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Spectrum Equity Announces the Sale of ExamSoft to Turnitin

Examsoft Acquired by Turnitin

Spectrum Equity is pleased to announce the sale of ExamSoft, a leader in secure software-based assessment and analytics, to Turnitin. By joining forces, Turnitin and ExamSoft become the leading technology platform focused on ensuring academic integrity while supporting improved academic outcomes across every stage of a student’s academic journey.

Spectrum originally acquired ExamSoft in 2014. Our product thesis was simple and straight forward: far too much assessment across global post-secondary / higher education and secondary education persisted offline, largely on static bubble sheets and in handwritten answer books. This had to change for obvious reasons: cheating continued to be too easy; the assessment process was fundamentally inefficient for faculty and administrators; and performance data was too difficult to accurately capture and analyze. We believed ExamSoft had developed a product set with a value proposition addressing each of these issues and supported by a highly engaged and retentive customer base. In our view, the market was going to move their way over time. But the company was relatively undermanaged at the time of our initial investment and would require significant incremental resources to capitalize on the coming opportunity.

Over the course of our ownership, Spectrum helped recruit several key executives into ExamSoft including Sebastian Vos as CEO, Britt Nichols as CRO and Mike Mitrione as CTO, and grew revenue and profit more than fivefold. With Spectrum’s support, this senior team broadened the company’s product portfolio and established category leadership in several end-market verticals. These product efforts were bolstered by transforming the company’s go-to-market efforts which catalyzed accelerated growth and expansion of the addressable market opportunity. Most recently, ExamSoft launched its Exam ID & Monitor product suite to compliment the core assessment platform. This combination offered the market the only highly secure assessment software with fully integrated online remote proctoring and exam taker identification functionality during the COVID-19 pandemic. These product features enabled ExamSoft to provide critical technology to its customers, helping them adapt and continue to provide online assessments globally. In 2020, ExamSoft will deliver more than 17 million assessment questions and collect over 500 million student responses, in 25 countries, on behalf of its customers.

ExamSoft represents another successful investment from Spectrum’s education technology portfolio. Notable prior exits include the sale of Lynda.com to LinkedIn and the sale of Finalsite to Bridge Growth Partners. We believe technology continues to transform all aspects of education and global learning and are particularly excited by the recent acceleration of this long-term trend.

We continue to devote significant energy and resources to identify additional compelling opportunities across this category that meet our investment criteria.

Below is the official press release for the transaction.


Turnitin Acquires ExamSoft, a Leading Assessment Platform

Together they offer institutions flexible options for delivering remote and in-person assessments

Oakland, CA - Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and assessment solutions, announced today it has acquired ExamSoft, a software-based assessment platform, from Spectrum Equity. ExamSoft empowers educational institutions and certification and licensure programs to protect exam integrity, streamline assessment processes, and improve learning outcomes.

Turnitin has been building and broadening its assessment capabilities since its 2018 acquisition of Gradescope, an assessment platform that streamlines grading workflows across a range of assignment types and subject areas. ExamSoft further expands Turnitin's portfolio of leading academic integrity and assessment products to include a broad assessment platform serving education, certification, and licensure programs. Together they will offer institutions further flexibility when delivering assessments at all educational and professional levels.

By joining forces, Turnitin and ExamSoft become a single destination for institutions to uphold integrity at every stage in a student’s journey, from book reports and problem sets to high-stakes exams and professional licensure. As one company, they provide expanded product offerings that allow customers to choose the combination of tools and services that best serve their assessment needs. This is particularly important as educational institutions and professional organizations adapt their instruction and assessments for online settings.

“Turnitin and ExamSoft are both committed to safeguarding integrity in education,” said ExamSoft CEO Sebastian Vos. “We look forward to working with the Turnitin team to continue to advance integrity solutions across all levels and modalities of education to improve learning outcomes. We would also like to thank Spectrum Equity for their support and partnership over the past six years. Spectrum always recognized the distinctive value proposition of our product set and the depth of our customer relationships. They worked tirelessly alongside us to leverage these core attributes, expand our strategic vision, and accelerate the growth of our business.”

“Turnitin and ExamSoft share a passion for student success and delivering innovative assessments.” said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren. “Turnitin expanded its assessment capabilities beyond our historical essay focus when we acquired market-leading STEM assessment solution Gradescope two years ago. ExamSoft’s robust testing platform meaningfully complements and grows our existing assessment offerings. Together, we form an even stronger company that meets the ever-changing needs of the educational and professional organizations we serve. We’re thrilled to welcome the ExamSoft team to the Turnitin family.”

“It has been a true pleasure partnering with Sebastian and the entire ExamSoft management team over the last several years, including Britt Nichols and Mike Mitrione. ExamSoft has evolved from a small summative assessment business focusing on a single graduate vertical to a multi-faceted assessment platform with several scaled products, accelerating growth and expanding end-markets thus becoming a highly valuable enterprise at scale,” said Spectrum Equity Managing Director Steve LeSieur. “We are confident that together, ExamSoft and Turnitin will continue to make a meaningful impact in improving outcomes in education. We wish ExamSoft continued success as part of Turnitin.”

About Turnitin

Turnitin is a global company dedicated to ensuring the integrity of education and research and supporting the development of original thinking skills. For more than 20 years, Turnitin has partnered with educational institutions to promote honesty, consistency, and integrity. Our products are used by educators to guide their students towards higher standards of integrity and by students and researchers to do their best, original work. Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Over 15,000 academic institutions, publishers, and corporations use our products: Feedback Studio, Gradescope, iThenticate, Turnitin Originality, Turnitin Similarity.

About ExamSoft Worldwide, Inc.

ExamSoft is an education technology company based in Dallas, Texas, that builds scalable software solutions that provide the highest level of exam security and integrity to education and certification institutions across a variety of verticals, settings and modalities. ExamSoft software gives educators and test-takers actionable data to improve performance and create meaningful efficiencies in grading, exam-building, psychometrics and overall assessment. The ExamSoft mission is to deliver superior assessment solutions to increase learning performance for every student, instructor and institution. ExamSoft currently serves more than 1,900 prominent academic, certification and licensing programs and has successfully administered over 61 million exams.

The specific companies identified above do not represent all of Spectrum’s investments, and no assumptions should be made that any investments identified were or will be profitable. View the complete list of our portfolio companies. Spectrum is not responsible for the contents of any third party website linked above, and has not confirmed the accuracy of any information provided therein.