Google Capital Takes Minority Stake in Renaissance Learning

2/19/14Follow @XconomyWI

Renaissance Learning, the education software firm based in central Wisconsin, has received a $40 million investment from Google Capital that makes the fund a minority stakeholder, the companies announced today.

The deal values Renaissance at $1 billion. The New York Times first reported the $40 million figure.

The deal marks Google Capital’s first investment in an education-related company. The $300 million fund, aimed at investing in late-stage tech companies, was formed last year and has also put money into SurveyMonkey and Lending Club.

Wisconsin Rapids, WI-based Renaissance was acquired in October 2011 by U.K. private equity firm Permira Advisors, a deal that a minority Renaissance shareholder has challenged in court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court said this month that it will hear the case, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported.

Google Capital will get a seat on Renaissance’s board, which in December added former Adobe CEO and current Oracle board member Bruce Chizen.

Nearly 20 million K-12 students and teachers worldwide use Renaissance’s cloud-based software tools for assessment and learning analytics, the company said. Renaissance’s revenue grew 20 percent last year.

“Education is in the midst of a transformation, and today there is enormous potential to diagnose the needs of every student and then empower teachers with actionable, precise data to help students realize their full learning potential,” said Jack Lynch, Renaissance Learning’s CEO, in a press release. “Now, more than ever, teachers are combining the insight we provide with their own expertise as they access a vast array of great content, from sources such as Google Play for Education, to accelerate learning.”

Terrance and Judith Paul founded Renaissance in 1986. The company employs 900 people worldwide, including 600 in central Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported.

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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