Sterling Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

June 4, 2012

A premier Chicago-based digital media arts college offers unique career-focused degree programs

Northbrook, Ill., June 4, 2012 – Sterling Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm with approximately $5 billion of assets under management, has acquired a majority stake in Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, Chicago’s premier digital media arts college. TFA has gained national prominence for providing students real-world, hands-on projects using cutting-edge digital technology in a two-year, career-focused program. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and the transaction remains subject to certain regulatory filings.

TFA has been led by veteran high-tech entrepreneur Howard A. Tullman, its president and CEO, since it began operations in 2007. From a central downtown Chicago campus and two learning sites, TFA offers associate’s degrees in four disciplines, including film and broadcast, game and interactive media, recording arts, and animation and visual effects. In September, it will introduce graphic design and visual communication.

Sterling Partners concentrates on investing growth capital in small and mid-market companies in three primary sectors: education, healthcare and business services. Sterling has a long history in building leading education companies that focus on providing superior outcomes for students.

“This important partnership between Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and Sterling Partners will arm our young people with the tools to find quality jobs and launch careers in a rapidly evolving digital world, and is the kind of initiative that will help cement Chicago’s position as a hub for exceptional educational institutions for higher learning,” said Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago. “Investments like this one — where Chicago-based private equity firms are investing in Chicago institutions — are important to the city’s future economic success.”

“Educational institutions today must provide their students with the technical and critical-thinking skills required to succeed in a workplace that’s increasingly changing, and Tribeca Flashpoint Academy does just that,” said Jason Rosenberg, a Sterling principal. “We are thrilled to partner with the management team led by Howard Tullman as well as with the existing investors, to continue building a world-class program at one of the nation’s leading digital media arts schools.”

“Sterling Partners’ education expertise, tremendous resources and capital support will enhance and expand TFA’s ability to train tomorrow’s innovators and leaders in digital media. The digital revolution impacts businesses across the globe – whether it’s consumer goods, media, education, medicine, gaming, music, animation, film and broadcast, visual effects or visual communications,” said Tullman.

“We are very excited to partner with Sterling Partners to continue to build out the vision for TFA,” said Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of Tribeca Educational Ventures LLC and the Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca Enterprises became an investor in TFA in 2010.

At TFA, which is accredited by the American Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the curriculum erases the traditional boundaries between education and the professional world through a combination of hands-on learning, expert instruction and an emphasis on collaboration and professionalism. TFA has achieved strong placement rates across each of its core disciplines. Graduates have taken jobs with such companies as Disney, NBC Universal, Nickelodeon and a variety of other leading media and advertising companies.

About Sterling Partners

Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Founded in 1983, Sterling has invested billions of dollars, guided by the company’s stated purpose: INSPIRED GROWTHTM, which describes Sterling’s approach to buying differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling focuses on investing growth capital in small and mid-market companies in industries with positive, long-term trends – education, healthcare, and business services. Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of operations and functional experts based in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.

The people at Sterling believe in ideas and ideals, in people and partnerships that drive long-term success. For more information, please visit

About Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, Chicago’s premier digital media arts college, offers a two-year, career-focused program leading to an associate degree in disciplines including Film & Broadcast, Game & Interactive Media, Recording Arts, Animation & Visual Effects and, most recently, Graphic Design & Visual Communication. The downtown Chicago campus and two learning sites provide a combination of hands-on learning, expert instruction, cutting-edge technology and an emphasis on collaboration and professionalism. TFA is accredited by the American Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. For more information, please visit Click here to watch a video of CEO Howard Tullman describing Tribeca Flashpoint’s mission and approach.