Eleva Educação: Transforming K-12 Education in Brazil

By Gloria Chie Lee, Imogen Mansfield, Daniel Uribe Villa
2022 | Case No. E760 | Length 26 pgs.
Eleva Educação is a Brazilian education company that owns and operates private K-12 schools and sells curriculum tools. As of 2020, they directly serve 84,000 students in a high-performing network of 114 affordable private schools in seven states across Brazil, reach 279,000 other students who are enrolled in schools that have licensed Eleva’s Learning Management System (LMS), and have successfully opened a new “premium” flagship school with a different education model and higher price point. They have grown rapidly through acquisition combined with aggressive brownfield and greenfield expansion and have invested in creating effective curriculum tools. They maintain both high quality and profitability through a sophisticated human capital approach and innovative pricing model. Backed by Gera Capital, an education-focused fund with capital from Brazilian billionaire businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann, Eleva hopes to raise R$1.5 billion (~$271 million USD) via an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future. At the time of the case, co-CEOs Duda Falcão and Bruno Elias are evaluating an offer from Cogna Educação for an asset swap: Cogna’s 45 K-12 schools in Brazil in exchange for Eleva’s LMS. They consider Eleva to be a “double-bottom-line” company with dual goals of providing a quality affordable education securing healthy financial margins, and have a broader vision for helping to transform K-12 education in Brazil.

Learning Objective

This case is suitable for courses on social entrepreneurship and is designed to help students think about the challenges of and opportunities for maximizing efficacy, financial health and scale in social impact organizations. Specifically, by discussing this case, students will:

  1. understand common trade-offs and tensions between financial sustainability, efficacy and scale; and
  2. understand conditions and strategic choices that can support organizations maximize financial sustainability, efficacy and scale.
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