Sim Shagaya’s uLesson African edtech startup raises $3.1M

Nigerian founder Sim Shagaya is back with a brand new startup —  uLesson — that has raised a $3.1 million seed spherical led by TLcom Capital.

The endeavor is integrating cellular platforms, SD playing cards, custom-mutter curriculum and a community of tutors to bridge academic gaps for secondary college students in Nigeria and broader Africa.

Based in 2019 by Shagaya — who moreover founded Nigerian e-commerce startup Konga and ad endeavor E-Bolt — uLesson is headquartered in Lagos with a production studio in Jos.

The startup has been in building section and plans to move to market in February 2020 in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia — Shagaya told TechCrunch on a name.

“We’re focusing on Anglophone West Africa…for a market of effectively 300 million of us,” he talked about.

On product ask, Shagaya notes the priority positioned on training all one of many best ways thru West African households vs. structural deficiencies — comparable to scholar teacher ratios as high as 1:70 in countries comparable to Nigeria.

“We now find this massive gap…We’re along with more babies in this nation nominally than all of Western Europe…Even though the [Nigerian] authorities used to be natty efficient, it couldn’t opt up with the academic desires of the kids who are coming up,” Shagaya talked about.

To take care of this, uLesson will supply an app-primarily based mostly home training equipment for faculty students with an up-entrance yearly subscription designate of spherical $70 and the choice to pay as you move. The startup’s product pack will hang a dongle, SD card, and a suite of headphones to connect with Android devices.

Curriculum on the uLesson program will embody put together assessments and tailored grunt material spherical math, physics, chemistry, and biology. The endeavor has already created 3000 titillating videos for core subjects, primarily based mostly on Shagaya.

To leverage high android cellular penetration in Africa — and decrease recordsdata-streaming prices — uLesson grunt material and efficiency evaluate will reach by a aggregate of streaming and SD playing cards.

Parents and students can connect online snappy to update the app and sync curriculum and results, whereas working off-line for the massive majority of classes.

Shagaya likened the exhaust of SD playing cards to the oldschool Netflix model of sending and returning DVD’s by mail, earlier than sooner and more cheap web service within the U.S.

The uLesson program will moreover equipment a human ingredient. The startup plans to deploy a community of counselors in main distribution areas to disclose on learn how to exhaust app and apply lesson plans.

uLesson is to be a complement to secondary college training and a more cheap and efficient replacement to interior most tutors, explained Shagaya.

After taking uLesson to market in Africa’s most populous nation — Nigeria — and other countries within the distance, Shagaya and team belief to adapt the product for a future East Africa launch.

In both Nigeria and Kenya uLesson will face competition from existing ventures. Edtech in Africa doesn’t find as many companies (or as noteworthy VC funding) as leading startup sectors fintech and e-commerce, however there are a replacement of gamers.

Provide: Briter Bridges

Nigeria has online edu startups, comparable to Tuteria. Feature cellular phone primarily based mostly scholar studying firm Eneza Education has scaled in Kenya and expanded to Ghana.

uLesson might per chance well depend having Shagaya as CEO as one amongst its advantages within the edtech place. The endeavor marks the founder’s return to the startup scene after a hiatus. Shagaya earned a Harvard MBA and worked for Google sooner than repatriating to Nigeria to chanced on numerous digital companies.

His most attention-grabbing identified endeavor, Konga, went head to move along with online retailer Jumia in pioneering e-commerce for Nigeria and Africa. Konga used to be sold in a distressed acquisition in 2018.

Shagaya efficiently exited his digital promoting endeavor E-Bolt this yr, after it used to be purchased by Loatsad Promedia.

The Nigerian tech entrepreneur confirmed he’s redirected some of that windfall into uLesson’s $3.1 million seed-spherical.  As section of TLcom’s lead on the funding, companions Omobola Johnson and Ido Sum will join uLesson’s board, Sum confirmed to TechCrunch.

For his section, Sim Shagaya underscores the for-profit space of his new startup, whereas noting it carries elevated which implies for him than previous commercial endeavors.

“Might per chance well find to you drill down to all of it, all our problems in Africa are tied this tell of affairs of training…If we attain this correct, our impact will be mammoth. For me right here is doubtlessly the largest work I’ll attain,” he talked about.

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