Nigerian edtech startup uLesson just secured $7.5 million in Series A funding, TechCrunch reports.
Sim Shagaya is the owner of uLesson, an edtech company based in Nigeria focusing on selling digital curriculum to students through SD cards.
The product launched just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic, benefitting from the sudden shift across Africa to virtual learning. ULesson offers SD cards as a low-bandwidth solution to delivering content at just $50 annually.
The app has already been downloaded more than 1 million times, and recent reports show a 70% month over month growth, positioning the company to go online entirely by quarter 2 of this year.
Now, uLesson has secured $7.5 million in Series A funding, led by Owl Ventures, which recently closed on half a billion in new financing alongside LocalGlobe and existing investment firms TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. Shagaya closed $3.1 million of seed funding in November of 2019, and the ongoing pandemic has only bolstered the company’s value proposition.
“The ground became wet in a way we didn’t see before. It opens up the world for us to do all kinds of really amazing things we’ve wanted to do in the world of edtech that you can’t do in a strictly offline sense,” Shagaya said.
E-learning companies have been steadily on the rise, but Shagaya believes he has cornered the market for digital African markets. He thinks African edtech represents endless possibilities primarily due to the young population and the vast majority of private-schooled students with extra education funds. Ulesson is already looking to expand into a live, online platform offering new features like live tutoring, which has proven successful in trials. Shagaya is preparing to work with the University of Georgia to conduct research around mastery for its users and data on effectiveness and outcomes.
“We want you to be able to push a button and get immediate support from a college student sitting somewhere on the continent who has mastered what you’re studying. Everybody sees that Africa is a big opportunity. But everybody also sees that you need a local team to execute on this. Content efforts and products [will] live or die at the altar of distribution,”