A promising Austin-based software maker that sells scholarship management tools has been snapped up by South Carolina-based Blackbaud for $50 million.
AcademicWorks, founded in 2010, offers a cloud platform that lets students apply for all awards at an institution in one process, while offering schools a common platform for awarding, reporting, compliance and stewardship of the awards.
Blackbaud, a Charleston-based maker of fundraising and software and services for nonprofit groups and educational institutions, has grown in recent years by making similar acquisitions.
In 2012, Blackbaud paid $325 million for Austin-based Convio, whose software lets nonprofits raise money and handle marketing and donor management over the web. Since then, Austin has become a tech hub for Blackbaud, with 300 employees at the company’s offices at the Domain development in North Austin.
AcademicWorks, which has about 50 employees, says it has signed more than 500 customers, including universities, academic institutions and foundations. The company had revenue of $5.1 million in 2015, a 697 percent increase over three years, according to Inc. magazine.
According to AcademicWorks’ research, on some campuses as much as 30 percent of scholarship funds have gone unused and many donors report limited communication and stewardship once scholarships are given.
AcademicWorks’ software manages colleges’ scholarship funds by handling everything from the applications students submit to awards to the thank you notes they write when they win.
“Anyone who has ever applied for, awarded or managed a scholarship has experienced how much opportunity there is to streamline the application, tracking and notification process,” said Tim HIll, president of Blackbaud Higher Education Services. “Blackbaud agrees, and that’s why we’re so excited to announce the acquisition of AcademicWorks.”
All AcademicsWorks staff will join the Blackbaud’s higher education team, including CEO Brandon Phipps, who will report to Hill.
“Blackbaud’s sector-leading R&D investments will help accelerate our pace of innovation,” Phipps said. “From the day we founded AcademicWorks, our goal has been to empower higher education and K-12 institutions, foundations and grant-making institutions with industry leading tools and innovation to manage scholarships.”
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