Spire Capital Announces Sale of Professional Education Platform Surgent

  • Linda Barish
  • November 19, 2019

NEW YORK, November 20, 2019 – Spire Capital Partners (“Spire Capital”), a private equity firm specializing in investments across the technology-enabled business services, media, education and communications sectors, closed on the sale of Surgent Professional Education (“Surgent”), a leading provider of end-to-end professional education, from pre-licensure thru continuing education for accounting, finance and healthcare professionals, to NexPhase Capital, an operationally-focused, independent private equity firm.

Spire Capital has significant experience investing in the education sector and, in Surgent, executed a successful buy and build strategy that demonstrated significant organic growth accompanied by a number of strategic acquisitions. During Spire’s investment period, Surgent expanded its business into multiple new end markets, while also establishing itself as a professional education platform company leveraging its substantial investments in technology, operations, sales and marketing.

Originally a professional education business serving continuing education to Certified Public Accountants primarily through live events, Surgent has quickly grown over the course of the Spire investment to service a number of accounting, finance and healthcare professional licenses through digital delivery of both licensure exam review and continuing education.

Over the course of the investment period, Surgent:

  • Created a sophisticated platform to enable the efficient development and digital delivery of interactive continuing professional education (CPE) courses, as well as an intuitive online system that streamlines CPE management for accounting firms and individual CPAs.
  • Built an artificial intelligence-enabled, easily extensible adaptive learning platform for online exam preparation.
  • Developed the processes, human capital and infrastructure necessary to sell and deliver professional education products and services to multiple markets and channels.
  • Built data-driven digital marketing systems and processes to continually refine and optimize customer acquisition and dramatically improve retention.

The senior management team, led by CEO Evan Kramer, guided the company’s rapid transformation into a highly agile, innovative, and data-driven business, which continues to fuel its gains. “Data science has been transformative for our business. We’ve been able to achieve complete visibility into our business KPIs at all levels of the organization and we use those KPIs, as well as our agile workflows, to drive innovation and optimize for results. We have enjoyed our partnership with Spire Capital, as they have guided us through and invested in our transformation. Based on our track record of success, we are confident that these data-driven approaches will yield many more successes in the future.”

“We knew that Surgent had the capacity to grow from a best-in-class provider of CPE for CPAs into a professional education platform company that could expand successfully in many directions. We’ve been delighted to help support turning that vision into reality, including our building of a senior management team with deep experience in digital marketing and customer acquisition, as well as additional investments we made in human capital, technology, and infrastructure, which helped Surgent drive transformative change in the sector,” said Bruce Hernandez, Chairman of Surgent and a partner in Spire Capital. “We would like to thank Evan and his team for their hard work and effort to transform Surgent into the market leading company it is today.”

Piper Jaffray acted as exclusive financial advisor to Spire Capital and Surgent, while Dentons US LLP and Eisner LLP provided legal counsel to the company.

About Surgent
Founded in 1985, Surgent (https://www.surgent.com/) provides continuing professional education and exam preparation courses to the accounting, finance and healthcare sectors. Surgent’s services help exam takers become credentialed and satisfy required credit hours and remain informed on the latest trends in their industries thereafter.

About Spire Capital Partners
Spire Capital (https://spirecapital.com/) is an active and experienced private equity firm with an investment focus in small market companies within the technology-enabled business services, media, communications and education sectors. Spire Capital was founded on the principle of partnering with management teams and founders to help effectuate the next stage of growth for their companies. Spire professionals have a broad array of past operating, investing and advisory experiences they leverage to help portfolio companies accelerate growth, guide strategic direction and execute their business plan.

For more details, contact:
Bruce M. Hernandez
Spire Capital Partners
(610) 397-1704 direct

Spire Capital is a New York based investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Act of 1940. Market conditions can vary over time and past fund performance does not guarantee future fund results.