EOF enters the early childhood education sector
CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund (“EOF”) announced today its investment in Big Blue Marble Academy (“BBMA”), a growing early childhood education organization that operates twenty-two community-based schools and six public elementary afterschool programs in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas.
Founded in 2012 by Nan Rikard, BBMA provides high-quality, education-based programs for children ranging from infancy through age four, as well as before and after school and summer camp programs. The company offers a unique, proprietary curriculum, a rich language immersion program, and hands-on, student-led philanthropic activities, all of which are core to the organization’s mission of promoting student readiness and success.
“I started the company because I felt a responsibility to provide more than a daycare environment for children and their families and to truly help the children develop into curious and engaged global citizens,” explained Rikard. “I’m thrilled to now have trusted partners to help bring our program to even more young students to help ensure their future success.”
Joining BBMA’s executive management team is Scott Cotter, who will serve as CEO. Cotter brings decades of leadership and industry experience.
“For the next stage of my career, I was looking for a meaningful opportunity to leverage my knowledge, network, and passion for the industry. In that respect I couldn’t have found a better partner than Sterling’s Education Opportunity Fund,” said Cotter. “As we usher Big Blue Marble Academy into its next phase of growth, we are excited to leverage talent across the organization as well as bring new resources to bear.”
This partnership marks EOF’s fifth platform investment. Since EOF’s initial investment in BBMA, the company has made follow-on investments in East Lake Academy and Brenwood Academy, which are now part of the BBMA family of schools.
“We identified early childhood education as an attractive sector and it was Big Blue Marble’s distinctive programmatic model and approach that stood out to us,” said Brian Schwartz, a Principal with the Education Opportunity Fund. “We are excited to partner with Scott and Nan to grow the company and provide more families with access to high-quality early childhood education.”
About Big Blue Marble Academy: Big Blue Marble Academy is an early childhood education business operating twenty-two community-based schools and six public elementary after school programs located across South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas. The organization provides high-quality, education-based programs for children ranging from infancy through age four, as well as before and after school and summer camp programs. For more information, visit http://bbmacademy.com/.
About Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund: Sterling Partners is a diversified investment management firm committed to building high-quality companies. Its eighth private equity fund, the Education Opportunity Fund (“EOF”), was launched in partnership with Strada Education Network in April 2015. The Fund’s objective is to invest in purpose-driven companies and partner with high-performing leaders who are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education landscape. EOF targets opportunities where it can invest $10 million to $50 million of equity capital in growth-stage, technology-relevant businesses. For more information, visit www.educationfund.sterlingpartners.com.