Cambly Inc., an educational technology start-up offering services in English via a video platform, has hired Laurence Wilson as general counsel.
Wilson was the very first in-house attorney at Yelp Inc. He retired earlier this year from the San Francisco-based technology company he helped take public a decade ago and turn into a hub for online business reviews.
The education and technology space has seen a boom in hiring in-house lawyers during the pandemic. Edtech companies have sought to serve customers facing lockdown orders and have sought legal expertise as regulators look to remote learning.
Wilson joined Cambly as its first in-house counsel in mid-September, he said by email. The private company has the same early institutional investors as Yelp in Benchmark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, which was part of the lure of joining the San Francisco-based startup, Wilson said.
He was also drawn to Cambly’s “mission and purpose” to help the roughly 1.5 billion people around the world “trying to learn English,” Wilson said. The company, which was founded in 2012 and has its roots in tech startup accelerator Y Combinator, raised $60 million in venture capital in June.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr advised Cambly on his past fundraising efforts, Wilson said. Public records show the law firm also handled branding work for Cambly, which is creating a one-to-one video chat app that connects users looking to learn English with tutors.
Wilson was not one of Yelp’s five highest-paid executives in 2021, according to a proxy statement filed by the company earlier this year. Securities filings show he sold nearly $4.8 million worth of Yelp stock last year. Wilson currently owns nearly $6 million in Yelp stock, according to data from Bloomberg.
Yelp’s proxy revealed that Wilson’s wife and the company’s chief diversity officer, Miriam Warren, received a base salary of $300,000 last year. Yelp also paid nearly $2,900 to help Warren and Wilson prepare their tax returns due to Warren’s secondment to an overseas subsidiary, the company said.
Warren owns about $1.5 million in Yelp stock, according to data from Bloomberg.