Compass Education set to enter new international market via acquisition

29 June 2021

Compass Education, the Advent Partners-backed Australian provider of school management software, is working on an acquisition to accelerate market entry into a new international market, said Robert Radcliffe-Smith, Managing Partner at Advent.

Without disclosing in which new market the acquisition is taking place, Radcliffe-Smith said the company is actively assessing other acquisitions that facilitate entry into new markets or customer acquisition in target markets.

The Melbourne-headquartered company now has presence in Ireland, the UK and Canada, he said, noting that Compass will continue to build its presence across these markets via a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

Mergermarket reported in 2019 that Compass Education would consider education-related technology acquisitions in any of these geographies that could further build out its platform by providing better communication between education stakeholders like teachers, parents and students, as well as businesses that could support academic performance, citing co-founder and CEO John de la Motte.

The company recently announced it acquired Sydney-based provider of school administration software Momentum ESR for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will help the company build scale in New South Wales, noted Robert Hooke, Partner at Advent.

Advent Partners, which invested AUD 60m (USD 45m) into Compass Education in 2018, owns a substantial minority stake, Radcliffe-Smith said.

The PE firm is very happy with the company’s progress, he continued. Advent was attracted to Compass as, among other things, it is the only fully SaaS-based cloud school information platform in Australia, according to Radcliffe-Smith.

Hooke declined to provide details on Advent’s exit timeline or preferred exit mode. As Mergermarket reported earlier this year, Australia’s education technology companies are getting more interest as M&A and investment targets since the pandemic has accelerated the need for digitization in the education sector.

Likewise Compass has seen its business benefiting from the pandemic, according to Hooke. The company increased its revenue by 65% in the 12 months to January 2021, driven by dramatically boosted demand for edtech during the pandemic, he said. There are favourable tailwinds driving schools to adopt unified school information systems, he said.

Compass, which has more than 150 employees, serves more than 1,800 schools in its markets with the tools needed to reduce time-consuming repetitive tasks. The platform facilitates many aspects of a school’s operations, including student information management, roll marking, parent communication and cashless school canteens.

by Christel Thunell in Sydney

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