Graduation day for edupreneurs
These three entrepreneurs sold their successful education firms to big companies for big bucks.
(FSB Magazine) -- Education companies have been rolling up small firms like it was 1999, a trend that accelerated in early September, when three entrepreneurs sold their companies.
Burt Cutler founded Educational Insights in Rancho Dominguez, Calif., to sell tools that he had developed to teach his daughter to read. Thirty-four years later (and with some 750 products), Cutler, 80, sold his $30-million-a-year business to Learning Resources, which paid $24.2 million and assumed about $5 million in debt.
Stephen Kramer and Michael London were Babson College freshmen in the late 1980s when they decided to start a college-admission-counseling company, but it wasn't until 1998 that they got College Coach off the ground. With a staff of 50, the Newton, Mass., company sells individual admission-counseling packages, as well as corporate packages that firms such as Cisco (Charts), IBM (Charts), and Johnson & Johnson (Charts) offer to employees. The two 36-year-olds built their company to a $6-million-a-year ($1 million in profit) business before selling it to Bright Horizons Family Solutions (Charts) for an undisclosed price.
In 1996, University of Missouri undergraduate Kyle Yamnitz founded Lessonplanspage.com, an advertising-supported Web site that lets teachers share plans free. After a year of discussion he sold the Blue Springs, Mo., company to HotChalk, a provider of collaborative software for teachers, students and parents. "It's not something I was looking to do, but I found a partner with the same goals - making teaching easier without cost to educators," he says.
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