Chicago-based Investor Backs Customized Open Educational Resources Provider for K-12 Schools and Colleges
Frontenac’s investment in XanEdu reflects growing demand for customized educational content and open educational resources in both higher education, and K-12 classrooms
CHICAGO, IL (JAN. 30, 2020) – Frontenac, a Chicago-based investment firm, today announced a major investment in XanEdu, the leading developer of custom content solutions for US colleges and universities and school districts. Founded in 1999, the company’s pioneering technology allows educators and institutions to draw from a multiplicity of content types, including open educational resources, to create personalized, low-cost educational solutions that reflects the unique needs of their state, community, or classroom.
“The world of education is in the midst of a massive transformation, fueled by growing educator demand for more customized content solutions,” said XanEdu CEO, John DeBoer. “As the popularity of personalization grows — and open educational resources become more widely adopted — our platform has filled a critical need for states, districts, and institutions working to create more efficient, effective, and engaging experiences for learners.”
With almost 90 percent of department chairs reporting that the cost of course materials is “a serious problem” and that 37 percent of K-12 districts are considering adopting at least one full-course open educational resources curriculum, there is clear demand for new types of course materials that are more affordable and engaging — disrupting both the $8 billion K-12 instructional materials market and the $10 billion higher education course materials market.
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, XanEdu serves more than 1,800 colleges and universities. By working directly with educators through a unique technology platform, XanEdu creates custom course materials and curricula to meet the needs of their students. XanEdu’s seamless combination of its content library of 8 million items, collaborative approach to developing personalized materials, and nimble fulfillment capabilities enables them to deliver materials that satisfy state and local requirements, while improving affordability, accessibility, and engagement.
“We are excited to partner with XanEdu, a company rooted in a powerful mission, as it enters an exciting new chapter,” said Michael Langdon, Managing Director of Frontenac. “For more than 20 years, XanEdu has built a reputation as a partner to colleges and K-12 schools, alike. This investment will enable XanEdu to continue investments in both people and product in ways that respond to the educators they serve. It’s about fueling investments in the sort of research and development, and partnerships, that will enable it to stay ahead of the curve, and continue to deliver a seamless experience as the market evolves.”
After closing, Frontenac CEO1ST® executive partner and former Thomson Higher Education CFO Ty Field will join XanEdu’s Board of Directors as Executive Chairman, bringing over 25 years education and training experience to the company. Field’s background includes many years in senior roles as CEO of Jones & Bartlett, a provider of training solutions in the emergency care, safety and other healthcare content markets, and as CFO of Ascend Learning, an online learning solutions company. Field will be joined on the Board by education industry veterans, Susan Badger and Ray Lowrey.
Honigman LLP served as legal counsel to Frontenac on the transaction. Dickinson Wright PLLC served as legal counsel and East Wind Advisors acted as financial advisor to XanEdu. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Since 1999, XanEdu has helped colleges, universities, school districts, and business organizations develop and deliver engaging learning experiences that fit learners’ needs. The Company’s strength lies in its ability to tailor content to the unique needs of individual educators, academic departments, or entire institutions. XanEdu allows educators to differentiate their course materials or curriculum by curating and integrating custom content including course packs, textbooks, and curricula. For more information, please visit www.xanedu.com.
Frontenac is a leading private equity firm, based in Chicago. The firm focuses on investing in lower middle market buyout transactions in the consumer, industrial, and services industries. Frontenac works in partnership with proven operating leaders, through our executive-centric approach called CEO1ST, to identify, acquire, and build market leading companies through transformational acquisitions and operational excellence. The firm has built a leading franchise working with over 300 owners of mid-sized businesses, almost always families or founders, as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. For more information, please visit www.frontenac.com.