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Acelero, Inc. to Expand its Impact in Early Childhood Education with Investment led by the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund and The Builders Fund

October 4, 2022

Acelero, Inc. today announced that the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund and The Builders Fund have co-led a strategic investment in the company that will help expand its mission to dismantle inequities in early childhood education across the country. The BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund seeks to improve economic outcomes for undercapitalized communities of color while uncovering compelling investment opportunities for its clients. BlackRock is joined in this funding round by The Builders Fund, which is focused on purpose-driven companies whose business models deliver positive social and environmental benefits, and A-Street, which invests in innovative preK-12 student learning and achievement solutions for students, families and schools. Acelero will leverage the funding to support continued product development, further deepen its district partnerships, and augment talent recruitment efforts.

Acelero, Inc., and its divisions Acelero Learning, Shine Early Learning, and Spark Learning Lab, are pioneers in early childhood education and family engagement services, impacting more than 150,000 children ages birth to five and their families across 28 states and territories through their work with state agencies, child care centers, home-based providers, private and public pre-K and Head Start and Early Head Start programs. This investment will fund the company’s future growth and allow it to serve more children, families, and communities. 

According to Co-founder and CEO Henry Wilde, this funding will support the company’s  mission to deepen and broaden its impact in communities across the country.

“We are pleased to join forces with the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund, The Builders Fund, and A-Street – a unique group of mission-driven investors aligned with our mission. They understand that universal access to high quality early childhood education, regardless of a child’s race or income, is critical to dismantling inequity, and they share our vision of a world where children become champions of their own making,” said Wilde.

“We are proud to support Acelero in its mission to close the achievement gap and advance education outcomes at scale. Acelero’s strong fundamentals and leading technology-enabled services platform, along with its vision to eliminate historical biases and systemic inequities in the U.S. education system, makes the company a compelling investment for our clients,” said Aarthi Sowrirajan, Senior Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund. “We look forward to partnering with Henry and Acelero’s management team, together with Builders and A-Street, to help extend Acelero’s footprint and deepen its impact across communities.”

“The massive unmet need for quality early childhood education has only been heightened by the pandemic, and Acelero is uniquely positioned to deliver improved child and family outcomes at scale.  The company’s impressive operating history, the caliber of its mission-driven team, and its commitment to data-driven innovation attracted Builders to the opportunity.  We are proud to partner with Acelero management, the BIO Fund, and A-Street to steward the company’s continued growth and impact.” said Katharine Hawthorne, Vice President at The Builders Fund.

“At a time of unprecedented challenges facing early childhood education in our country, we need proven solutions that provide high quality support to underserved communities. For more than 20 years, Acelero has been committed to closing the achievement gap and has delivered breakthrough child outcome gains. We are thrilled to partner alongside the BIO Fund and The Builders Fund to support the management team as Acelero enters this new phase of growth to scale its impact and reach even more families across the country,” commented Mora Segal, Managing Director at A-Street. 

In addition, three members of the investor syndicate will join Acelero’s board. Aarthi Sowrirajan, from the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund; Katharine Hawthorne, from The Builders Fund; and Mora Segal, from A-Street; will join Tonika Cheek Clayton, of McKinsey and Company, and Scott Miller, from Greenhaven Road Capital, on Acelero’s Board of Directors. 

East Wind Advisors served as the exclusive financial advisor for Acelero in the transaction.