In this FDD Talk post, you’ll learn the following:
- Section I – Background information on The Learning Experience franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
- Section II – Estimated initial investment for The Learning Experience franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2019 FDD
- Section III – Initial franchise fee, royalty fee, marketing fee, and other fees for The Learning Experience franchise, based on Items 5 and 6 of the company’s 2019 FDD
- Section IV – Number of franchised and company-owned The Learning Experience outlets at the start of the year and the end of the year for 2016, 2017, and 2018, based on Item 20 of the company’s 2019 FDD
- Section V – Presentation and analysis of The Learning Experience’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2019 FDD, including information on the:
- 2018 average, median, highest, and lowest gross sales for the 104 franchised and 15 company-owned (separately stated) Learning Experience centers that were open for more than 48 months (“Mature Centers”)
- 2018 average, median, highest, and lowest gross sales for the 36 franchised and 3 company-owned (separately stated) Learning Experience centers that were open 24-47 months (“Intermediate Centers”)
- 2018 average revenue, royalties, gross profit, salaries and benefits, school supplies, advertising, utilities and repairs, admin expenses, miscellaneous expense, total expenses, and EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and rent) for the 12 company-owned Mature Centers that corporate owned the entire year in 2018
- 2018 average revenue, royalties, gross profit, salaries and benefits, school supplies, advertising, utilities and repairs, admin expenses, miscellaneous expense, total expenses, and EBITDAR for the 3 company-owned Mature Centers that were purchased by corporate from franchisees in 2018
Section I – Background Information
16 Things You Need to Know About The Learning Experience Franchise
Acquired by Golden Gate Capital
1. In early July 2019, Golden Gate Capital, a leading private equity investment firm, announced that it had acquired The Learning Experience. The early childhood education brand, headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida, is led by co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer Richard Weissman. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
2. Over the past two decades, Weissman successfully pioneered a franchise model to expand The Learning Experience to more than 300 company-owned and franchised centers operating or under development across 22 states, with plans to open its first international location in late 2019 in the United Kingdom. The Learning Experience has generated double-digit annual growth for the past 15 years, making it a clear leader in the early childhood education sector.
3. According to Weissman, “Thanks to our dedicated staff and franchisees, The Learning Experience has become an industry leader in the United States with strong, consistent performance. Golden Gate Capital is fully committed to our curriculum and vision, with an excellent track record of accelerating the growth of multi-unit consumer companies. This is a transformational moment for The Learning Experience and the children and families we support, and we are thrilled to partner with Golden Gate as we work together to build on our momentum and provide a foundation for even more children to learn, play, and grow.”
4. Josh Cohen, managing director of Golden Gate Capital, added, “The Learning Experience has created a proprietary educational platform that enables its franchisees to provide the highest caliber of academic, physical, and social education to children at their most critical stages of development. We are excited to partner with Richard, his leadership team, and the company’s franchisees to accelerate their growth plans domestically and internationally in the growing early childhood education market.”
Launches Multimedia Edutainment Company
5. In mid-December 2018, The Learning Experience announced the launch of BubblesU, a new subsidiary company that provides a highly-personalized multimedia “edutainment” universe to help children and families overcome everyday life anxieties and challenges.
6. Developed in partnership with Edutainment Media Group, an educational technology company, BubblesU drew inspiration from The Learning Experience’s industry-leading team of early educators, its proprietary cast of play-based learning characters, and the franchise’s nearly 20-year history in providing children with a caring and positive foundation to learn, play, and grow.
7. Richard Weissman, chairman and CEO of The Learning Experience, said, “We partnered with Edutainment Media Group to create a one-of-a-kind multimedia company that can help the tens of thousands of children and families at The Learning Experience, and those we have yet to meet, overcome specific life challenges and everyday issues. BubblesU can reach children and parents with tools and resources at the point of need while engaging them in a purposeful and edutaining way.”
8. The BubblesU website provides parents with a free online resource center featuring original articles, videos, helpful tools, and webinars hosted by early educators. Parents can also purchase highly-personalized children’s books starring their child, along with Bubbles the Elephant and The Learning Experience characters, in an imaginative story originally written and designed to help them overcome challenges and issues like being afraid of the dark, making childhood friends, and embracing diversity in others.
