University graduate secures £2 million deal with global education technology firm

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 22 JUNE

A Birmingham City University graduate is celebrating after signing a seven figure deal that will see his software spread across education markets in the UK and Australasia.

CEO and co-founder of the Wambiz private social network, Harry Jawanda, studied BSc Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) at Birmingham City University from 2005, graduating with first-class honours in 2009.

School of Computing and Digital Technology

Birmingham City University

Tribal Group plc has now acquired the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and exclusive distribution rights for Harry’s social network to education markets across the UK, Australia and New Zealand in a deal worth in the region of £2 million. Tribal will also have the rights to sell the solution into Canada.

Established in 2013 by Harry with business partner Andrew West, 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 every day 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 edtech start-up – based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus close to Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus – is now focused on expansion into mainland Europe and the US.

Harry Jawanda, aged 30 and from Wolverhampton, said:

“I simply wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the academic expertise and development opportunities bestowed upon me during my undergraduate degree at Birmingham City University. I certainly wasn’t a ‘techie’ when I started University, but the course I chose offered the flexibility to adapt to the changing demands of the business Information Technology industry and equipped me with the skills I needed to sow the seeds for my own entrepreneurial adventure.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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