Million-Dollar EdTechs in Africa: Raised over $1 Million in Funding
The era of the pandemic has heralded a dramatic transformation in the field of education, with digital learning emerging as the new norm. This paradigm shift has seen a surge in the adoption of online instruction and learning, consequently giving a significant boost to the EdTech industry. Notably, there has been a marked increase in funding for this sector, progressing from $7,651,100 distributed across 26 transactions in 2019 to $13,720,500 involving 28 deals in 2020. In 2021, over $12 million was raised, contributing significantly to the growth and enhancement of online education across the African continent.
EdTech platforms serve as valuable supplements to traditional education, sometimes even acting as full substitutes. These platforms are uniquely poised to address the challenges presented by traditional learning, such as overcrowded classrooms, commuting inconveniences, and difficulties in accessing quality instructors and learning materials. Online learning affords students the flexibility to pace their learning journey and cultivate skill sets that are not only relevant but also employable.
A critical aspect to understand in the realm of startup funding is that different rounds of funding are categorized based on investment amount, company valuation, and the developmental stage of the venture. Several notable EdTech startups in Africa have received substantial funding, which has paved the way for their growth and innovation.
African Leadership Academy: This Mauritian-based startup is dedicated to nurturing African leaders capable of addressing the continent's unique challenges and facilitating its growth. Having amassed a total funding of $55,800,000, they expanded their presence by establishing new locations in Kenya and South Africa. Their most recent funding round was a $30,800,000 Series B injection from Omidyar Network and Anders Holch Polvsen.
Edukoya: Fully dedicated to empowering both students and parents, offering them the means to seize control of their education journey while ensuring convenient access to top-notch learning resources and expert assistance. Founded in May 2021 by Honey Ogundeyi, former head of Google Nigeria, this startup achieved significant financial backing in 2021, securing a pre-seed investment of $3.5 million, with Target Global leading the way. The funding round also attracted prominent angel investors, including Shola Akinlade, co-founder and CEO of Paystack, Babs Ogundeyi, and Musty Mustapha, co-founders of Kuda.
Bridge International Academy (BIA): Operating in Kenya, BIA is a chain of nursery and primary schools that has secured $27,800,000 in funding. Their commitment extends beyond the national curriculum, as they have innovatively introduced cutting-edge wireless technology to enhance the educational experience for underprivileged children.
Spark Schools: Established in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2012, Spark Schools has constructed a network of private and independent schools offering globally competitive education. Their funding round in 2021, an undisclosed Series C funding, involved Creadev, Finnfund, and Imaginable Futures. Over time, they have collected over $11,700,000 in funding, which has enabled them to expand and enhance their facilitie
Kukua: Operating in Kenya, Kukua serves as a platform harnessing the power of new media and technology to empower children by providing them with immersive, sensory-engaging learning experiences. In 2018, this startup garnered a total of $2,510,000 in funding from investors such as EchoVC Partners, Kima Ventures, Founders Factory, Burda Principal Investments, and First Minute Capital. More recently, Kukua successfully raised $6 million, with Achemia and Tencent taking the lead. This additional funding will further Kukua's mission to combat child illiteracy on the African continent by using game-based educational apps like Super Sema to captivate children and make learning more appealing.
Kidato: In 2020, Kenyan serial entrepreneur Sam Gichuru established Kidato. In April 2021, the company successfully secured $1.4 million in seed funding. This investment round featured contributions from prominent investors like Learn Start Capital, Launch Africa Ventures Fund, Graph Ventures, Century Oak Capital, and various notable local and global angel investors. Additionally, Kidato was selected to participate in the YC W21 cohort, which came with an investment of $500,000.
uLesson: A Nigerian EdTech startup established in 2019, targets secondary schools in Anglophone Africa. They secured $3,100,000 in Seed Funding in 2019 and $7,500,000 in Series A funding in 2021. These funds were allocated to create comprehensive curricula and build a network of tutors, leveraging mobile phones as an educational platform. They are also expanding into East and South African markets.
Valenture Institute: A global private online education platform established in 2019 and currently operating in South Africa, Valenture Institute focuses on creating high school curricula recognized by leading universities worldwide. With $7 million in Series A funding from GSV Ventures, they've established campuses that combine online learning, learning coaches, and peer engagement in South Africa.
Enko Education: Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Enko Education is a network of international secondary schools across Africa, offering a pathway to top universities globally. They raised a total of $4,700,000 in seed funding and secured $1.4 million in Pre-series B funding in 2019 from a mix of private and institutional investors, setting the stage for further expansion.
Snapplify: A media and technology company with a specialization in retail and digital content distribution to both individuals and institutions. The platform offers a wide range of prescribed materials, including e-books, videos, audiobooks, and apps, from over 270 partners and publishers. Serving more than 1,400 institutions in Cape Town and South Africa, this startup secured $2 million in Series B funding from Knife Capital and Hlayisani Capital. This funding is earmarked for expanding the company's customer base and enhancing its market presence through the refinement of customer-centric product features.
The Student Hub: Operating since 2015, The Student Hub is an intelligent education company headquartered in South Africa. Their aim is to create a learner-centric education system that personalizes content for learners through a 100% online distance learning model. They've raised $3,200,200 in funding, which is allocated for digitizing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses and providing crowdfunding tools to assist students in financing their learning.
Craydel: A Kenyan edtech startup specializing in college comparisons, course options, and tuition fees, successfully secured $1 million in a pre-seed funding round in 2021. The funds were allocated towards enhancing its search and recommendation technology as well as improving its online resources. The round was spearheaded by Enza Capital, a private venture fund with a focus on early-stage tech startups in Africa, with participation from investors such as the Future of Learning Fund, BriteGaze, Bisk Ventures, and Tekton Ventures.
These investments come as a shining light to a sector that has been much ignored by investors because of its landscape and ability to return investment. In most cases, investors have considered other areas like Fintech because it provides better guarantee for recouping the investment made.