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CLANED - Invest in International Growth

CLANED applies artificial intelligence and theories of education psychology revealing what factors impact individual learning. It personalizes learning to each individual optimizing study motivation and improving learning results.

Vår berättelse

The vast majority of education providers from schools to universities, corporations and online course providers still offer one standardized way to learn although it is widely acknowledged that individuals learn differently. Each year millions of students find out that the one size fits all approach does not suit them. They struggle, they delay and too often they fail. The problem is huge on individual level especially when the students never understood why they struggled and failed letting their sense of failure direct and limit their future choices.

Popular Internet services such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and PInterst are all based on highly individual and relevant service experience. Education technology has not reached the level of other industries in digitalization and has not been able to offer personalized learning that matches the needs of individual students.

Seasoned serial entrepreneurs Vesa Perala, Micke Paqvalen and Antti Pasila started the operative business of Claned Group Ltd. in 2013. They saw huge value in understanding what impacts the learning of different individuals and decided to start developing CLANED in June 2013 in order to provide best, personalized learning to everyone everywhere. The founders also understood that the massive education industry is on the verge of disruption and the last industry that experienced this kind of pressure was traditional media, when seemingly overnight, technology companies on the winning side of the disruption turned into billion-dollar businesses.

Vår affärs- och marknadssituation

CLANED Solution

Education is moving to digital at an increasing pace. However, the digital tools offered to the students are not designed to optimize their learning experience nor results. Traditional digital learning tools such as Learning Management Systems are designed by organizations to other organizations and lack social media like functionalities and learning analytics. There is no engagement nor interaction between the users and tools and they mainly serve as digital learning content storages. No-one likes nor uses these systems more than they have to.

CLANED is designed for students. It is a social and digital learning environment that creates a personal learning space for each student. Within that space they read, write, watch videos, highlight, make notes, chat, plan, collaborate with others, raise questions etc. - everything students already do on daily basis. CLANED is compatible with every data terminal equipment.

Our innovation is an unique combination of artificial intelligence and theories of education psychology. CLANED learns to understand how different students learn and what factors impact individual learning processes and study performance. Based on this comprehensive insight, CLANED recommends students learning materials, study buddies and mentors that best match their individual needs dynamically and in real time. The product concept is based on years of academic research and has been developed in collaboration with leading educational institutions.

Personalized learning has been a key educational trend at least for the last decade but the industry has failed to deliver solutions that offer personalized education materials as well as actual social interaction with peers and teachers. CLANED solves the core problem preventing personalized education by knowing which factors impact the learning of different individuals. CLANED can build and recommend students personalized learning paths that help them to optimize their study motivation and reach better and better learning results. According to several academic studies, social interactions trigger learning. Therefore, the social learning aspects have a key role in CLANED.


The global education market is huge and estimated to be 3 300 billion euros. The market is growing 7% annually. The education technology market is worth over 100 billion euros and predicted to grow by more than 20% per annum during the next years. The growth is strongest in emerging markets such as India (55%), China (52%), Malaysia (40%) and Brazil (26%) as examples.

Product Development

The development of CLANED began in June 2013 after we had raised app. 1,5 million euros from Finnish business angels in April 2013. In addition to the raised capital, we received a soft loan of 670 000 euros from TEKES (Finnish Government owned financial institution). We raised app. 1,3 million euros using a convertible note and received a grant of 552 500 euros from Eurostars program of European Union in 2015. The post-money valuation of the convertible note round as of December 31st, 2015 was 12,33 million euros. The convertible notes were converted into class A common shares of the company. We submitted our application to TEKES NIY program on May 26th 2016. The NIY program provides a total of 1,25 million euros of which 500,000 euros is a grant and the rest a soft loan. Funds are directed to companies that show strong international growth and growth potential.

The first web version of CLANED was ready for sales in the end of 2015 but intensive focus and investment in research and development continues and will not stop in the future.

Business Models

According to our go to market strategy, we focused on building a strong international reference customer base during the first half of 2016. We carefully screened and selected customers, which would provide us credibility as a supplier and scaling up opportunities later on. As CLANED is strongly positioned as a Finnish education technology company, we realized it is vital to build an exceptionally strong reference base with different customer segments in Finland. Finnish education brand opens up any customer or partner door globally.

The organizational customers are schools, municipalities, universities and different sized commercial corporations. These customers pay a subscription fee per student. The annual fee is currently 20€ but will rise to 50€ for corporate customers in second half of 2016. The fee is invoiced 12 months in advance.

When CLANED native mobile applications (iOS and Android) and Market Place are launched in summer 2016, CLANED starts charging a 30% commission from all education material purchases. CLANED Market Place enables any content provider including teachers and students to sell and buy self generated learning materials such as lecture notes. We continue to introduce new chargeable services for the consumers later in 2016.

