Funding Image Source Pixabay/Geralt under CCO, the cloud-based university administration software vendor spun out of Unit4, has changed hands. It announced that SilverTree Equity, a London-based private equity firm, has acquired the firm from Advent International.

No terms were disclosed, and Thesis did not publish a valuation of the company. It is assumed that Advent has completely exited the business.

Since splitting from Unit4, Thesis has been very quiet in a market seemingly dominated by Anthology, Ellucian, Oracle, Workday and Jenzabar. Certainly, Advent did not take Thesis on an acquisition trail swallowing up organisations to compete. It has published only a single success story, Manchester Metropolitan University, the deal for which was announced in 2019 and predated the demerger from Unit4.

Things may be about to change with the deal seeing Thesis securing “Significant growth funding” and a private equity partner that has a focus on growing businesses. What seemingly has changed is a slight shift of focus from higher education to Universities.

The funding will help drive the launch of Thesis Elements, the next-generation cloud offering specifically developed to target small and mid-size US and Canadian higher education institutions. It will also support its core product, Thesis SM, its cloud solution for mid and large colleges and universities in the UK, the US and Canada.

John Messamore, Managing Partner of SilverTree, commented, “Higher education has long been neglected by incumbent software vendors. We are excited to invest in Thesis and accelerate the rollout of the company’s game-changing SaaS solutions.”

SilverTree has also brought in Gary McIlraith as Chairman. McIlraith is an experienced executive and most recently was Chairman of TOMIA until its sale to Lumine Group in June 2022. He was previously CEO of NetName and Kalibrate.

Headquartered in the US with operations in the UK, Canada and Europe and with more than 140 colleges and universities as customers, is Thesis about to emerge again?

Enterprise Times – What does this mean

For Thesis, this could mean a significant change of fortunes. Paul McConville, CEO of Thesis, joined the company in September 2021, bringing on board Jason Duggan as CEO a few months later. This new deal will have taken some time to flesh out. One suspects that Advent was less interested in powering the growth that McConville wanted, and the search for a new investor started. That search is now over, and McConville is bullish about the future.

Paul McConville, CEO of Thesis
Paul McConville, CEO of Thesis

He commented, “I joined Thesis because of my passion for helping students and the institutions that serve them, to succeed. SilverTree is the ideal partner, given their strong software and growth expertise and global resources, to accelerate our product enhancement and adoption. This investment is great for our clients, our employees and the higher education market.”

Certainly, one hopes the news cadence from Thesis will start announcing more, with only three announcements on its news page and little sign of new customer wins. Things are, hopefully, about to change with new backers.

Nicholas Theuerkauf, Managing Partner of SilverTree, added, “We are excited to be partnering with Thesis’ management team of seasoned ed-tech specialists who are committed to continued client success and strengthening the company’s market position. We believe that Thesis is well positioned to be a leader in next-gen, SaaS university administration software.”

There is a lot of work to do. Thesis does not even appear on the G2 Grid for Student Information Systems (SIS) in Higher education, either live or trending. Perhaps now McConnell can build out the teams to change that.


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