Tribal Group plc has acquired the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and exclusive distribution rights for the Wambiz private social network to the education markets across the UK, Australia and New Zealand in a deal worth in the region of £2m. The edtech start-up – based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus – is now focused on expansion into mainland Europe and the US.
The initial consideration for the acquisition is £1.25m, with further non-contingent consideration of £289,000 and £485,000 payable at the end of years one and two respectively. At Tribal's discretion, if in years two to five Tribal decides to sell this product into schools and work based learning customers, the firm will have to pay away 30 per cent of net revenue from these markets to Wambiz.
Wambiz Limited will be novating 34 existing customer contracts to Tribal. The asset value of these contracts and the IPR to be included in Tribal's accounts is expected to be approximately £2m.
Established in 2013, Wambiz provide a safe means for students to connect, communicate and collaborate with peers, teachers and institutions in an engaging, yet controlled way. With young people increasingly unresponsive to traditional communications such as texts and emails, Wambiz has the same look and feel as the social media platforms students are using everyday in their personal lives. This results in greatly increased student engagement outside of the classroom, but at the same time does not blur the line between social and school life, safeguarding the professional integrity of teachers and student welfare.
The company was enrolled on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future business incubation programme in the pre-revenue stage and received significant support from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, Dr David Hardman MBE – CEO of Innovation Birmingham – and also worked with a number of other tech start-ups based on the Campus.
30-year-old Harry Jawanda, a BCU graduate, CEO and Co-Founder of Wambiz commented: “When I started Wambiz with my business partner Andrew West, we were focused on fast growth. Seeking investment was a crucial part of that. The team at Innovation Birmingham ensured that we were investment-ready and put us in touch with tremendous contacts that shaped the direction of the business.
“The deal with Tribal is our largest to date and it was important for us to find a partner that understands education and could take our solution deeper into that market. We were also delighted that Tribal shared our vision of using private social networks to improve student engagement as the most natural way for students to communicate. Tribal has the resources to extend and grow this functionality in the education markets within their territories whilst allowing Wambiz to focus on the rest of the world.”
In the selected markets that Tribal Group will now own and manage Wambiz’s solution, all 34 existing education contracts will be transferred. This will grant access to Tribal’s enhanced support services, including a staffed first-line service desk. Tribal will also have the rights to sell the solution into Canada.
The Wambiz solution will be integrated into Tribal’s new student information framework and is a key step in the execution of Tribal’s product strategy, driving a single engagement solution for students in all education markets. Tribal’s acquisition shows the strong commitment to both the existing Wambiz social collaboration functionality, as well as Tribal’s continued commitment to improving the student experience.
Tribal will support existing Wambiz education customers and all the existing Wambiz applications. Likewise, current Tribal customers using the solution marketed as ontrack buzz will experience no difference.
Barbara Staruk, Managing Director Product and Development, Tribal declared: “We are excited to have formalised our relationship with Wambiz and have the opportunity to fully integrate the Wambiz solution into our new Student Information framework. We welcome all of Wambiz’s education customers to Tribal’s extensive customer community and will look to provide them with exceptional support and even more innovative solutions as we move forward.
“Engaging students is key to ensure successful education outcomes. We felt that the Wambiz solution enables communications between students and staff in a way that is both intuitive and current, and is already proven at numerous education institutes in both Higher and Further Education.
“Our agreement allows us to embed and extend the functionality and this will be made available as a module in our new Student Information framework. This enhances our current market-leading Student Information systems and also makes it available to institutions that do not have Tribal software.”