Dear Friends and Colleagues,
With the blink of an eye, another summer is already winding down and students across the globe are heading back to school. Our team has had a meaningful start to the year, as we have welcomed new talent and new portfolio companies into our family. In a world that can feel increasingly heavy with the presence of violence and volatility, we remain optimistic and inspired by the good and lasting impact of entrepreneurs and professionals who continue to dedicate their lives to the education sector. A little over a year ago, we launched the Education Opportunity Fund to provide equity capital of between $10 million and $25 million per investment strategy to mission-driven companies that are advancing opportunities for learners, or enabling academic institutions to create new revenue streams or efficiencies. In this newsletter, we share a few updates of our recent activity.
In late August we announced our investment in Panopto. This marks the second investment in the Education Opportunity Fund’s portfolio. Panopto is a leading SaaS solution used for recording and storing video content for education institutions and enterprise organizations. The Company was founded at Carnegie Mellon and now serves an audience of over 5 million end users. The use of video can have a transformative effect on learning, and Panopto’s technology improves the way institutions train, teach, and share knowledge.
Since we announced our partnership with the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (“NRCCUA”), we have welcomed new Chief Executive Officer Patrick Vogt, as well as new board members Anne Bryant and Tom Dretler.
Announcements & Portfolio Update
Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund is pleased to announce its partnership with Panopto, a leading provider of enterprise and education video solutions. Founded in 2007, the Company has been a pioneer in video capture software, video content management systems, and inside-video search technology. Today, Panopto’s video platform is the second largest repository of learning videos in the world after YouTube. Read more.
In February we announced our investment in the National Research Center for College & University Admissions (“NRCCUA”). NRCCUA assists students with their post-secondary planning and provides data and analytics solutions to higher education enrollment and admissions departments. In partnership with the Company’s founder, we completed a robust CEO search resulting in the hiring of Patrick Vogt in April 2016. Patrick is a serially successful executive with a wide followership and deep strategic capability. Patrick has served as chief executive for both public and private digital media technology companies, and has held senior executive positions at premiere brands such as The Weather Channel, Sony, HP, and Dell. Patrick was most recently CEO of HealthiNation, a B2C health and wellness destination for consumers. Patrick brings a blend of strategic capability, operational know-how, talent development, and a robust network to NRCCUA. He has led founder transitions twice before, and has an intrinsic connection to mission-oriented businesses.
We are honored to have Anne Bryant and Tom Dretler join NRCCUA’s Board of Directors. Anne’s rich background includes roles such as Executive Director, Emeritus of the National School Board Association; Trustee and Board Chair of Simmons College; Director for The Foundation for Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, and countless other philanthropic and private sector leadership roles. Tom’s successful experiences include stints as an entrepreneur, business builder, board member, and organizational leader with organizations such as Eduventures, the Alliance for Business Leadership, and Johns Hopkins University. Tom currently serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Shorelight Education. While Tom was an Executive in Residence at Sterling Partners, he co-authored the white paper The Financially Sustainable University with the firm and Bain & Company.
Shawn Domanic, Senior Associate
Shawn Domanic joined the Education Opportunity Fund team in May 2016 as a Senior Associate. Prior to Sterling, Shawn served as a Senior Associate at CHS Capital. He began his professional career in the Industrials Investment Banking group at Robert W. Baird & Co. Shawn earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance, Management Leadership, and Philosophy from Boston College.
Shawn grew up in Joliet, IL. In college, he studied abroad in Dublin, visited a number of European countries and took a sky-dive over the Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland. Shawn is an avid golfer and Chicago sports fanatic (Blackhawks, Bears, Bulls, and Cubs). Shawn and his wife welcomed their first child on August 29, 2016!