Today we’re announcing our investment in education software and services firm Juniper Education. We’ve made a £20 million equity commitment from the Horizon 2018 fund of which over half is reserved for future acquisitions. This is our second buy-and-build platform investment this year and follows on from our investment in software and data analytics business STRAT7 in March. We’ve also completed nine add-on acquisitions for our portfolio companies so far this year.
We’re supporting Juniper Education’s Executive Chairman Gavin Freed, together with the wider management team to develop the business through a strategy of organic and acquisitive growth. The group has acquired EES for Schools which comprises Target Tracker software and a range of professional services from Essex County Council. This is the first in a series of planned acquisitions for Juniper.
Juniper’s strategy is to consolidate the large and fragmented market for software and services provision to primary and secondary schools in the UK. The business has two divisions: one focused on software provision and the other on services including HR, finance and professional development.
Alongside Gavin Freed the new Juniper Board comprises Finance Director Mike Bibby, former Tribal CEO Peter Martin and James Randall as Non-Executive Directors and Horizon Managing Partner Simon Hitchcock. The group’s new executive team includes Operations Director Keren Prior, Sales & Marketing Director Jason Oster and Business Development Director Gareth Owen.
Gavin Freed, Juniper Executive Chairman said: “This is an exciting time in UK education with a clear opportunity to consolidate software and services to reduce workloads and simply let teachers teach. The Horizon team’s track record in scaling software and service businesses and supporting buy-and-builds aligns well with our strategy for Juniper.”
Simon Hitchcock Horizon Managing Partner said: “We are delighted to be supporting Gavin and the wider team in executing buy-and-builds in this fragmented and attractive market. The Juniper business fits exactly into Horizon’s sweet spot: a must-have service with strong recurring revenues and a market consolidation opportunity. We look forward to working with the team to build a scaled provider over the coming years.”