Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

For years, offline test prep centers in Nigeria have provided after-school tutoring and tutoring to students seeking to pass entrance exams. Edtech platforms like Edukoya came into existence with the intention of bringing these models online and maintaining affordability for students.

Today, the Lagos and London-based startup, which builds online educational content and provides online tutoring for students and their parents, has raised $3.5 million in pre-seed funding led by European VC firm Target Global.

The platform offers a range of features such as 24/7 exam preparation and homework help, a step-by-step question bank, and personalized performance tracking systems.

Edukoya was founded in May by CEO Honey Ogundeyi. She told BestFitnessBands that the platform, which launched in beta this month, plans to go fully live in 2022.

Nigeria’s education system is a stark representation of what exists in most countries in Africa: bad equipped classrooms, few quality teachers, terrible infrastructure, irrelevant curriculum and ridiculous student-to-teacher ratios (it was even 46:1 in Nigeria for primary education).

AAs a result of these challenges, the average parent seeks after-school classes for their children. Ogundeyi experienced this during her school days in Nigeria, and she said she started Edukoya after contrasting K-12 experiences in the West African country and the UK

“Sometimes even the most brilliant students can” let alone through the system,” she said. “If my parents hadn’t made the sacrifice for me to go abroad, all the successes I’ve had in my career would have been completely different. Now I have two children, and Seeing that same problem of going to school and struggling with some subjects, I started looking for after-school teachers. And the only I noticed that this thing hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years. If we look at all the innovation in different industries, the education system of Africa stayed 50 years untouched; it has stopped.”

At the end of any K-12 degree, most students’ goal is to attend college. Like it in the US, where the SAT is the standardized test for university admissions, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are the equivalents for university admissions in Nigeria.

students typical For these exams, practice using material from past test questions. Edukoya has bundled these practice tests for both entrance exams (about 20,000) in its mobile application. Edukoya said it provides step-by-step solutions to “solve difficult problems on past exam papers”, and students can contact experienced teachers to help them when they get stuck.

The platform then provides insights with scores, time spent per question, and other metrics to help students identify their strengths and areas for improvement.

In the few months that the platform has been in beta with a handful of users, Edukoya claims that: 96% of students using the platform got higher grades on recent tests than when not using Edukoya.

Edukoya is not the first edtech startup to launch an online learning or test prep application in Nigeria. So a lot of similar platforms have popped up over the past five years and it seemed like this was the only edtech brand that could to be build in the country.

Many of them are closed or have reached little or no scale. Edukoya has yet to do both. But after raising the largest pre-seed round in Nigeria and on the continent, the startup is ready to reach a larger scale than its predecessors, which secured only paltry amounts of VC money.

In addition, Ogundeyi believes that Edukoya’s approach to learning sets it apart from its competition and previous platforms.

“This model is unique because we reach parents and students 100% online and support them not only with exams, but also with daily learning, homework, support, etc.

“Edukoya goes beyond exam preparation. First it is an educational partner for parents and students in primary and secondary education. We’ve seen people approach smaller wallets in different ways, but not in a holistic way that we think about it,” she said..

Image Credits: edukoya

Most edtechs playing in this space tend to launch their platforms for the 1-12 . classes. Edukoya is looking at it different. The platform is only available to students in grades 10-12, the segment that takes exams in tertiary institutions.

Ogundeyi said that once the company tests with this very tight segment and five core subjects, it will open up to cover more subjects and other grades.

Explaining why the company has adopted this strategy, the CEO said:I think that’s from my core focus – one of the things I got from Google, which is to get a core group of people to love you first. We work with the last three numbers, which are very important in Nigeria because that’s where people take those exams. And we think this is a good kind of tester to work with a real core group of people who need an intervention in that space. Once we have proven that it works here, we can more easily extend it to other grades and grades.”

Edukoya is now free, but Odukoya said the company would explore a freemium model with premium products are used to sell students or parents.

Ogundeyi noted that Edukoya would have to keep looking for experienced tutors to provide tutoring for this to happen. For new-age edtechs, including YC-backed Kenyan startup Kidato, Tencent, and Owl Ventures portfolio company uLesson, targeting these three communities (students, educators, and parents) is paramount from day one.

This isn’t the first time the CEO has run a startup. In 2014, she founded Fashpa, a Nigerian fashion e-commerce store. Her professional career includes consulting and management positions at McKinsey & Company, Ericsson, Google and UK-Nigeria Tech Hub.

She was also the founding CMO of Kuda, the Nigerian neo-bank founded by her husband, Babs Ogundeyi. He is one of the angel investors in this round; others include his co-founder Musty Mustapha, Paystack CEO Shola Akinlade, Stash founders Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson, and Aux Money CEO Raffael Johnen.

Lina Chong, the investment director at Target Global, confirmed her company’s investment, saying: “Edukoya’s mission to bring better quality to millions of African students, combined with the team’s ability to execute on this ambition, has an immediate impression on myself. and made the whole team at Target Global. Their company has the potential to unlock learning potential and improve lives from generation to generation.”

Ogundeyi said much of the pre-seed funding would expand his team and student base and build out the technology for his learning platform, including support for its pan-African and European developer hubs.

The CEO was one of the first female founders in Nigeria. Seven years after her first startup, she has now picked up the biggest round at this stage in this ‘minority class’. While she’s impressed with the quality of the emerging female founders and the check sizes they master, she said it’s too early for her clique.

“I’ve been working in this space for a long time and I’m especially passionate about female founders and expand the scope of what we can do. Not me make that segmentation so much. Given the right opportunity and with the right experience, female founders can build great valuable companies. This is only day one for us as part of that journey.”

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