GradesFirst Completes Strategic Sale to The Advisory Board Company

Birmingham, Ala. (February 13, 2015) – Founders Investment Banking, LLC (“Founders”) is pleased to announce that GradesFirst has completed a strategic sale to The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO), a global technology, research, and consulting firm serving the higher education and health care markets. The Advisory Board Company will include GradesFirst’s functionality in the flagship Education Advisory Board (EAB) technology. EAB is the higher education division of The Advisory Board Company.

Serving colleges and universities throughout the US, GradesFirst has built a comprehensive student support system that is delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The company’s platform empowers support staff to identify and engage at-risk students while also measuring the effectiveness of retention efforts. With the addition of GradesFirst, The Advisory Board Company broadens its reach in the higher education market and extends its solution for a critical point in the student lifecycle.

“I am thankful for what GradesFirst has accomplished over the last nine years, and our team is thrilled to be joining The Advisory Board Company,” stated Mario Moore, Founder & CEO of GradesFirst. “From day one, our mission at GradesFirst has been to help students be more successful by streamlining the workflow of student support staff and delivering actionable data to those who need it most. Our customers will benefit tremendously from this combination, and we’re excited to begin revealing our plans for what’s next in the coming months.

Founders acted as the exclusive advisor to GradesFirst and its shareholders in the transaction. “From our first encounter with GradesFirst, it was clear that Mario had identified a critical pain point within Higher Ed,” stated Zane Tarence, managing director of Founders’ Software and Internet Practice. “Mario and his team have maintained a customer-first mentality while delivering an unparalleled product, which in turn positioned GradesFirst as a recognized leader in the space. The Advisory Board Company is one of the most trusted partners in the education industry, and we truly believe the timing could not have aligned better for this transaction. Our team is excited to watch as The Advisory Board Company and GradesFirst take the next steps in building out the industry’s most complete student engagement and retention solution.”

About GradesFirst

GradesFirst clients include leading two- and four-year colleges and universities serving over two million students nationwide. Capitalizing on the latest research, GradesFirst combines early alert, advising management, tutoring management, integrated communications, and data analytics services maximizing the impact of quality student support. For more information, visit

About The Advisory Board Company

The Advisory Board Company is the leading provider of insight-driven technology, research, and services for the health care and higher education industries. Through its innovative membership model, the company collaborates with more than 200,000 leaders at 4,500 member organizations to elevate performance and solve their most pressing problems. The company provides strategic guidance, actionable insights, web-based software solutions, and comprehensive implementation and management services. For more information, visit

About EAB

Since its launch in 2007, EAB, a division of The Advisory Board Company, has become one of the largest providers of research, technology, and consulting services to colleges and universities nationwide. Through the firm’s innovative membership model, EAB partners with academic and administrative leaders at more than 1,000 institutions, helping solve their most pressing problems. For more information, visit

About Founders Investment Banking

Founders Investment Banking is a merger and acquisition advisory firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. Its team’s proven expertise and process-based solutions help companies and business owners access capital and prepare for and execute liquidity events to achieve specific financial goals. The firm’s practice areas include a Technology Practice that serves clients operating nationwide in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Internet, and Digital Media sectors; a General Transaction Practice, which serves clients from a variety of industries located in the Deep South; and an Oil and Gas Services Practice focused on the U.S. oilfield services sector. In order to assist Founders Investment Banking with securities related transactions, certain Principals are registered investment banking agents of M&A Securities Group, Inc., member FINRA/SiPC. M&A Securities Group and Founders are not affiliated entities. The testimonial presented herein does not guarantee future performance or success. For more information, visit