South African ed-tech startup Clock Education has reached profitability as it strives to ensure “holistic” learning experiences via its online platform.
Founded in 2016, Clock has developed a learning management system for educational institutions and corporates that looks to take advantage of the power of technology to boost outcomes and offer meaningful feedback.
Using its system, students can access content provided by their faculty, see an overview of how they are performing in each of their courses, and plan their schedules. They can also get feedback from their teachers and discuss issues with their peers.
Founder Kolawole Olajide came up with the idea for Clock while working with the African Leadership University (ALU), where as lead technologist he designed a learning system that incorporated much of what became Clock.
“At some point, we decided to explore external business opportunities around the application of our technology in other environments, keeping ALU and a few other institutions as research partners,” Olajide told Disrupt Africa.
The startup has grown from there, and now has a team of seven working from its Johannesburg office. It raised seed funding of more than US$250,000 to get off the ground, and is now profitable through licensing its software to clients.
Clock also recently became a Microsoft Learning Technology Partner, supporting learning needs for other technology partners and corporate clients.
“We are gradually starting to expand and deliver holistic digital solutions to learning institutions and corporates across the continent,” Olajide said.
“We have over 10 corporate clients using our technology for internal staff training and with our recent partnership with Microsoft we are going to grow much faster and hit our targets for the rest of the year.”
He said Clock’s focus for the next five years is to become the technical muscle that enables learning for all forward-thinking institutions on the continent. Global expansion has not been ruled out.
The startup’s niche, according to Olajide, is in the fact learning institutions struggle with managing software applications, especially when these products need to be integrated to create a seamless experience.
“Also, the core concepts of outcome driven content design and learning model cycles are not deeply integrated into the technology development process of current learning systems, and the ability to track learners’ progress based on their performance for different learning outcomes in different cycles of the learning model is required to give meaningful feedback. I believe we are competing with standard LMS providers globally,” he said.
Uptake has been so positive, in fact, he said the major question is how fast the startup should try to grow.
“Should we work with every school or only work with new schools that provide a clean slate for innovation and are very open to change? Should we take any project in education technology just because it is offering cash?,” he asked.
“For now we have chosen to work with selected group of schools and institutions so that we can craft a unique learning experience with powerful technology and then gradually scale up as we progress.”