LOUISVILLE, Ky (June 2, 2020) — Louisville-based Chrysalis Ventures has made its third portfolio company exit in the past nine months, announcing today it has sold its equity position in online college course delivery platform StraighterLine. Financial details were not revealed, but Chrysalis said in a news release that it was part of a strategic recapitalization of StraighterLine led by private equity firm BV Investment Partners.
“We congratulate StraighterLine CEO Burck Smith and President David Parento on this important milestone in the company’s trajectory and are immensely proud of both the company’s performance and the positive impact it has made in the lives of tens of thousands of students,” Chrysalis said via its release. “We also congratulate Chrysalis Partner Wright Steenrod, who worked with the management team from its earliest days, as they built StraighterLine into a rapidly growing and profitable company.”
StraighterLine delivers college-level general education courses in an online, low-cost, self-paced format that allows students to earn credits that can be applied toward a degree at hundreds of accredited colleges and universities. The company’s offering allows students to complete coursework on their own schedule and even pause their studies “when life gets in the way” without the financial and reputational repercussions of dropping out of traditional institutions, according to Chrysalis.
Fulfilling a portion of their degree requirements through StraighterLine also lowers the overall cost of a degree for students, allowing them to graduate with less debt. By offering both a more flexible schedule and college credit at a lower cost, StraighterLine makes college more attainable.
Chrysalis was the first institutional investor in Baltimore-based StraighterLine and worked closely with its team to navigate the higher education market and expand the company’s reach.
“We seeded the company based on our confidence in the team and a thesis that the increasing cost of traditional higher education would prompt a growing number of students to look for ways to lower the price of attendance,” Chrysalis states in its release. “We thought this was particularly true for students unsure whether they were ready for college and reluctant to take on the burden of debt to enroll. We also believed the large population of non-traditional students – such as those who are older or not able to attend college full time – who value schedule flexibility would drive demand for StraighterLine’s self-paced model. These theses have been borne out by the company’s emergence as a leader in the online education market.”
Chrysalis Ventures, according to its web site, seeks to partner with management teams across Mid-America to build businesses with enduring value through technology and active collaboration, particularly in the healthcare, education and training fields. Chrysalis Ventures manages over $400 million and has invested in more than 70 companies during its 25-year history. management teams to build companies of enduring value through data-driven management.
StraighterLine’s consistent growth and market leadership as well as its ability to command strong buyer interest and close a transaction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic perfectly illustrate such enduring value.