9. The brand’s mobile app, available for free download in the App Store and Google Play, provides children with a personalized and interactive experience designed to entertain and advance their cognitive, motor, social, and emotional development. The BubblesU app features Bubbles the Elephant and The Learning Experience characters in a world of wonder filled with play-based learning activities, animated and live action videos, and the ability to be the star of songs that help them overcome everyday challenges.
10. Greg Salsburg, president and managing partner of Edutainment Media Group, added, “The Learning Experience’s expertise and proven history in child care and early education, as well as its proprietary cast of interactive characters, inspired us to create a first-of-its-kind multimedia edutainment company with personalized books, ebooks, a mobile app, personalized products, and a resource center in one environment. Everything we offer, from personalized children’s books to activities on the BubblesU app, was created to help today’s parents and children face everyday childhood issues in a fun and engaging way for toddlers and preschoolers to understand.”
11. The first personalized children’s book offered by BubblesU, titled “The Whisper in The Dark,” is available for parents to purchase in hardcover and softcover at the BubblesU website. The book, and all future books offered by BubblesU, can be personalized with the name and face of a child as the star of the story, along with the opportunity to add a pet, family members, location, and a personalized dedication at the end. The purchase of any hardcover personalized book for children includes a digital version of the book and unlocks additional personalized activities on the BubblesU app.
12. The Learning Experience traces its history back to the 1980s when the Weissman family developed unique and proprietary programs to positively impact the lives of children. The Learning Experience combines child care and early childhood pre-kindergarten education for children between the ages of six months and six years. Programs include philanthropy, yoga, foreign language lessons (Spanish and Chinese), and sign language, in addition to basic math, science, and language skills.
13. The Weissmans used their decades of experience developing and implementing child care and early education programs in a safe and positive environment to start The Learning Experience in 2001. After opening the first center in Boca Raton, Florida, the Weissmans began franchising The Learning Experience in 2003.
14. Over the next decade, The Learning Experience continued to grow and in 2014, the Weissmans sold a majority interest in the company to Norwest Venture Partners. Two years later, The Learning Experience moved its headquarters to Deerfield Beach, Florida. The headquarters also serves as a training facility for staff, educators, and franchisees.
15. In 2018, The Learning Experience was acquired by Golden Gate Capital, a leading private equity investment firm. Today, The Learning Experience has locations all around the United States.
Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500
16. The Learning Experience ranked No. 84 on Entrepreneur’s 2019 Franchise 500 list.
Section II – Estimated Costs
- Please click here for detailed estimates of The Learning Experience franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2019 FDD.
Section III – Initial Franchise Fee, Royalty Fee, Marketing Fee, and Other Fees
- Please click here for detailed information on The Learning Experience’s initial franchise fee, royalty fee, marketing fee, and other fees, based on Items 5 and 6 of the company’s 2019 FDD.
Section IV – Number of Franchised and Company-Owned Outlets
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 140
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 162
- Net Change: +22
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 162
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 193
- Net Change: +31
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 193
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 210
- Net Change: +17
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 28
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 22
- Net Change: -6
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 22
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 18
- Net Change: -4
- Outlets at the Start of the Year: 18
- Outlets at the End of the Year: 23
- Net Change: +5
Section V – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2019 FDD) and Analysis
Part 1 – Average Gross Sales for Certain Franchised and Company-Owned Centers for January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018
- As of December 31, 2018, there were 233 centers in the United States, 158 of which had been open for at least 24 months. The gross sales information for those 158 Centers for the period January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 (“Reporting Period”) is set forth below.
- The information presented excludes 75 Centers (70 Franchised Centers and 5 Company-Owned Centers) that have been open for fewer than 24 months as of December 31, 2018.
- Company-Owned Centers are majority owned by the franchisor or its affiliates, which are operated in a substantially similar manner as Franchised Centers.
- The information is divided into subsets: Centers that were open for more than 48 months (“Mature Centers”) and Centers that were open for 24-47 months (“Intermediate Centers”), as follows:
A. Mature Centers
Mature Franchised Centers