Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (SIBE), through its wholly owned subsidiary Blended Schools Network (BSN), provides benchmark-quality online curriculum for K-12 schools, including professional development for teachers, complete course authoring tools and learning management system (LMS) administration and support. Sibling is focused on market expansion and new product development to meet global demand by leveraging educational technology to improve student performance.
The education sector is experiencing significant disruption from innovations in delivery. Stakeholders now seek more effective and efficient solutions to improve student achievement while driving down overall costs.
Sibling is a roll-up, not a start-up, with an emphasis on three segments:
- Educational Technology (“Ed-tech”)
Curriculum design and development
Sibling is positioning to be a leader in education transformation creating high-quality lifelong learning options for the global marketplace.
The May 2014 acquisition of BSN provides Sibling with extensive infrastructure and solid groundwork for growth in a rapidly growing industry. BSN offers 212 different online courses. The network served more than 160 school districts with more than 300,000 course enrollments last year.
IBIS Capital is forecasting 15-fold growth in the eLearning market over the next 10 years. The firm has even suggested that under certain circumstances the transition to digital education may be quicker and more disruptive than ever experienced in the media industry. With a strong, highly experienced management team, Sibling is in a unique position to continue expanding its portfolio through additional acquisitions and fundamental growth.
- Active Acquisition Strategy
Strategic Industry Partnerships
Established, Successful Subsidiary
Experienced Management Team
Player in Proliferating e-Learning Market
Blended Schools Network
Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace while still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.
In May, 2013, Sibling acquired Blended Schools Network (“BSN”), a company founded 12 years ago to ensure school districts could compete with the rise of online learning.
BSN has emerged as one of the most experienced providers of high-quality online content servicing school districts in the mid-Atlantic, primarily in the State of Pennsylvania.
Under the BSN model, schools are able to:
- Assist homebound, charter school and homeschool students
Provide increased gifted/talented education or accelerated programs
Provide alternative education opportunities for struggling students
Provide more cost effective summer school solutions
Supplement regular classroom instruction to improve outcomes
Provide for students who travel
Establish credit recovery courses to increase graduation rates
In its 12-year history, BSN has built a client base of more than 160 school districts, some of which have been clients for a decade. BSN also boasts the following achievements and/or features:
- Annual contract renewals have averaged approximately 90%
Served over 300,000 student enrollments for the 2013-2014 school year
212 courses, 15,000 individual lessons, and 12,000 videos
Cloud-based course hosting allows for easy integration into any school system
Low cost structure allows for very favorable pricing model
Professional development and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) in online learning that has reached over 30,000 teachers plus educators in over 200 countries
Market Shift to Blended and e-Learning
Higher education e-learning is the major revenue generator in e-learning industry today and is projected to grow 25% CAGR through 2017. K-12 (Primary and secondary education) e-learning projected to grow at a CAGR of 33% in between 2012 – 2017. Corporate e-learning is the third contributor wherein the CAGR has been projected at 8% in between 2012.
In a 2013 survey of the K-12 and higher education professionals:
- 70% of K-12 teachers visit social media sites to exchange ideas, get free resources and share lesson plans
74% of K-12 teachers have taken at least one professional development course online in 2013 - up from 64% the previous year
81% if teachers used at least one type of digital content with students daily or a few times a week
79% of college professors used some type of digital content with students daily or a few times a week
42% of college professors report teaching some or all of a course online
Sibling’s acquisition of BSN provided a great product and service organization, fulfilling many of Sibling’s internal goals without the need to add additional staff and investment. The acquisition also immediately adds revenues and growth potential, contributing an established user base of school districts and a historical revenue stream of around $3 million into the company. Moving forward, Sibling will utilize BSN’s well-respected platform as a means to expand both the number of product offerings and rapidly expand national and international sales from its historic and proven base.
