Hot Growth Special Report 2006 >


56 (ECLG)

ECollege may be a little company with barely 500 employees, but the Chicago-based outfit has become the big man on campus when it comes to distance learning. Its special advantage is housing under one roof all the software, hardware, and services to make online learning a snap. This one-stop shop has helped it to make eCollege, founded in 1999, the source of choice for high schools and colleges in need of services to educate students wherever they reside. With demand high, eCollege's revenues are surging, reaching $102.9 million in 2005, up threefold from 2003's $36.9 million. Operating income soared over the same span to $13.5 million from just $1.7 million. But beware: The effect of a tax credit that buoyed after-tax earnings in 2004 has run out, causing net income to plunge 70%, from $19.4 million to $5.9 million in 2005.

Company Info

2005 Rank


Market Value*
($ Millions)


($ Millions)


Sales Growth
(3-yr. avg. annual)

69.7 %

($ Millions)


Profit Growth
(3-yr. avg. annual)

223.1 %

Return on Inv. Capital (3-yr.)

8.5 %

Share Price
12-Mo. Hi/Lo


Share Price
As of 4/28/06


Return on Equity

6.6 %

P/E Ratio


No. of Employees


Industry Internet Software & Services


Location Chicago
Phone 312 706-1710
*Trailing 12 months
Stock price data as of 4/28/06
DATA: Standard & Poor's Compustat

Related Articles

ECollege: High Marks for Ivy-Covered Software

Blackboard: A Big Name on Campus?

Distance Learning Closes the Gap

Company Snapshot provides outsource value added information services to the post-secondary education industry. It operates in two segments, eLearning and Enrollment. The eLearning segment offers eCourse that includes applications for managing courses, outlining assignments, facilitating class discussions, conducting lectures, testing, grading, and interacting with and among students; and eCompanion, which offers the functions of eCourse and provides tools to create an interactive online component to supplement on-campus courses. This segment provides Content Manager to manage, standardize, and reuse content across programs, courses, sections, and other applications; Gateway Campus and CampusPortal that offer community, academic, and administrative functions; and Program Management and Reporting for term and course administration and user management, and activity usage and enrollment reports that analyze student data to help customers manage their online programs. It offers Evaluation Solutions that automate the course and instructor evaluation process; and Program Intelligence Manager to identify and act on key drivers affecting student satisfaction, course and program quality, course completion, and student retention rates. This segment also provides help desk, course development and support, instructional design consulting and training, content solutions, and technical consulting services, as well as provides hosting, Internet connectivity, and product advancement infrastructure. The Enrollment segment provides direct mail, interactive marketing, media placement, student retention, custom research, admissions training, and admissions shopper services. The company serves for-profit education companies and post-secondary schools, public and private universities, community colleges, career commuter colleges, state departments of education, and K-12 school districts in the U.S. and Canada. eCollege was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Chicago.

Data provided by Capital IQ
Oakleigh Thorne

Oakleigh Thorne, 48

Chief Executive Officer

Total Compensation*

$ 502,300

Total Options Value*

$ 7,313,464

* Fiscal Year 2005

Boston University-BS, Columbia University Graduate School of Business-MBA

Executive Bio

Oakleigh Thorne has been the CEO of since May, 2000. Thorne has been the chairman and CEO of TBG Information Investors, and co-president of Blumenstein/Thorne Information Partners since October, 1996, and is a co-founder of these private-equity investment firms. TBG, a partnership with GS Capital Partners II, is a private-equity fund that focuses on capital transactions in the information industry. From September, 1986, to August, 1996, Thorne served in various management positions, including most recently as president and CEO of Commerce Clearing House, a leading provider of tax and business law information, software, and services. From April, 1995, to August, 1996, Thorne was president and CEO, and from January, 1991, to April, 1995, the executive vice-president of Commerce Clearing House. He served as president of CT from 1967 to 1977. He also serves as the chairman of the board of SCP Communications. Thorne serves as chairman of and has been its director since February, 1998. Thorne has been a director of Commerce Clearing House since 1988, its chairman since 1975, and a member of the executive committee since 1992. He serves as a director of Medscape and Aircell. Thorne serves on the boards of, SCP Communications, and ShopperTrakRCT. Thorne is also a director of the Bank of Millbrook and Fiduciary Trust Co. International. He joined the Medscape board in March, 1998, as TBG Information Investor's designee. Thorne is also chairman of Trout Unlimited and is a member of various charitable boards, including the Art Institute of Chicago and Lake Forest Open Lands. He holds a BS from Boston University's School of Journalism and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Management Team

Key Executives

Oakleigh Thorne; Douglas H. Kelsall; Matthew T. Schnittman; Thomas L. Dearden; David Reis; Reid E. Simpson; Marguerite M. Elias; Robert S. Haimes

Board Directors

Douglas H. Kelsall; Jack W. Blumenstein; Christopher E. Girgenti; Jeri L. Korshak; Thomas L. Dearden; Robert H. Mundheim; Oakleigh Thorne

Executive Data provided by Capital IQ