Avathon Capital Acquires Magical Beginnings to Expand Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education

Leveraging its early childhood expertise, Avathon invests in Magical Beginnings following an extensive search for a founder-owned, center-based platform

CHICAGO and BOSTON –  January 31, 2024 –  Avathon Capital (“Avathon”), a private equity firm exclusively investing in lower middle-market companies in the education and workforce markets, announced its acquisition of Magical Beginnings Learning Centers (“Magical Beginnings”). Magical Beginnings is a Massachusetts-based network of early childhood education centers operating in the Greater Boston Area.

Founded in 1990 by Linda Hassapis Bonfanti, Magical Beginnings provides high-quality, education-based programs for children ranging from infants through pre-K. It started out as a small, at-home program and evolved into seven schools, blending the close-knit feeling of a family daycare with the advantages of a center-based model.

“As I considered the next chapter for myself and the business, I knew it was crucial to identify a partner who would celebrate Magical Beginnings’ values and champion the success of our teachers, students, and employees,” said Bonfanti. “Avathon was the only team who consistently came to the table with a passion for and proven record in supporting early childhood education and helping those businesses reach their full potential.”

Leveraging its early childhood expertise and furthering its commitment to the sector, Avathon invested in Magical Beginnings following an extensive search for a founder-owned, center-based platform.

“It’s not every day we unearth an opportunity to invest in an organization whose values align so closely with ours,” said Shawn Domanic, Principal at Avathon. “It’s a privilege to be entrusted with spearheading Magical Beginnings’ next chapter and to grow a business that delivers such meaningful outcomes for young children and educators across the field.”

Avathon recruited Mark Donovan as the new CEO of Magical Beginnings. Donovan has decades of experience in the healthcare services sector and has led scaled, mission-driven organizations that put culture and collaboration at the forefront. Most recently, he helmed a multi-site, multi-state therapy network for autistic children.

“Working alongside our teachers and staff these last few months, it’s clear Linda created something special,” said Donovan. “Avathon recognized that and has pulled together a group of passionate experts who are prepared and ready to take Magical Beginnings to more families across New England and beyond.”

Avathon also formed Magical Beginnings’ new board of directors, which is chaired by Boston-area resident and former CEO of Little Sprouts, Sarah Clabby. Clabby has over two decades of experience scaling brands and businesses through a unique lens of innovation marketing, human capital, and operational excellence. Bonfanti will move to a new role as a board director, where she will continue to provide strategic insight and guidance.

This partnership marks Avathon’s thirteenth platform investment, and follows the announcement of its successful sale of Big Blue Marble Academy in January 2024. McGuireWoods served as Avathon’s legal advisor on the Magical Beginnings transaction. Brandon Ruggieri at Glovsky represented Magical Beginnings.

About Avathon Capital: Avathon Capital, a private equity firm based in Chicago, specializes in investing in growing, lower middle market companies in the education and workforce markets. Avathon’s principals are curious, creative, determined, and thoughtful investors. They show up prepared and ready to turn their relationships and experience into a competitive advantage for their partners. Avathon selectively targets opportunities where it can invest $20 to $50 million of equity capital and take a meaningful ownership position in companies with the potential to become enduring and strategically important businesses in their market. For more information visit:

About Magical Beginnings Learning Centers: Magical Beginnings is a network of early childhood education schools in the Greater Boston Area. The organization provides high-quality, education-based programs for children ranging from infant through pre-K, creating a strong foundation for success in kindergarten and beyond. For more information visit:

Media Contact: Taylor Trovillion,

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