HCP & Co. • George Cigale, Tutor.com Inc. • David Hoverman, Parthenon Group LLC • Jeffrey Keith, Sterling Partners • Victor Klatt, Penn Hill Group • Timothy B. Loomer, Campus Management Corp. • Robert Lytle, Parthenon Group LLC • Michael P. McQueeney, Summer Street Capital Partners LLC • H. John Michel, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP • Jason Palmer, Straighterline • Ralph Protsik, BSG Team Ventures • John R. Przypyszny, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP • Robert T. Puopolo, Epic Partners • Adarsh K. Sarma, Warburg Pincus LLC • Joshua N. Schwartz, East Wind Advisors LLC • Stuart J. Udell, Catapult Learning LLC • Carol Vallone, Educate Online Inc. • David L. Warnock, Camden Partners Holdings LLC • Ralph A. Wolff, Western Association of Schools & Colleges You will hear where this group has found compelling investment opportunities in the education market, what key criteria they use in assessing education related investments, how they have navigated the ever-changing regulatory/funding environment (including the possibility of sequestration) and avoided certain industry-specific pitfalls, and how these professionals are driving growth/returns in today’s complex education landscape. Plus, this conference helps foster contacts and connections in a one-on-one environment. Our agenda includes ample time, with session breaks and an open lunch, when you can exchange ideas and business cards with fellow attendees and featured speakers. To register while space is still available, please phone *Mara Kane* at 212-832-7300, ext. 0. Or click on this linkhttp://capitalroundtable.com/r/?t=l&m=1198&l=3&s=238309&c=394436>to register online! I look forward to seeing you on January 15th! Best regards, Harold O. Levy Managing Director Palm Ventures

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | January 9, 2013