BlackRock’s Impact Opportunities Fund dives into the education sector

BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund has co-led an investment in Acelero, the vehicle’s sixth investment to date, and its first in the education sector.

BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund has co-led an investment in Acelero, a US-based education provider that aims to “dismantle inequalities” in early childhood education by providing sevrices in otherwise underserved areas.

Founded over 20 years ago, Acelero’s divisions – Acelero Learning, Shine Early Learning and Spark Learning – serve over 150,000 children across 28 states through a range of childcare centres and home-based providers.

BlackRock, which is joined this investment round by growth-stage private equity firm The Builders Fund and education-focused impact investor A-Street Ventures, said fresh funding will help Acelero to “extend its footprint” in the US and support the company “in its mission to close the achievement gap and advance education outcomes at scale”.

Acelero is BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund’s sixth investment to date and its first in the education sector.

Launched in 2021, BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund invests in companies that help underserved minority communities. According to Edwin Conway, global head of BlackRock Alternative Investors, the vehicle “aspires to change the way institutional capital flows to communities of colour”.

The firm had raised $800 million for this strategy in May and is currently targeting a $1 billion close. So far, backers include Costco Wholesale, PayPal, Lincoln Financial Group, insurance companies State Farm and Anthem, and the WK Kellogg Foundation.

According to BlackRock, this fund stands out from the social impact crowd by investing across a range of asset classes, including private equity, private credit, infrastructure, real estate and other niche asset classes.