The Covid-19 pandemic has created a new normal in most of the ways we experience life. One of the major shifts happened in the education sector with online studying. As more people gravitated towards online studying, the EdTech industry saw an increase in funding - from $7,651,100 across 26 deals in 2019 to $13,720,500 across 28 deals in 2020. So far in 2021 EdTech companies have raised $12.83M in disclosed funding. This is an 89.5% growth compared to the same period in 2020. The increase in funding has allowed for EdTech companies to increase their reach and improve their services.
The pandemic also saw newcomers to the industry like Kidato which came up to react to the current state of the education system in the countries and throughout the continent. The online platform operates around Zoom and models after interactive arcade games like Minecraft and Roblox to keep children engaged. Without infrastructural costs to oversee, Kidato is able to pay its teachers a slightly higher than average salary. The education startup has so far gained over 700 registered students and a waitlist of 3000 teachers.
Online studying will slowly replace the traditional in-person classrooms with time, especially with the reception it has received. EdTech responds better to the problems posed by traditional modes of learning with no commutes or overcrowding in classrooms. It also allows children to learn at their own pace and learn better about their passions with more relevant skill-sets.
The top 5 countries receiving funding in the education sector, with figures compiled since 2018, are South Africa - $50,609,000; Nigeria - $11,805,000; Kenya - $4,460,000; Egypt - $2,167,000 and Tunisia $980,000.
Here are the Edtech Startups that have received funding above $1m
African Leadership Academy is a Mauritius-based startup aiming to develop African leaders that will address African challenges, achieve great social impact, and accelerate the continent’s growth trajectory. Since its inception in 2008, the Academy has received $55,800,000 in total funding which it has used to open new locations in Kenya and South Africa. The latest round was $30,800,000 Series B funding from Omidyar Network and Anders Holch Polvsen.
Kenya’s Bridge International Academies is a chain of nursery and primary schools. The Academies have received $27,800,000 in funding. Bridge International Academies provides education to underprivileged children based on the national curriculum. The Academies come packed with in-depth teacher training, cutting-edge wireless technology and absolutely zero cost to the children. With the funding received, the startup has increased its reach with more schools to reach more impoverished children around Africa.
SPARK Schools were founded in 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa as a network of independent and private schools offering globally competitive education. Its latest round is an undisclosed amount in Series C funding in 2021 from Creadev, Finnfund and Imaginable Futures. SPARK Schools has amassed $11,700,000 in funding which will be used to improve the facilities and expand.
uLesson, a Nigerian EdTech startup, was created in 2019 to reach secondary children in Anglophone Africa. The Application-based education platform received $7,500,000 Series A funding in its latest funding round, January 2021, from Owl Ventures, TLcom Capital, Founder Collective and LocalGlobe. With a $3,100,000 Seed funding in 2019 from TLcom Capital, total disclosed funding stands at $10,600,000. uLesson uses a wide range of curricula and a network of tutors to leverage mobile phones as an education platform. The platform hopes to use the funding to break into East and South Africa markets.
Valenture Institute is a global private online education platform offering a high school curriculum recognised by leading universities around the world. It was founded in 2019 and has its headquarters in the UK but is currently operational in South Africa. In 2020, the institute received $7m in Series A funding from GSV Ventures. The funding will help establish more campuses in South Africa that combine online learning with Learning coaches and peer engagement. The startup intends to march the growing demand for online studying in the current climate.
Enko Education based in Johannesburg, South Africa is an African-wide network of international secondary schools in Africa that offers a launchpad to the world’s best universities. Founded in 2013, the startup has raised $4,700,000 in total funding. Its latest round is a $1.4M Pre-Series B funding in 2019 from a pool of private and institutional investors. Enko Education currently operates 13 international schools in 8 African countries and hopes to widen its base with the funding received.
The Student Hub founded in 2015 is a smart education company headquartered in South Africa. It aims to create a learner-eccentric education system where each student is equipped and achieve to discover their purpose. Its recent funding found - $2,900,000 funding in 2020 from Naspers - brings its total funding up to $3,200,000. The Student Hub digitises TVET course content to present it personalised for learners on its 100% online distance learning model. The platform also provides lecturers and tutors with tools to track individual performance. It also has crowdfunding tools to assist students finance their studies. With the funds, the startup intends to improve its efficiency.
Kenya’s Kukua leverages new media and technology to empower children to learn through sensory-engaging experiences. Founded in 2014, the startup has since raised $2,510,000 in total funding. It received this amount in 2018 Seed funding from EchoVC Partners, Kima Ventures, Founders Factory, Burda Principle Investments and First Minute Capital. Kukua intends to address child illiteracy on the continent. It does this by using game-based educational apps, like Sema, to engage children and make learning attractive.
Founded in 2013, South Africa’s iXperience partners with high schools, universities and corporates to provide progressive education programs and equip students with industry-based skills. In May 2021, the startup raised $2,500,000 in Series A funding from Kalon Venture Partners and Caleo Private Equity. The company will use the funding received to expand its team and develop an innovative tech platform. External projects include building a global strategic partnerships division and launching programmes across different markets.
Snapplify is a media and technology company that specialises in the retail and distribution of digital content to institutions and individual users. The platform already includes prescribed eTextbooks, videos, audiobooks and apps from more than 270 partnered publishers. With these services, the company caters to more than 1400 institutions - schools, colleges and universities. Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and founded in 2011, the startup has raised $2,000,000 in Series B funding from Knife Capital and Hlayisani Capital. The funding received will enable the company gain more customers. It will also help increase its market footprint through business development and refining customer-led product features.
Kidato is an online school for K-12 students with headquarters in Kenya that provides high-quality and affordable education to Africa’s middle class. The startup was founded in 2020 and has since then raised $1,525,000 in funding. It received $125,000 Pre-Seed funding in March 2021 from Y Combinator which it then followed up with $1.4M Seed funding in April 2021 from Learn Start Capital, Launch Africa Ventures, Graph Ventures and Century Oak Capital. The company hopes to use the funding for growth and product development.
Zedny is Egypt’s Arabic e-learning platform with over 200 online courses, 400 animated video summaries and more than 5000 hours of study. The company offers services in the Middle East and targets individuals looking to develop their general business skills. Founded in 2018, the startup received $1,200,000 Pre-Seed funding in June 2020. It offers its services at the fraction of the cost of its offline alternatives and hopes to strengthen Arab human capital.
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