Clay, a Berlin-HQed startup whose communication tools allow colleges to foster student co-operation, avoiding "messy WhatsApp chats" around campus, is being acquired by its Italian ed tech peer Wyblo.
Wyblo has made the acquisition to integrate Clay's communication system, which caters to undergraduate studies, into its own ed tech portfolio. The communication tool will be rebranded as Wyblo and will become the "main social component" to the latter's services.
Following the acquisition, the two parties believe Wyblo and Clay will complement each other to "enable the delivery of social learning at scale."
Wyblo specialises in corporate training software tools, allowing companies to automate key training rituals and measure the impact and experience of participants. In the latter goal there's an overlap with Wyblo's focus on peer participation. The company says the deal will "further increase its share in the learning and development industry."
Wyblo's reputation in the Italian edtech ecosystem is on the rise. In October, it was selected by the Italian Trade & Investment Agency to represent the country in its Global Start Up Program, which sees founders from eight Italian startups spend time in Singapore to find out what works for expanding into Asia.
Kevin Giorgis, Wyblo founder and chief executive, said: "Wyblo, with the new acquisition, will help our clients connect with their learners to create better learner experiences and more opportunities for learning success.”
Clay founder Christoph Koenig took inspiration from his experience using distance learning modules to earn a degree.
He says he run up against decentralised communication tools throughout his studies, and this led to interactions between students becoming sparse, undermining peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge.
Moreover, Clay's software platform incorporates a host of community-led tools to make direct access to syllabus learnings far easier. Key features include communal learning wikis — imagine having an exam question explained by your smartest class mate, then imagine every exam question being explained without even asking.
There are also "team player leader boards" to spur friendly competition and quick polls to give teachers a snapshot of student sentiment. Understanding how students feel can have a dramatic impact on performance as deadlines and exams draw nearer. Clay claims its clients are able to improve learner outcomes, strengthening engagement through communication while limiting the need for traditional admin.
The first prototype of the software was recognised with a €24,000 EdTech prize in 2020. Clay says it encountered "bureaucratic" and "risk averse" university processes, but elected to take its marketing outreach directly to students, for instance approaching student unions and housing communities.
At the time of its acquisition, some of its clients include University of Siegen in Germany and ESCP Business School, a pan-European college with six campuses.