WESTFORD, MA December 14, 2023 — Higher education marketing and enrollment strategy leader Carnegie announced today its acquisition of Fire Engine RED’s Student Search Service. This move follows Carnegie’s acquisitions of Maguire Associates and Underscore, strategic decisions that brought financial aid strategy and Slate CRM expertise to Carnegie’s modern approach to Student Search. Carnegie’s newest acquisition underpins its commitment to delivering the most innovative marketing and enrollment solutions for its college and university partners—a promise that is playing out in its approach to Student Search.
Fire Engine RED’s Student Search team will join Carnegie, adding more talent to the Carnegie Student Search effort as well as the flexibility to serve both Slate and non-Slate CRM clients. “We analyzed the higher education landscape and saw that the traditional, volume-based Student Search model was unsustainable. We’ve developed an innovative philosophy and enhanced delivery method that we believe is the future of Student Search,” said Gary Colen, CEO of Carnegie. “Fire Engine RED’s talented team of Student Search strategists, managers, and operators share in our excitement for a modern Student Search and the opportunity to bring this approach to our industry partners.”
Carnegie points to changes in the market: fewer students, decreased access to student names, multiplying channels, increased data privacy, and changes in behaviors and expectations of students as the impetus for this innovation and acquisition. Their model is a transparent, lower-volume, higher-conversion approach that is hyper-focused on capturing attention, generating affinity, and applying precise strategies to increase yield. They leverage human connection, a core Carnegie philosophy, by using psychometric data (motivations, attitudes, and beliefs) to personalize and segment communication efforts. Their approach is bookended by strategies that gather rich data to ensure smart resource allocation—from the names purchased to the aid offered to each student. Carnegie meets students where they are by executing multi-channel, integrated digital marketing strategies. They offer fully supported Slate CRM execution, which provides clients with data transparency and control of their Student Search, and now will serve both Slate and non-Slate CRM clients with an optimized CRM execution. “We’ve seen clients turn around a downward trend in enrollment with this model, stabilize enrollment, as well as disrupt a period of enrollment stagnation. We are excited to be able to bring Carnegie Student Search to non-Slate CRM clients,” said Tyler Borders, CSO of Carnegie.
While Carnegie welcomes the former employees of Fire Engine RED who worked on Student Search, Shelly Spiegel, former CEO & Chief Creative Officer of Fire Engine RED, will continue to offer the higher education market an admissions recruitment CRM and stand-alone software products at Fireworks Software, Inc. “Carnegie and Fire Engine RED have a long and successful history of working together. There was no question in my mind that Carnegie was the right company to grow Student Search. I’m excited to dedicate my undivided attention to growing Fireworks Software, Inc. and returning to the company’s roots as a technology and software business,” said Shelly Spiegel, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of Fireworks Software.
Carnegie continues to push the boundaries of innovation in higher education marketing and enrollment management, a legacy that dates back to its establishment in 1985. Carnegie is backed by New Heritage Capital (“Heritage”), a Boston-based private equity firm focused on investing in and partnering with founder-led businesses. The Carnegie founder-owners partnered with Heritage in 2020 to accelerate growth through organic and M&A initiatives.
Carnegie (Carnegie Dartlet LLC) is a higher education enrollment marketing and strategy leader that delivers custom marketing and enrollment solutions through integrated research, strategy, digital marketing, lead generation, Slate optimization, Student Search, creative, and web design + development. By generating quality connections between universities and students, Carnegie drives enrollment success for its clients. Learn more at CarnegieHigherEd.com.
About Fire Engine RED
Fire Engine RED offers strategic enrollment management solutions and software to the education market. They were among the first fully remote companies in the U.S. and have operated without a central office since Shelly J. Spiegel, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, founded the company in 2001. Fire Engine RED’s Student Search service is now a part of Carnegie, and the software business is now Fireworks Software, Inc.
About New Heritage Capital
New Heritage Capital is a Boston-based private equity firm with a twenty-year history of partnering with growing, middle market, founder-owned businesses. With its innovative investment structures like the Private IPO®, New Heritage Capital provides founders with a combination of liquidity and growth capital while allowing founders to maintain control of their business. With decades of experience at managing growth, New Heritage Capital gives its partners the strategic, operational and financial guidance to help its companies reach their growth objectives.