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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2021 PROFILE

Achieve Partners Management LLC

Total Assets Under Management: $100 – 499M
Asset Class: Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth
Education
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Firm Overview

Category: Private Equity - Growth Stage (Emerging)

While millions of Americans have benefited from technological change and the rise of the digital economy, tens of millions have been left behind. We believe legacy education and workforce systems have not adapted to the challenges of the 21st century and innovative new approaches are required to bridge the gap from education to employment. The goal of Achieve’s first fund is to place 100,000 Americans in good first jobs in skill gap areas of the economy by building new, frictionless pathways to employment while significantly improving the diversity and effectiveness of the American workforce. 

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: Less than 3 years
Total Assets Under Management:
$100 – 499M
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: 25% – 49%
Investment Thesis:

Achieve targets market leading returns by acquiring strong, middle market business services and staffing firms in skill gap areas for 6-10x EBITDA and then leveraging unique ability of Achieve Partners to to add “last-mile training” and transform these businesses into Talent-as-a-Service companies that trade at 20x+ EBITDA. 

Investment Overview:

Achieve is unique: a buyout fund in the education/workforce sector. Achieve targets industry-leading returns with a private equity deal structure and risk/return metrics, but with a specific strategy of closing the skills gap and putting 100,000 Americans into good first jobs.

Post-Covid, there are still millions of unfilled positions in cybersecurity, data science, Salesforce, healthcare IT, and many healthcare services. However, there is no clear pathway to those jobs for millions of underemployed Americans. Achieve is acquiring 8-12 scaled business services companies in skill gap sectors for 6-10x EBITDA. Post acquisition, Achieve dramatically accelerates revenue growth and expands margins by building a new product within these businesses: purpose-trained, entry-level talent made available at scale to clients on a try-before-you-buy basis. Achieve’s proven playbook includes partnerships with colleges, universities, workforce boards, and the military to source, screen talent on cognitive and technical skills, and then provide training for that specific role.  

Company Differentiator:

One of few impact-oriented buyout funds, and we believe the only workforce focused fund. Principals began working together in 2003 with track record of market leading returns. Transactions generally proprietary due to Achieve’s unique skill set of building last-mile training programs at scale. Sellers understand the revenue and margin opportunity of providing purpose-trained talent to clients and Achieve’s ability to deliver on that promise.  Diverse investment team is committed to impact, as evident in our reporting: highly quantitative quarterly reports on every portfolio company showing number of apprentices hired, key diversity metrics, following cohorts through placement at clients, and ultimately conversion into FTEs by clients. Achieve will also estimate salary increase by portfolio company, from pre-apprenticeship to FTE placement at clients. Unique strategy drives co-investment opportunities. We expect to generate 1:1 co-invest (first investment, Optimum Healthcare IT, was 1:1 co-invest).

Investment Example

Optimum Healthcare IT is one of the largest independent healthcare IT companies and a leading solutions provider of electronic medical records (“EMR”) systems. Optimum has worked with over 200 hospital systems and is consistently ranked by KLAS Research as “Best in KLAS” for healthcare IT solutions.

There are over 100,000 open, unfilled EMR jobs in the U.S. with average pay rates from $150,000-$250,000 per year. However, there is no clear pathway into the healthcare IT profession making it difficult to find qualified talent certified on specific EMR platforms. Within a month of acquiring Optimum, Achieve built a relationship with University of North Florida to establish America’s first EMR analyst apprenticeship program where Optimum hires trainees from day one. Given the unfilled market demand for trained EMR and other healthcare IT talent, Optimum expects to recruit and train1,000 apprentices each year, and then place them at hospital clients.

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
Daniel Pianko – Co-Founder and Managing Director More Info

Mr. Pianko is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Achieve Partners. Mr. Pianko also serves as Managing Director of University Ventures. With nearly two decades of experience in the education industry, Mr. Pianko has built a reputation as a trusted education adviser and innovator in student finance, medical education, and postsecondary education. A frequent commentator on higher education, Mr. Pianko’s insights have been featured in national media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, TechCrunch, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ryan Craig – Co-Founder and Managing Director More Info

Mr. Craig is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Achieve Partners. Mr. Craig also serves as Managing Director of University Ventures. His commentary on higher education and workforce issues regularly appears in the Gap Letter, Forbes, TechCrunch, Inside Higher Education, and VentureBeat, among others. He is the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which profiles the coming shift toward competency-based education and hiring. He is also the author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College (Ben Bella, 2018), which describes the critical importance of Last-Mile training and the emergence of bootcamps, income share programs, and Employer-Down models as preferred pathways to good first jobs.

Cassidy Leventhal – Vice President More Info

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
Less than 25%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as a person of color:*
Less than 25%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Above Market Rates
Actual Performance Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
Over-delivered compared to initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Creating jobs
Increasing access to education and improving educational outcomes
Addressing Racial Inequality
Addressing Gender Inequality
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Alleviating poverty
Value-added Services Offered:
Education services

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

We plan for each company that we invest in to have the capacity to hire, train and place 1,000 apprentices each year. And target that our apprenticeship cohorts will be majority minority.  We perceive diversity of talent as a key differentiator -- virtually every Fortune 1,000 company is looking to diversity its teams so Achieve is able to run apprenticeship programs based on specific diversity goals (e.g. all Spanish speaking cohorts, all female cohorts).  This mission of creating pathways to jobs for minority and disadvantaged communities is a part of our vetting process for acquisitions.  

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

Generally, we assess the existing workforce and hiring practices for the metrics stated above.

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to investors and donors
Third Party Validations:
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Daniel Pianko
Phone: 917-821-9194
Mailing Address:

530 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10018 USA

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