VSS Backs Education Technology Company

The investment in VKidz is the firm’s fifth in the education space


Laura Cooper

Feb. 15, 2017 7:45 a.m. ET

Veronis Suhler Stevenson said it invested in VKidz Holdings, an online education company.

Founded in 2003, VKidz provides subscription-based, online curriculum for the home-school and elementary-school markets as well as for parents and students. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company operates two units: its home-school division, which provides a subscription service to families for home education; and its elementary school division, which provides online supplemental education services to school districts, teachers and parents.

Products include spelling proficiency software VocabularySpellingCity and Time4Learning, which provides lessons in math, language arts, science and other areas.

For David Bainbridge, a managing director at VSS, the investment in VKidz hits close to home: He came to know VKidz because his children were using the company’s spelling product in their elementary school and at home for personal study.

Mr. Bainbridge said the investment in VKidz is the firm’s fifth in the education space—and the first platform that is “100% digital and with a subscription model” to sell into schools and homes. He said VSS intends to provide capital to help build out its sales force and foster the development of more proprietary products.

In addition, Mr. Bainbridge said the firm already is considering mergers and acquisitions for the company, adding that VSS is “looking at an add-on deal right now.” He said that acquisitions would more likely be for products to sell in the home-school market.

Since its inception, VSS has invested more than $250 million in the education space, according to Mr. Bainbridge. He said the majority of the firm’s previous investments within the sector involved elements of print that the firm helped digitalize.

The education space has drawn private-equity interest for some time. Recently, Sterling Partners said it invested in Amerigo Education, a company that provides academic programs to international students enrolled in American private high schools.

VSS invests in companies with enterprise values of $50 million to $750 million. The firm targets companies in the information, education, health-care information technology and technology-enabled business service areas, among others.

New York-based VSS in January said it made a minority investment in Acrisure LLC, a national insurance brokerage. The firm said in December it exited its investment in human-resources software provider Thomsons Online Benefits Ltd. by selling the company to Marsh & McLennan Cos.