Lightspeed Systems Receives Strategic Growth Investment from Genstar Capital

Genstar joins Madison Dearborn Partners in backing Lightspeed’s mission to advance
educational effectiveness and promote safety and wellbeing for every student

AUSTIN, TX, March 2, 2022 – Lightspeed Systems (“Lightspeed”), a trusted partner in learning safety and effectiveness, announced today that it has received a significant growth investment from Genstar Capital (“Genstar”), joining existing investor Madison Dearborn Partners (“MDP”). The additional investment will help to drive continued product innovation and position Lightspeed to accelerate its mission of keeping students safe and enabling equitable and effective learning.

Lightspeed’s full suite of solutions keep students safe and engaged. The Company’s scalable, cloud-based platform for the K-12 education market safeguards 20 million students and enables educators to effectively teach, including managing and capitalizing on the proliferation of devices and learning applications utilized in and out of the classroom. Its products include web filtering, student safety monitoring, analytics, classroom management, and mobile device management solutions across the continuum of devices and operating systems used for learning. Lightspeed is trusted by more than 32,000 schools in 39 countries and boasts a diverse customer base spanning the largest school districts, MATs, charter networks, and private schools. Founded in 1999, Lightspeed is headquartered in Austin, Texas and has approximately 215 employees.

Brian Thomas, President & CEO of Lightspeed Systems, commented, “For more than two decades, Lightspeed has provided trusted solutions to meet the unique and evolving needs of K-12 schools.  Our deep roots in device management and web filtering, combined with significant investments in new products and offerings, including our recent acquisition of CatchOn, have established Lightspeed as the industry-leading digital infrastructure platform. As investments in ed-tech products continue to surge, Lightspeed is well-positioned to help educators and administrators make sense of the immense data on student online activity. With the backing of both Genstar and MDP, we will continue our mission of advancing safety and educational effectiveness.”

Scott Niehaus, Principal at Genstar, said, “Lightspeed is a tremendously impactful company that is helping schools navigate critical issues facing society including student safety, mental health and educational efficacy. Lightspeed’s feature-rich, modern platform is well-regarded and trusted by all stakeholders including administrators, teachers, parents and channel partners to drive wellbeing, compliance and student success. We look forward to working side by side with Lightspeed management and MDP to leverage Lightspeed’s innovative reputation to capitalize on new organic and inorganic expansion opportunities.”

Matthew Norton, Managing Director at MDP and Head of the firm’s Business & Government Software and Services team, said, “We partnered with the founders and management of Lightspeed in 2019 to help the company scale for growth. The company has exceeded expectations and has been successful in developing and cross-selling solutions like Alert, Analytics and Classroom Management.”

Alex Fisher, Director at MDP, added, “Lightspeed continues to drive the pace and direction of innovation in the industry, including supporting the transition towards digital learning while maintaining engaging classroom experiences and exceptional student protection. We are pleased to partner with Genstar and continue supporting Lightspeed’s strategy as the Company expands and enhances its offerings to complete the safety lifecycle.”

Genstar and funds affiliated with Madison Dearborn will each have equal ownership stakes in Lightspeed while the founders and management team also retain a significant ownership position.

William Blair & Company served as Lightspeed’s financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Genstar.

MDP’s capital markets group has arranged for committed financing from a group of private lenders to support the transaction.

About Lightspeed Systems®

With over 20 years of providing technology to meet the needs of schools, Lightspeed Systems® is the market leader in online student safety and effectiveness. The purpose-built Lightspeed ecosystem of cloud-based solutions—tailored to meet today’s evolving challenges—provides schools worldwide with the most effective web filter, student safety monitor, classroom management software, device management tool, and analytics program available. Lightspeed Systems is a proven partner for schools, serving over 20 million students in 39 countries and 32,000 schools globally. To learn more, visit www.lightspeedsystems.com.

About Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC

Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (“MDP”) is a leading private equity investment firm based in Chicago. Since MDP’s formation in 1992, the firm has raised aggregate capital of over $28 billion and has completed over 150 investments. MDP invests across five dedicated industry verticals, including basic industries; business and government software and services; financial and transaction services; health care; and telecom, media and technology services. For more information, please visit www.mdcp.com.

About Genstar Capital

Genstar Capital (www.gencap.com) is a leading private equity firm that has been actively investing in high quality companies for over 30 years.  Based in San Francisco, Genstar works in partnership with its management teams and its network of strategic advisors to transform its portfolio companies into industry-leading businesses. Genstar currently has approximately $33 billion of assets under management and targets investments focused on targeted segments of the software, financial services, industrials, and healthcare industries.

For Lightspeed Systems:
Ida Yenney, KCPR
[email protected]
818-419-0516
For Genstar:
Chris Tofalli
Chris Tofalli Public Relations LLC
[email protected]
914-834-4334
For Madison Dearborn:
Deirdre Walsh / Jake Yanulis
Abernathy MacGregor
[email protected]
212-371-5999

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Reimagine the inspired and interactive classroom for remote, hybrid, and in-person learning. Lightspeed Classroom Management™ gives teachers real-time visibility and control of their students’ digital workspaces and online activity.

  • Ensure all students interact with only the right online curriculum — precisely when they’re supposed to use it.
  • Push out vetted curriculum links to all students at the same time.
  • Block inappropriate or distracting web sites and apps.

Ensure scalable & efficient learning device management. The Lightspeed Mobile Device Management™ system ensures safe and secure management of student learning resources with real-time visibility and reporting essential for effective distance learning.

  • A centralized, cloud-based solution for infinitely scalable device, application, and policy controls
  • Self-Service App Library, where teachers and students
    can access and install approved curriculum and learning tools
  • Remotely deploy, change, and revoke hundreds of policies and educational applications, while reducing typical downtime and costs

Prevent suicides, cyberbullying, and schoolviolence. Lightspeed Alert™ supports district administrators and selected personnel with advanced AI to detect and report potential threats before it’s too late.

  • Human review
  • Real-time alerts that flag signs of a potential threat
  • Intervene quickly before an incident occurs.
  • Activity logs provide visibility into online activity before and after a flagged event

Protect students from harmful online content. Lightspeed Filter™ is the best-in-class solution that acts as a solid barrier to inappropriate or illicit online content to ensure students’ online safety 24/7.

  • Powered by the most comprehensive database in the industry built through 20 years of web indexing and machine learning.
  • Ensure CIPA compliance
  • Block millions of inappropriate, harmful, and unknown sites, images, and video including YouTube
  • Keep parents informed with the Lightspeed Parent Portal™

Gain complete visibility into students’ online learning. Lightspeed Analytics™ gives districts robust data on the effectiveness of any tools they implement so they can take a strategic approach to their technology stack and streamline reporting.

  • Track education technology adoption and usage trends, eliminate redundancy, and drive ROI
  • Monitor app and content consumption to facilitate early adoption and effective utilization
  • Assess risk with visibility into student data privacy and security compliance