Business traction

We started sales to organizational customer in late 2015 and have exceeded the targets for the first 6 months as we have closed deals in excess of 1 million euros in over 10 countries. Our customer and partner references include e.g. the following ones: 

Microsoft, United Nations, Lenovo, Telefonica, Banco Santander, Michigan State University, Tieto, 3StepIT, TeliaSonera, Edita, Oulu Business School, University of Eastern Finland, Fioca, Imperial College, Royal College of Art, University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Odilo, Keuda, Tallin University of Technology, i3L, IPMI Business School, Vertice Learning, Fedegari SpA, Skedco Inc., Lion's Club, EduTrigger, EduTech, Icare Finland, Optomed and several other companies and education institutions. Some reference cases are described in more details below:

United Nations is building a global innovation community on CLANED platform. Solution will be used by employees from all over 50 UN agencies world wide. The other project partner is Google Creativity Labs. UN chose CLANED because of the social collaboration capabilities and unique learning analytics of the system. Project will be delivered in July 2016.

Fioca Ltd. is private education and publishing company owned by The Finnish Nurses Association. Fioca is offering vocational training courses to nurses using CLANED as their platform. The aim is to have nurses carrying their personal learning portfolio with them in their pockets (in smart phones) at all times. The first course about acute pain handling reaches 8,000 nurses in Finnish capital region.

Oulu Business School (OBS) started using CLANED in January 2016. The first course on CLANED had app. 300 students and focused on providing students tools for social collaboration and knowledge creation. The targets were exceeded by far and commercial co-operation with OBS continued immediately. According to one of the students, "studying on CLANED environment was more social and effective than the traditional lectures".

Telefonica has chosen CLANED as their education partner and the first project will be kicked off in June 2016 in Spain. The course will be done in co-operation with Ferran Adrian, who is known as the chef and owner of the world's best restaurant elBulli. We will expand the co-operation with Telefonica to Latin America later in 2016.

CLANED is creating professional training for 200 Finnish schools and 4,000 teachers together with Microsoft and Edita. At a later stage, the solutions will reach app. 80% of all Finnish schools and teachers. All training takes place on CLANED platform and the entire concept will be exported to international market together with Microsoft and Edita.

Our sales funnel includes over 100 active cases both in Finland and internationally.

User feedback

The user feedback has been fantastic. According to our market survey (app. 200 students):

  • 87% of the users will recommend CLANED to their peers
  • 71% will continue using CLANED
  • 0% dropped out from the courses that used CLANED

Users like the social collaboration features that add them clear value in daily studies. At Oulu Business School, the amount of social collaboration increased over 500% compared to everything else they had tried before. The students sent e.g. over 5 000 chat messages on CLANED during the first week of the course.

According to a Director of Microsoft Worldwide Education, "CLANED is the best ting that happened to learning. Ever".

Vårt team

Vårt team

Each member of CLANED core team has over 20 years of professional experience in their disciplines. The team has worked three years together.

Our shared vision is to improve learning by enabling personalized learning for everyone even outside of formal education systems. We see the huge busines potential of CLANED but believe that it is best achieved by providing our users and customers exceptional added value that truly matters in their real lives.

Vesa Perala

Experienced new business developer who has an extensive global network. Founder of CLANED and responsible for growth and fundraising

Vesa Perala started as an entrepreneur in 2008 having worked previously for 13 years at leadership positions at Nokia Corporaton, Jabra and Coloplast. When he was living in Denmark, Vesa led a 200 million euro business division of Jabra and was responsible for a global project changing the way sales and marketing was performed and organized at Coloplast. As a CEO of Web of Trust (WOT), he grew the user base from 6 to over 100 million users in two years and closed commercial deals with e.g. Facebook, Google, Mail.ru and Yandex. Vesa is also a co-founder of Inbot Inc. and has invested in start-ups such as Kiosked, SportSetter, Venuu, Kansalaisrahoitus and Zadaa. He has 3 previous exits on his belt and has raised over 25 million euros in venture capital during his career. Vesa holds a M.Sc. degree in engineering. https://de.linkedin.com/in/vesaperala

Mervi Palander

Over 20 years of education industry experience. Creator of CLANED product vision and CEO.

Mervi started the e-learning activities of Nokia Corporation in 1990's creating digital learning solutions to over 200,000 internal and external users. After Nokia, she worked in leadership positions in education companies both in Finland and abroad in 2005-2010. In 2010-2013 she founded and led the national education export program Future Learning Finland reporting to three ministries. Mervi has been the CEO of CLANED since 2013 and has an exceptionally wide domestic and international network. Mervi has analyzed over 2,000 thousand education technology solutions during her career and knows their features and shortcomings thoroughly. The CLANED product concept has been originally created based on Mervi's pedagogical and digital expertise as well as education technology market knowledge. She holds a M.Sc. degree in both Education and Psychology. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/mervi-palander-71952644

