Ibis Capital, profiled in AlphaQ, a specialist education technology alternative investment manager, is to launch the world’s first education technology special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
The new company will be called EdTechX Holdings and will list on Nasdaq, according to a regulatory filing.
ExTechX Holdings intends to build a next generation education platform through the targeted acquisition, consolidation and development of established education, training and education technology businesses that are early adopters of technology and led by proven management teams.
IBIS Capital and Azimut Enterprises, a European independent asset management company with over USD61 billion of assets under management, are listed as sponsor investors in EdtechX Holdings.
EdTechX Holdings is led by Executive Chairman Charles McIntyre, and CEO Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet (pictured). McIntyre is the CEO and co-founder of IBIS Capital and has over 25 years’ experience building businesses in the edtech, media and financial services sectors. Vedrenne-Cloquet has served as Operating Partner of IBIS Capital since 2013 and has over 17 years of operational, investment and advisory experience in the media, advertising and education industries.
In 2013 Charles and Benjamin co-founded EdTechX Global, a world leading industry conference series and insight network with access to over 5,000 companies and 1000 industry leaders, innovators and influencers in the education, training and edtech industries.
The filing states that ‘private education, training and edtech industries present attractive characteristics of: long term growth prospects globally, stable and cycle-proof demand, fragmented market with opportunities for consolidation, lack of dominant players and global brands, predictable digital transition patterns, and a large universe (estimated at over 10,000) of growing and profitable targets’.
It adds: “We believe that five long-term trends are driving positive transformation in the education and training industry, creating opportunities for long term value-creation in the sector specifically and, more broadly, in the associated knowledge economy.
“These drivers of transformation are: Digitization (the use of digital content and services), Personalization (designing education and training on a bespoke basis for the individual), Privatization (the growing private supply of education and training), Automation (the use of artificial intelligence and data to enhance efficacy and efficiency of education and training) and Globalization (the international development and dissemination of content, certification, technology and brands). We intend to take advantage of these long-term trends impacting the sector and to the associated consolidation and value-creation opportunities.”
The filing also states: “We believe that by being the first blank check listed company thematically focused on the education, training and edtech industry, we will create an alternative path to a traditional IPO and a selective consolidation platform for the large universe of growing and profitable privately-held companies which could benefit from having a direct access to capital market to achieve their long term goals and take advantage of growth, consolidation and disruption opportunities available in the sector globally.”
Richard Culatta, former Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education under the Obama Administration, is listed in the filing as a special adviser.
SPACs are now increasingly being used by mainstream private equity players in the United States as alternative vehicles to traditional funds. They do not charge management fees and are designed to provide greater liquidity to investors.
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