BV Investment Partners Announces Investment in StraighterLine

BV Investment Partners (“BV”), a middle-market private equity firm focused on the tech-enabled business services, software and IT services sectors, announced today that it has made a significant investment in StraighterLine, an education technology company that provides scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials.

StraighterLine was founded in 2009 by Burck Smith and David Parento, with the singular goal of reducing the price of higher education. StraighterLine’s platform offers a full library of competency-based, student-paced online courses through a subscription model that provides inclusive access to the course library, textbook and materials, live academic and administrative support, success coaching, proctoring and grading.

Today, StraighterLine helps universities and colleges establish new affordable learning pathways to drive greater student success and bring within reach of more students a career-relevant postsecondary degree or certificate. StraighterLine also works with employers to create affordable, effective and accelerated career pathways and ladders that align with a client’s skill demands and lead to the completion of industry-valued credentials. The company is based in Baltimore and currently has 52 employees.

Justin Harrison, Managing Partner of BV Investment Partners, said, “StraighterLine’s differentiated platform better addresses the needs of modern learners, demonstrably improves student outcomes and drives better skill development, student retention and graduation rates for its partner institutions. We see meaningful opportunity to accelerate the company’s growth and are excited to support CEO Burck Smith and President David Parento, and their top-tier team in the education technology space – a space very familiar to BV.”

Burck Smith, founder and Chief Executive Officer of StraighterLine, said, “We are excited to partner with BV and believe our partnership will position us for significant growth whether students find the learning pathways we support on their own, through their college or through their employer. We continue to invest in technology, such as our new Academy platform, that can be tightly integrated into our partner colleges’ broader online platform to support their offering of new affordable learning pathways to help attract, enroll and retain students. In addition, we expanded into the employer market through our new partnership with Bright Horizons that will assist corporations looking to offer affordable and effective degree and certification pathways to their employees.”

Jason Kustka, Managing Director of BV, said, “The need for efficient and effective remote learning offerings has never been more evident than today. For more than a decade StraighterLine has built a best in class product and continues to invest in new product features for the Academy offering. This investment presents a unique opportunity for BV to invest in a founder-run online education platform focused on the higher education space. We believe StraighterLine has true break-out potential, with a differentiated platform and significant opportunity to grow within the higher education and employer markets.”

StraighterLine is being funded by BV Fund’s IX and X. This will be the first investment in its tenth fund, which closed at its hard cap of $1.1 billion on February 28, 2020.

About StraighterLine
StraighterLine is a student success company and the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials. The StraighterLine platform supports over 35,000 new students a year, including directly through the website as well as through the company’s growing network of university and employer relationships.

About BV Investment Partners
BV Investment Partners is one of the oldest and most experienced sector-focused private equity firms in North America. Since its founding in 1983, the firm has invested $3.6 billion, actively targeting investments in the business services, software and IT services industries. For more information, please visit

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