Wambiz, a start-up aiming to tackle the issue of student retention in further education, announced today that it has secured over £600,000 in angel funding for its education social network.  

The company's VEN (virtual engagement network) connects students with educators to deliver course and student information. It aims to provide a safe way for students to connect, communicate and collaborate with classmates, teachers and institutions.

Wambiz has deliberately designed WAMedu, an app for educational institutions, to be like the social media platforms students are using everyday in their personal lives, such as Twitter and WhatsApp. The company believes this results in greatly increased student engagement outside of the classroom. 

Co-founder and CEO Harry Jawanda said: “Institutions are losing millions in funding through students dropping out within the first three months of the school year.

“Much of this is down to a lack of initial engagement between the student and teachers and institutions. WAMedu offers a solution and bridges that gap. We help build engagement between these audiences through our understanding of how social networks have changed the way we all communicate.”

The investment was made by Allan Murdoch, the former executive chairman of telecoms provider HIPCOM, who has created a consortium of investors to back new tech start-ups.

Murdoch said: “We believe this vibrant business offers a product that is scalable across universities, schools as well as colleges and is founded on a strategy that will deliver growth. Wambiz has come a long way in such a short period and we are ready and excited to help them take the next step in their development.”

The investment means that Wambiz has secured over £1 million in total. 

The company is currently working with six further education colleges following a pilot scheme with South Staffordshire College in early 2014.