New Platform Investment in the K-12 Education Sector
LONGMONT, Colo., Dec. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Exeter Street Capital Partners (“Exeter”), the private equity affiliate of Patriot Capital Group, today announced the majority recapitalization of Creative Learning Systems, LLC (d/b/a “SmartLab” or the “Company”) in partnership with IBC Funds, Siguler Guff, and members of the SmartLab leadership team.
Founded in 1987 and based in Longmont, Colorado, SmartLab is a rapidly growing tech-enabled education company that designs and delivers turnkey project-based learning environments with a STEM (“Science, Technology, Engineering, Math”) focus. SmartLab’s learning environments bundle a customized environment, curated kits and equipment, proprietary SaaS curriculum, professional development, and technical support into a single solution.
The Company has been a pioneer in developing engaging and collaborative learning spaces aligned with learning initiatives, like college and career readiness, STEM capacity building, and life skills. Today, SmartLab partners with the most innovative school leaders nationwide to implement learning solutions that increase a student’s capacity through engaged, active, and social problem-solving. SmartLab’s project-based learning approach has proven efficacy in improving student achievement and engagement with math and science, both inside and outside the classroom.
“We could not be more thrilled to partner with Ashley Mathis, CEO of SmartLab, as well as her extremely talented leadership team to forge the next chapter in SmartLab’s growth. SmartLab’s unique learning solutions take aim at solving an acute pain-point in K-12 education: the decreasing number of STEM-ready students prepared to fill the increasing number of STEM-required jobs in our economy. This is a tremendous opportunity to partner with a company that will do well by doing good,” said Franklin Staley, managing director of Exeter.
“We are excited to enter this next phase of growth for SmartLab and our employees,” said Ashley Mathis, SmartLab’s CEO. “For the last 3 years our team has put the building blocks in place to expand our national footprint, reach more schools with our unique turnkey solution, increase our market leadership position, and ultimately expand the number of students we serve. In partnership with Exeter and our new private equity partners, we intend to accelerate this growth and impact. Expect great things to come from SmartLab.”
Enterprise Bank and Trust provided senior debt financing for the deal. McGuireWoods LLP represented Exeter in the transaction.
About Exeter Street Capital Partners
Exeter invests in promising lower middle market businesses within the industrial growth & technology, business and consumer services sectors across North America. We begin by forming close partnerships with the existing ownership and management of growing businesses, then work in collaboration with key stakeholders to execute on strategies that will enhance the value of our collective investment. We take a long-term, partnership approach to investing, and are under no pre-determined timeline to exit or monetize our investments.
We focus on providing the strategic and operating resources growing business require to become market leaders. Our team collectively has over 100 years of investing experience, and we call on our network of operating advisors and executives to support our strategic objectives, depending on the situation and the need. Since its founding, the Exeter team has raised and deployed over $250 million across 11 investments.
For more information, please visit www.exeterstreetcapital.com.
SOURCE Exeter Street Capital Partners