MasteryPrep sale seen as potential boost for other Capital Region startups

Craig Gehring, 2020 Young Businessperson of the Year (Collin Richie)

Baton Rouge-based education tech firm MasteryPrep, said to be one of the fastest-growing K-12 education companies in the nation, was acquired this week by New York City education investment firm Achieve Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The company’s sale injects cash into the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, potentially boosting funding for other startups and early-stage companies.

MasteryPrep CEO Craig Gehring says his company will remain headquartered in Baton Rouge. He says local investors have supported MasteryPrep since its founding in 2013.

“The hope is that those returns are going to find their way back as seed money for more entrepreneurs in the area,” he says. “I hope that we’re part of a virtuous cycle.”

This is the second recent sale of a portfolio company for Innovation Catalyst, a local nonprofit venture development organization that promotes formation of new tech companies, says board chair Veneeth Iyengar. The first was Waitr, now ASAP.

Innovation Catalyst gets a cash return on the MasteryPrep deal and some equity in the new company, Iyengar says. Those resources can then be moved over to new companies.

“The return was pretty substantial relative to what we put in originally,” he says.

Iyengar says the Baton Rouge business community should be “pumped” about the growing local companies that recently had liquidity events, including General Informatics, Walk-On’s, BBQGuys, Premier Health and Louisiana Fish Fry.

Gehring says Achieve is an ideal partner because of its expertise and shared mission.

“We’re a business, but we’re very focused on creating a social good,” he says. “They’re going to help us grow our footprint, innovate and better serve students.”

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