Lightspeed Systems® Announces Strategic Growth Investment From Madison Dearborn Partners

  • Media Release

AUSTIN, TX — Leading education technology solutions provider Lightspeed Systems (“Lightspeed” or “the Company”) announced today that it has received a strategic growth investment from private equity funds advised by Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (“MDP”), a leading private equity firm based in Chicago. Lightspeed’s existing management team will remain in place and have an ownership position in the company, as will the Company’s Co-Founders. Together with MDP, they will seek to extend Lightspeed’s market leadership position and further penetrate the growing domestic and international K-12 web filtering and reporting, mobile device management and classroom management market in support of the Company’s mission to enhance student safety and maximize the benefits of education technology. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Lightspeed continues to benefit from the increasing demand for sophisticated, K-12-specific solutions and expand its presence in new and existing markets by offering market-leading, purpose-built software that filters, monitors and manages student web access, distributed devices and classroom activities. Lightspeed has been building and evolving technology for more than 20 years and serves over 15 million students worldwide. The Company recently launched the Lightspeed platform, the first and only all-in-one cloud filtering solution for school device management with support for every operating system, device type, and location.

“I would like to thank Lightspeed’s Co-Founders Rob McCarthy and Joel Heinrichs for their mentorship, leadership, and contributions since we started this journey, and for their ongoing support as we continue our partnership alongside MDP,” said Brian Thomas, Lightspeed’s Co-Founder, President and CEO. “As we enter our next stage of growth as an innovator and leading provider of web filtering and reporting products for the K-12 market, we are confident that MDP is the clear choice of a partner for Lightspeed Systems due to their proven success, understanding of the education and technology markets, and commitment to helping us achieve our growth potential. With MDP’s support, we have an even greater opportunity to capture growth from the many favorable market trends we are seeing, which include continued adoption of technology in the classroom and the increasing importance of protecting, managing and analyzing student health and safety.”

Thomas continued, “MDP’s education technology resource network and extensive experience supporting high-growth technology companies and organizations that utilize distributed sales channels make them an ideal partner for Lightspeed. Looking ahead, the entire Lightspeed team is excited to play an ongoing critical role in the education technology revolution and continue providing our customers with powerful solutions that keep school devices and students safe, well managed and mobile. We’re excited about the opportunities this new partnership will create for Lightspeed to the benefit of our employees, our existing partners, and our customers around the world.”

Today, Lightspeed is well-positioned in a large and growing market with its robust database, stable and diverse customer base, differentiated ability to operate across any device, operating system or network and strong channel partner relationships. Lightspeed and MDP see significant opportunity for the Company to capture additional growth through organic and strategic acquisition opportunities. The macro trends that are driving these opportunities globally include the increasing device penetration among students from a continued movement toward a 1:1 student to device ratio in the classroom, and recognition that tailored web monitoring and reporting can help safeguard the health and wellness of students. MDP is supportive of Lightspeed’s growth strategy to deepen its end-customer relationships while continuing to leverage its channel partner sales initiatives.

Matthew Norton, a Managing Director at MDP and Co-Head of the firm’s Business & Government Software and Services team, said: “Lightspeed is uniquely positioned as an Ed Tech industry leader that enables schools to maximize the benefits of classroom technology, and we are honored to be partnering with Brian and his talented team to build upon the Company’s momentum. We look forward to continuing the successful execution of Lightspeed’s strategy by leveraging our extensive experience helping companies at similar stages of growth. As investors and as parents, we are excited to support Lightspeed’s strong position in the industry as the Company continues to provide effective and innovative technology-based safety solutions to more schools and students alike.”

William Blair & Company served as Lightspeed’s financial advisor, and DLA Piper LLP provided legal counsel to Lightspeed. Kirkland & Ellis LLP provided legal advice to MDP. MDP also engaged GSV Advisors, a leading advisory firm dedicated to the education and HR technology sector, for strategic counsel.

About Lightspeed Systems
Lightspeed Systems partners with schools to make learning safe, mobile and easily managed. Partnered with 6,500 districts in the United States and 28,000 schools around the world, Lightspeed Systems offers integrated filtering, management, monitoring, and protection for schools through its groundbreaking platform. Headquartered in Austin, TX (with offices in Portland and the U.K.), Lightspeed serves over 15 million students in 38 countries. To learn more, visit

About Madison Dearborn Partners
Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (“MDP”), based in Chicago, is a leading private equity investment firm in the United States. Since MDP’s formation in 1992, the firm has raised seven funds with aggregate capital of approximately $23 billion and has completed over 140 investments. MDP is currently investing out of its most recent fund, $4.4 billion MDCP Fund VII, in businesses across a broad spectrum of industries, including businesses and government software and services; financial and transaction services; basic industries; health care; and telecom, media and technology services. For more information, please visit