Brook Portfolio Company Certica Acquires Unbound Concepts

Certica Solutions (Certica), provider of the Certica Connect™ edtech platform-as-a-service (PaaS), today announced the acquisition of Baltimore-based Unbound Concepts, innovator of the Artifact™ application which provides educators, librarians, readers and curriculum buyers with a better way to search, browse and discover books. Artifact embodies a unique taxonomy of over 700 terms – including topics, themes, literary elements and learning criteria – which enables enrichment and more effective discovery of content.

Artifact’s capabilities enhance the natural ecosystem between publishers, distributors, book buyers and readers. The acquisition enables Certica to provide its growing network of edtech partners with the ability to tag and describe content using “artifacts”; and to embed content search capabilities into key applications. The addition of Artifact complements Certica’s Academic Benchmarks™ collection of over 3.9 million learning standards and taxonomic terms, utilized by nearly 200 education sector providers to enrich, align and power improved search of content. Both capabilities will be available to publishers, booksellers and educational system providers, such as learning management system (LMS) vendors, via the Certica Connect platform.

The Certica Connect platform provides K-12 vendors with a “one-stop-shop” of interrelated, embeddable technology services, education-centric APIs, and hosted applications which allow edtech companies and content providers to extend and enhance their products. Utilizing Certica Connect’s technology services, partners can search, discover, align and enrich content; author and deliver assessments and assessment content; integrate data from their clients’ K-12 information systems; and achieve application interoperability.

In the past 18 months, Certica has incorporated a number of best-of-breed technology assets into the Certica Connect platform, including the Academic Benchmarks repository of learning standards and taxonomies, and data integration capabilities based on the Ed-Fi® education open data standard.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Certica organization,” said Katie Palencsar, chief executive officer, Unbound Concepts. “Certica is focused on bringing best-of-breed technology to publishers and software providers across the education spectrum. Our teams’ combined networks of business partners will now be able to leverage the widest-available universe of education metadata, to foster discovery of the best content for schools, libraries and students.”

Said Mark Rankovic, Certica’s president and chief executive officer, “we are inspired by Unbound Concepts’ innovative and expert application of learning metadata – such as topics, themes, literary elements and reading levels – to improve the process of content discovery. Unbound Concepts has made important connections between book publishers, distributors, buyers and educators, by creating a common language between those stakeholders. We’re excited to execute the synergies between Artifact and our existing platform capabilities, to benefit our business partners.”

Unbound Concepts partners with a range of book distributors and publishers, including Follett and Follett’s recently acquired Baker & Taylor division; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Gale, a Cengage Company; ABDO Publishing; Lerner Publishing Group; Albert Whitman & Co.; Kids Can Press; Cherry Lake Publishing; Red Rocket Readers and others.

About Certica Solution
Certica is the innovator of the Certica Connect™ platform-as-a-service which provides application interoperability and centralized integration, access and enrichment of education data, metadata and content. The company partners with a diverse network of K-12 application and system vendors, as well as learning content and assessment providers. Certica also delivers solutions directly to more than 600 school districts and numerous charter school organizations, state education agencies and educational service agencies. Certica is based in Wakefield, Mass.; with offices in Harvard, Mass.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

June 26, 2017