Follett Launches $50 Million Education-Focused Venture Fund
Partnership with Atrium Capital to Target Early-Stage Education and Technology Companies
Follett Corporation today announced the establishment of the Follett Knowledge Fund, a capital funding source for new technologies that have the potential to improve and even disrupt the way educational content is delivered and consumed. Follett has committed $50 million to the fund, which complements and extends the company’s extensive portfolio of digital solutions and tools.
“Follett has a long track record of investing in and introducing new technologies to the education marketplace, whether it be in K-12 classrooms, on college campuses or wherever learning takes place,” said Mary Lee Schneider, President and CEO, Follett Corporation. “The Knowledge Fund will enable us to identify and invest in early-stage technologies that will make educational materials more accessible and affordable to students and educators alike.”
The fund will be co-managed by Atrium Capital, based in Menlo Park, Calif. Atrium will partner with Follett to identify, analyze and manage investment opportunities for the fund and serve as an adjunct to Follett’s business development activities in the emerging technology space.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Follett Corporation to pursue EdTech innovations,” said Russell B. Pyne, Managing Partner of Atrium Capital. “Follett is an extraordinary company with a great market position in the education space, and a clear vision for the future. The Knowledge Fund will serve as a launch pad for entrepreneurs seeking to transform the education landscape.”
With the largest footprint in the K-12 education market, Follett provides physical and digital content solutions to more than 70,000 schools. Follett is focused on improving student outcomes with services that range from providing schools with single-point access to digital content using the Follett Shelf™, to connecting vital student data and learning content on any device with Aspen®, the company’s student information system. Most recently, in support of the new Common Core State Standards, schools are using Follett’s Titlewave® platform to assess their existing collections, identify gaps, then find and purchase the physical and digital titles they need from thousands of publishers and other sources of content.
On the higher education front, Follett serves more than 10 million students, faculty, alumni and fans across North America. Follett provides a wide scope of course material and delivery options at over 1,000 colleges and universities across North America. Follett is the largest operator of college bookstores with a significant online and e-commerce presence in education—ranked No. 71 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide, an authoritative listing of the 500 leading players in North American e-retailing. Whether customers want to purchase or rent print or digital course materials, or want access to the latest trends in quality emblematic clothing, gifts or related products, Follett is focused on giving the entire campus community affordable, flexible options.
To learn more about the Follett Knowledge Fund, visit www.follett.com, or www.atriumcapital.com.
About Atrium Capital
Atrium Capital is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has been co-managing and advising strategic corporate venture programs for more than two decades. Atrium executes its investment activities through partnerships with major corporations seeking to tap innovations developed by entrepreneurs on a worldwide basis. Atrium’s current corporate relationships include Samsung and Honda Motor. More information is available at www.atriumcapital.com.
About Follett Corporation
Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately-held company.