Sim Shagaya’s uLesson African edtech startup raises $three.1M – TechCrunch
The undertaking is integrating cell platforms, SD playing cards, culture-specific curriculum and a community of tutors to bridge instructional gaps for secondary faculty scholars in Nigeria and broader Africa.
Founded in 2019 via Shagaya — who additionally based Nigerian e-commerce startup Konga and advert undertaking E-Motion — uLesson is headquartered in Lagos with a manufacturing studio in Jos.
The startup has been in construction section and plans to visit marketplace in February 2020 in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia — Shagaya instructed TechCrunch on a choice.
“We’re targeting Anglophone West Africa…for a market of effectively 300 million people,” he stated.
On product call for, Shagaya notes the concern put on schooling throughout West African families vs. structural deficiencies — akin to scholar instructor ratios as prime as 70:1 in nations akin to Nigeria.
“We have this massive gap…We’re adding more babies in this country nominally than all of Western Europe…Even if the [Nigerian] government was super efficient, it couldn’t catch up with the educational needs of the young people that are coming up,” Shagaya stated.
To deal with this, uLesson will be offering an app-based house schooling package for college students with an up-front every year subscription worth of round $70 and the method to prepaid. The startup’s product pack will comprise a dongle, SD card, and a collection of headphones to hook up with Android gadgets.
Curriculum at the uLesson program will come with observe exams and adapted content material round math, physics, chemistry, and biology. The undertaking has already created 3000 animated movies for core topics, in step with Shagaya.
To leverage prime android cell penetration in Africa — and reduce data-streaming prices — uLesson content material and function evaluate will come by way of a mix of streaming and SD playing cards.
Parents and scholars can attach on-line quickly to replace the app and sync curriculum and effects, whilst working off-line for the majority of courses.
Shagaya likened the usage of SD playing cards to the previous Netflix fashion of sending and returning DVD’s via mail, previous to quicker and extra reasonably priced web provider within the U.S.
The uLesson program will even package deal a human part. The startup plans to deploy a community of counselors in primary distribution spaces to instruct on the way to use app and practice lesson plans.
uLesson is to be a complement to secondary faculty schooling and a extra reasonably priced and efficient choice to non-public tutors, defined Shagaya.
After taking uLesson to marketplace in Africa’s maximum populous country — Nigeria — and different nations within the area, Shagaya and staff plan to conform the product for a long term East Africa release.
In each Nigeria and Kenya uLesson will face festival from present ventures. Edtech in Africa doesn’t have as many corporations (or as a lot VC investment) as main startup sectors fintech and e-commerce, however there are a variety of gamers.
uLesson may just rely having Shagaya as CEO as certainly one of its benefits within the edtech area. The undertaking marks the founder’s go back to the startup scene after a hiatus. Shagaya earned a Harvard MBA and labored for Google earlier than repatriating to Nigeria to discovered a number of virtual corporations.
Shagaya effectively exited his virtual promoting undertaking E-Motion this yr, after it used to be bought via Loatsad Promedia.
The Nigerian tech entrepreneur showed he’s redirected a few of that providence into uLesson’s $three.1 million seed-round. As a part of TLcom’s lead at the funding, companions Omobola Johnson and Ido Sum will sign up for uLesson’s board, Sum showed to TechCrunch.
For his section, Sim Shagaya underscores the for-profit standing of his new startup, whilst noting it carries better which means for him than previous business endeavors.
“If you drill down to it all, all our problems in Africa are tied this problem of education…If we do this right, our impact will be huge. For me this is probably the most important work I’ll do,” he stated.