- Expand sales and marketing team to grow existing market well beyond current footprint
Expand innovative offerings including the “Learning Institute,” AP courses, credit recovery and gifted classes
Expand distribution channels including independent schools, charters, college remediation and industry training
Sibling will leverage existing expertise to expand the number of products offered through the BSN platform and customer base:
- Special Education – integrate the PLC Associations special education professional development with the BSN professional development center
Develop fully online Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program for teachers and schools through the BSN curriculum development team and host on the BSN site
Develop fully online Child Development Associate (CDA) credential which is gaining popularity as an entry level requirement for entry level positions in child care and Pre-K (required by Headstart)
Use Classchatter.com as a marketing gateway for Blended Schools Network courses
Organic Growth – Sibling aims to grow its current portfolio of education companies nationally and internationally via increased sales and joint marketing opportunities.
- Utilize state and district Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process to increase customer base for BSN products
Direct to school district sales – numerous opportunities through the district purchasing process
Increase sales and marketing staff
- Sign formal partnership with School Improvement Network incorporating BSN content into their Student Centered Learning program
Partner with Blackboard for K-12 online curriculum sales
Partner with Canvas by Instructure, Inc., to bid on school district business requiring both Learning Management System and content
Acquisition – Sibling’s acquisition strategy starts with the identification and acquisition of regional players with limited financial resources and distribution to ultimately deliver a sound platform and expertise enabling national and international expansion.
The education industry is highly fractured, both in the technology and education management arenas. There are many providers, each generally focused on a small part of the need, and few with comprehensive solutions. Further, there is an absence of financial resources for many and no obvious exit strategy for most. Couple this with a growing market, and Sibling believes the area is ripe for a growth strategy based on acquisitions, not just domestically, but worldwide.
Within Sibling’s technology and services operations it seeks to promote both conventional and digital learning tools in support of the blended learning environment. Within its education management organization (EMO), the company seeks to acquire existing school management operations, both domestically and internationally. Sibling believes there are strong synergies to be achieved when technology is combined with education management, and then increased in scale across private, public, charter and other teaching environments.
Creating a global lifelong learning organization
Sibling is actively pursuing avenues for growth, demonstrating a track-record of consistent progression:
- Purchased ClassChatter.com K-12 web tools for blended learning with over 20,000 users – closed Q1, 2013
Purchased PLC Consultants to create Special Education training for all teachers – closed Q3, 2013
In-house advisors began work on a Childhood Development Specialist program and Social Emotional Learning program to launch in Q3 2014
Purchased AccleratingED, an education consulting services firm in Q1 2014
Purchased the assets of the Blended Schools Network which provides services to over 160 school districts in Q1 2014
2013 Industry Research Shows Tremendous Potential
While education as a whole is triple the size of the media and entertainment industry at $4.2 trillion, digital education is currently only 20% of the size of the digital media market. The education sector is rapidly evolving with stakeholders seeking more effective, low-cost solutions that fully leverage technology to create the best possible outcomes for students. In fact, IBIS Capital recently forecast 15-fold growth in the e-learning market over the next 10 years.
IBIS research also stated that education is undergoing the same disruptive effects of digitalization that the media industry saw in the last decade and further suggested that under certain circumstances the transition to digital education may be quicker and more disruptive than ever observed in the media industry.
Industry experts project that by 2019, 50% of all high school courses will be delivered online, and as such Sibling has placed an initial focus on K-12 education & eLearning.
Forecast of students (in millions) participating in online optionsonline and blended school options:
SIBE Outlook; 2014 and Beyond
- Utilize state and district Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process to increase customer base for BSN products.
Increase sales team to take BSN’s K-12 public education offering to larger national and international markets
Leverage partnerships for national distribution of BSN content and white label content
Launch a direct to consumer effort to sell courses into the self-learning, home schooling, private school and other markets
Add complete professional development curriculum for teachers including the PLC special education offering with Master’s degree credits, and a CDA accreditation program, opening up the market for Pre-K
Continue to analyze pipeline for potential acquisition targets
Sibling is powered by a management team with more than 100 collective years of experience and a shared vision to leverage cutting-edge technology and educational trends to provide lifelong learning opportunities.
