Blackbaud Bulks Up With Education Acquisition

Blackbaud has added another company to its stable of education products, announcing the acquisition of AcademicWorks for $50 million.

It’s the third acquisition in almost as many years for the Charleston, S.C.-based nonprofit technology and fundraising firm. Blackbaud has laid out approximately $275 million since June 2014 to bulk up its education product line. AcademicWorks is a scholarship management tool in the cloud for higher education and K-12 institutions, foundations and grant-making institutions.

Based in Austin, Texas, AcademicWorks was founded in 2010 and has 49 employees. All staff will join Blackbaud’s higher education team, effective immediately, including CEO Brandon Phipps, who will report to Tim Hill, president of Blackbaud Higher Education Solutions. Blackbaud has existing staff of more than 300 based in Austin, Texas.

AcademicWorks is a cloud platform that enables students to apply for all awards at an institution in one process while offering schools a common platform for improved awarding, reporting, compliance, communication and stewardship of the awards.

More than 500 universities, academic institutions and foundations have used its cloud platform, making it the world’s leading scholarship management provider, according to a Blackbaud press release announcing the acquisition.

Blackbaud will continue to sell AcademicWorks as a stand-alone product, eventually integrating with Blackbaud’s higher education and K-12 fundraising, financial management and analysis product.

In 2015, Blackbaud acquired Smart Tuition, a payment software services provider for private schools and parents, for $190 million. The Woodbridge, N.J.-based company’s product line included Smart Tuition, Smart Aid and Smart for Dioceses, all of which were folded into Blackbaud’s K-12 portfolio.

Blackbaud acquired WhippleHill in 2014 for $35 million. The New Hampshire-based firm, which provides cloud-based programs for K-12 private schools, merged with Blackbaud’s existing K-12 education solutions group, forming an expanded team dedicated to K-12 private schools. Former WhippleHill President Travis Warren took over as vice president and general manager of the K-12 Private Schools Group after the transaction.