Antti Pasila

Strategic growth, online business, CLANED co-founder and chairman of the board

Antti has over 10 years of experience in online business. He is the co-founder of Kiosked and responsible for the USA operations and growth of one of the fastest growing start-ups in Finland. Antti is a CLANED co-founder and the chairman of board of directors. He brings in special expertise e.g. in the fields of strategic growth, marketing and USA market expansion. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anttipasila

Micke Paqvalén

Entrepreneur since 1998, built 5 sofware companies , CLANED co-founder

Micke has been co-founding and building five major software companies, of which two have been sold to Oracle Corporation and Aastra Technologies and one today has offices and customers in +100 countries with almost 300 employees. He has raised +100 MEUR in venture capital for those companies from investors such as Accel Partners, Investor, TCW, 3i, Permira et others. During his tenure as founding entrepreneur he has, among others, been awarded the European ICT Grand Prize, the award for Best Enterprise Software solution at the Mobile World Congress, Red Herring Global Award, The American Business Award and many global design awards. Micke has also worked for almost 8 years for the Wallenberg family holding company (Incentive) as CFO for Global Operations in +60 countries with +5,500 employees

. Micke is the Founder and CEO of Kiosked. Together with his team, he has built one of the fastest growing companies in Finland with +90 employees and offices in Helsinki, London, Dublin, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney and Shenzen. Micke is the co-founder of CLANED and advises the company especially in the areas of funding and international growth. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/paqvalen

Ilkka Autio, Ph.D

Ilkka is responsible for the algorithm development of CLANED.

Dr. Ilkka Autio has over 15 years of professional and academic experience in R&D, intelligent systems, algorithm design and solution architecture. He has previously worked at Tekla and Nextim as a software architect. Ilkka has a Ph.D from computer sciences at University of Helsinki. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/ilkka-autio-7a11908

Topi Litmanen, Ph.D

Topi is responsible for the pedagogical development of CLANED.

Topi has a Ph.D from University of Helsinki where he worked with Professor Kirsti Lonka and her research teams. Topi did his doctoral thesis on digital learning environments. He worked previously at the Finnish Medical Association where he managed the development of digital learning tools. Topi is the academic "voice of CLANED" at international conferences and seminars. He is responsible for the pedagogical development of CLANED and ensures that all product features are based on academically validated metrics and theories. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/topi-litmanen-8aa6375

Jyrki Ojaniemi

Jyrki is the CTO of CLANED.

Jyrki is responsible for technology development, technology partnerships and product and server architecture of CLANED. He has extensive experience from software development and management at Nokia Corporation and Microsoft. Jyrki was known as the "guru" at Salo R&D site in Finland. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/jyrki-ojaniemi-6906514

Seppo Siika-aho

Seppo has a background in both education and IT. He is the COO of Claned.

Seppo is teacher by education but has worked nearly 15 years in management roles in IT at Stora Enso, Nokia and Microsoft. Prior to this, Seppo worked as a media producer and played volleyball professionally in Finnish national team in the beginning of 1990's. Sepo is responsible for CLANED domestic sales and especially for public sector clients. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/seppo-siika-aho-70176

Pertti Jalasvirta

Evangelist, very seasoned sales professional

Pertti has over 30 years of sales and sales expansion experience. He has wide experience from international sales in defence, medical and education industries both at small and large companies. Pertti has an excellent contact network and is responsible for international sales, business development and partner management in liaison with Vesa. https://fi.linkedin.com/in/pertti-jalasvirta-b2aaa068

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Education technology market will grow significanty over the upcoming years. This is ensured by the global trend of education moving to digital. Individuals, organizations and countries have understood the significant role of education e.g. in future GDP growth. We see that the current market environment and its future development is very favourable to CLANED.

The commercial operations of CLANED have started very well. Despite the deals worth over 1 million euros, CLANED needs new capital in order to be able to grow internationally as planned. We have raised app. 4 million euros so far, which is a lot for a Finnish start-up but not enough internationally. We believe firmly in our product and capability of growing the company but there is always a risk of an USA-based start-up raising 100 million in venture capital, dveloping a competing product and winning us with their speed and muscles. Therefore, part of the overall risks of CLANED is our capability to raise more capital and grow to a market leader position as fast as possible.

CLANED has been able to decrease the technology related risks significantly in 2013-2015. There is still a certain technological risk in future product development but it does not anymore endanger the existence of the company like during the early days. Key product developer risk is higher than the general technology risk as it is very hard to find skilled mathematicians who can code The key employee risk is managed by involving all key persons by the means of employee stock options.

There are numerous companies operating in the education technology industry and thousands of different digital learning solutions. There are no direct competitors i.e. companies, which have a similar solution but there are multiple in-direct competitors whose product can still eliminate opportunities with customers from us. The closest competitors are the following US-based companies: Knewton, DeClara and Desire2Learn. In addition, Blackboard and Moodle are among the popular traditional Learning Management Systems.