After Years In Search Of Funding, South Africa’s Ed-tech Startup Syafunda Raises $140k Funding To Scale

At a time when the coronavirus virus pandemic has disrupted school systems across Africa, South African ed-tech startup Syafunda has raised ZAR2.5 million (US$140,000) in new funding to enable it scale and respond faster to increasing demand. 

Here Is What You Need To Know

  • The funding came from the South Africa-based fund manager Edge Growth.
  • Armed with the new fund, Syafunda looks to meet the increasing demand it has witnessed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Why The Investor Invested

Launched in 2017 and with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Edge Growth efficiently channels funds into high-potential SMEs to support growth and ensure sustainability. The company’s dealmaker Vuyiswa Nzimande said the partnership with Syafunda would over the next five years make an impact that goes far beyond job creation.

“The strength of the operations and development teams shows in the quality of the innovation in the free-to-access Syafunda Digital Library. Ultimately, we believe that learners will improve the likelihood of entry into higher learning institutions and training/tertiary institutions,” she said.

Startups interested in applying to any of the company’s funds can do so by clicking here:

A Look At What Startup Syafunda Does

Launched in 2013, the Durban-based Syafunda partners with local content developers and publishers to establish digital libraries in areas where connectivity is limited or non-existent. These digital libraries come with five terabytes of pre-loaded content and double up as Wi-Fi hotspots so individuals in the vicinity with a mobile device can access the material.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Syafunda’s Founder Zakheni Ngubo?

For Ngubo, this a dream come true after close to six years on the startup which saw no funding at all in the first few years of its growth. 

I had little to no funding in the first few years after founding Syafunda,’’ Ngubo told Red Bull in 2018. During the first two years, the bulk of the funding was really just my personal savings and a whole lot of loans. It was difficult, but I still had to find ways to make the business a success. In fact, I got most of my early business infrastructure by offering my skills in return for resources. For example, I didn’t have money to develop my website so I asked a guy if I could do some consultations for his business and he paid me back by developing my website. That’s how Syafunda was developed. The early years were mostly about looking at what people needed and seeing how I could use that to grow the company.”

He also shares some advice for founders sending in pitches for fund raising. 

“Don’t be in too much of a rush to get funding,” he said. “Granted, it’s hard to run a business without it, but you should build your business first. There’s nothing worse than letting people in too early. Basically, don’t go out looking for business partners before you have a business.”


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