Nigerian ed-tech startup uLesson, launched by Konga founder Sim Shagaya, has closed a US$3.1 million seed round ahead of its market launch to address infrastructure and learning gaps in Africa’s education sector.
Shagaya who is also the founder of Konga and ad firm, E Motion-recently acquired by Loatsad Promomedia Limited, said: “We have this massive gap. We’re adding more babies in this country nominally than all of Western Europe. Even if the Nigerian government was super efficient, it couldn’t catch up with the educational needs of the young people that are coming up.”
— Sim Shagaya (@SimShagaya) November 26, 2019
Shagaya founded uLesson this year and the edtech startup aims to provide adaptive and interactive tests that help students master concepts intimately. Recommending lessons, prompting practice sessions and working closely with students to achieve the kind of growth that transforms lives both in and out of the classroom. The service is expected to deliver learning outcomes that are positive and measurable for learners, parents, and teachers.
Til now, the Jos-based team has produced over 3,000 richly animated, personalized video learning modules, quizzes and tests that will be available on the uLesson Android app via a subscription model in the first quarter of 2020.
To help it launch to market, uLesson has now closed a US$3.1 million seed round led by TLcom Capital, with participation by Shagaya himself. As part of the seed round, Ido Sum and Omobola Johnson, partners in TLcom’s executive team, will join the board alongside former Konga chief executive officer (CEO) Shola Adekoya.
Targeting secondary school learners across the West African region, uLesson will launch officially in February, having been in development and beta testing for 12 months. The seed round will also be used to develop educational content and a product for the East African market.
“Education systems across Africa are in crisis and uLesson has been developed to radically shake-up the system and bring better access to high-quality curriculum-relevant educational content to learners across the continent,” Shagaya said.
“As our population grows extremely rapidly, the current public and private approach to education investment is chasing a goal that is moving further away. We want to lower the entry point for access to education for young Africans, and technology is the only way this challenge will be met. With this in mind, today is not just an investment in uLesson – it’s an investment in Africa’s future.”
Sum said that, in uLesson, TLcom had found a company that fits perfectly with its ethos – an entrepreneur-led startup building an affordable, mass-market, mobile-first solution tackling one of Africa’s largest challenges.
“In Sim, we have an entrepreneur with an unrivaled track record in building technology products for Africa. His team is building solutions for a massive opportunity, and we strongly believe they are about to make a serious dent in the education market across the continent,” he said.