Datamark, the leader in data-driven enrollment marketing, today announced it has acquired the technology assets of Altius Education, including its competency-based online learning platform, Helix, as well as its enrollment management and student retention platforms. An investment group led by Oakleigh Thorne, current Chairman of the Board of Datamark and former CEO of eCollege, financed the transaction and committed an additional $11 million in equity to fund the further development of the company’s infrastructure, as well as support the growth of Altius’ current educational partnerships, which will be managed by Datamark going forward.
Datamark, which has served the higher education market for more than 25 years, also announced that education-technology veteran Matthew Schnittman is joining the company as president and CEO. Current CEO Tom Dearden is assuming the role of Chairman of the Board. Furthermore, Datamark extended employment offers to 42 current Altius employees, and all offers have been accepted.
“Helix is an entirely new kind of online learning environment. It offers competency-based, personalized learning paths that can make education more affordable and efficient; it’s underpinned by Big Data analytic tools that provide feedback for improving student outcomes; and, it lives in the Cloud, thereby reducing costs and offering extreme reliability,” said Thorne. “Beyond that, the Helix authoring environment allows institutions to ease into competency-based learning by enabling them to present online courses in either a competency-based format or a more traditional course format.”
“This acquisition further enables us to add a new suite of services to our traditional strength in enrollment marketing, including enrollment management services and student retention services, which allow us to address some of the most pressing challenges in higher education,” Dearden said. “We are also delighted that both the development staff who built these terrific products, and the extremely experienced people who support Altius’ services, have agreed to join our company.”
Dearden, who has been with Datamark since 1989 and CEO for nearly a decade, helped grow the company from a small direct mail agency to a large, full-services direct marketing firm. He currently serves as chairman of the University of Utah Alumni Association Marketing Committee and previously served as chairman of the Education Marketing Counsel. Dearden will replace Thorne as chairman of Datamark, which was a division of eCollege from 2003 until 2007.
Schnittman spent almost 10 years in executive leadership roles at eCollege. He has held several education board positions, including his work for the IMS Global Learning Consortium board and his current role on the Denver School of Science and Technology board. Most recently, he founded and served as CEO of SaaS student life cycle management provider TopSchool.
“Matthew’s extensive background in education technology and his direct work with some of the most forward-thinking colleges and universities over the years have given him unique insight into the market and the needs of schools and students alike,” said Dearden. “We have the utmost confidence in Matthew’s leadership abilities, and believe he can successfully take our company to the next level as we invest in the future of this cutting-edge technology.”
“I’m looking forward to working with this ground breaking technology, as well as collaborating with the Datamark and Altius team members, all of whom have received rave reviews from the schools they support,” said Schnittman. “Datamark’s financial stability coupled with its impressive reputation in the higher education marketplace will be instrumental in advancing the functionality and accessibility of its newly expanded solutions.”