Through its Connections Academy business, the company operates online or ‘virtual’ public schools in 21 states in the US—serving more than 40,000 students in the current school year. These virtual charter schools are accredited and funded by the relevant state and are free to parents and students who choose a virtual school in place of a traditional public institution or other schooling options.
Connections Academy is another success for Harbor East-based Sterling Partners, backers of Laureate and Educate/Sylvan. There’s some family history in that Peter Cohen, President of Pearson’s School Group, came from both Sterling and Sylvan and was on the board at Connections before joining Pearson about three years ago.
Some EdTech experts believe that the exit for Connections will encourage more investors to enter the space. Also, because Pearson is showing a considerable effort to invest in consolidation, this should open up more opportunities for education startups in the near term.
I can’t think of a better reason to encourage Baltimore-based entrepreneurs to focus on Education than a story like this. If you’re interested in the space, I encourage you to check out the upcoming Education Hack Day taking place at Digital Harbor High School next weekend. Around 100 software developers and designers will be working with teachers to build products for the classroom in a competition-style event. Hopefully some of those products will manifest into companies. Who knows, maybe down the road a similar success story will be written about one of the winning teams.
Congrats Connections, Pearson, and of course Baltimore.-30-
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