Maurine Findley, Chief Executive Officer
Maurine Findley has more than 30 years of experience, primarily in the proprietary post-secondary education industry, including strategy, implementation and operating roles with roll-up and investment portfolio companies, both public and private. She has played a critical role in creating successful merger and acquisition strategies as well as building successful education operations. Findley’s experience includes rolls as Chief Financial Officer in private equity backed multi-campus post-secondary institutions. Her educational includes a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of California, Irvine, graduating Magna cum Laude, and continuing graduate studies prior to joining KPMG Peat Marwick, where she began her accounting career. (Joined SIBE April 2014)
Dave Saba, President
For the past 15 years Dave Saba has been involved in the successful launch, management and operations of K-12 and higher education companies with a focus on increasing sales and marketing. Positions included serving as President of ABCTE during their turnaround and Regional Director at Kaplan, managing a team of more than 300 employees at 15 educational centers in six states. Saba is 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy serving with distinction in the Navy as a lieutenant commander and helicopter pilot. (Joined SIBE March 2014)
Angelle Judice, Chief Financial Officer
Angelle Judice recently served as Corporate Controller for Education Management, Inc., at Blue Cliff College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Prior to Briar Cliff, Judice was employed by Provost, Salter, Harper & Alford, LLC, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana audit and tax firm, working in their tax and audit sections. She has held senior accounting and finance positions in the media industry, including two years with the Louisiana Radio network, and ten years with WAFB-TV, a CBS affiliate and part of the RAYCOM Media Network. Judice’s educational and professional background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University, a member of LCPA and AICPA, and a registered CPA for over 22 years. (Joined SIBE July 2014)
Jed Friedrichsen, Chief Academic Officer
Jed Friedrichsen has the responsibility for Sibling Group’s academic products, services strategy and implementation. Friedrichsen was most recently Chief Executive Officer of the Blended Schools Network (acquired by Sibling May 2014), and is responsible for Blended’s day-to-day operations. Friedrichsen is a well-known expert in instructional design and implementation, and has led the Blended Schools Network for more than nine years, as both CEO, and Chief Administrative Officer before that. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Nebraska, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University. He is a noted speaker in the area of education, as well as an advisor, including the following: member of the Professional Leadership Development Center Board of Directors; Teaching with Technology Advisor for Oracle Corporation’s Global Think.com Advisory Committee; Professional Development Advisor for the MarcoPolo Education Foundation Field Trainer Committee; member of the iNACOL Quality Standards for Online Programs authoring committee; Senior Instructional Designer at the University of Nebraska (for the Nation’s first accredited online high school). Friedrichsen was awarded the Blackboard Catalyst Award for K-12 Excellence in Virtual Learning Leadership. (Joined SIBE May 2014)
Richard Marshall, Chief Development Officer
Richard Marshall has more than 18 years of experience working within public companies most recently serving as Vice President of Investor Relations for a large multinational mining company and serving as VP of Corporate Development for several years during their growth and acquisitions phase. Prior to roles in Corporate Development and Investor Relations, Marshall held sales and management positions at several investment banking firms, including Cohig & Associates and CSG. (Joined SIBE June 2014)
Amy L. Lance, Chairman of the Board & Director
Amy L. Lance has been an advisor to growth oriented and turnaround situations in larger regional and national non-profit organizations, working primarily with high level management and finance departments. Lance brings experience in organizational formation as founder, CEO and President for 15 years of a successful non-profit organization whose outstanding programs instill in young adults the tools they need for embracing education and self-improvement.
Mack Leath, Director
Mack Leath is a senior executive with 30 + years of experience in business management, including a number of rapid growth and start-up situations. He has been a sales and marketing professional in petro-chemical distribution, software and construction related products as well as healthcare. His roles include financial management and capital markets.
Dr. Andrew Honeycutt, Director
Dr. Andrew Honeycutt holds a Doctorate in Business from Harvard University, and an MBA from Boston University. Andrew has an extensive background in education and the teaching profession and his experience includes positions with a number of HBCU’s (Historical Black Colleges and Universities). He served as Dean and Director at a number of colleges and universities and successfully implemented virtual classes and remote teaching technologies. From 2007-present, Dr. Honeycutt has been the Distinguished Business Fellow and Director of the Business Undergraduate Program, Shorter College, Rome, GA. From 2005 to 2007, he was Dean of the Akio Morita School of Business, Anaheim University.
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