Lagos and London-based edtech startup Edukoya has raised $3.5 million in a pre-seed round from European venture capital firm Target Global. The pre-seed round is the largest to ever come out of Nigeria and Africa.
Founded in May 2021 by Honey Ogundeyi, a former executive at digital bank Kuda and a serial founder, Edukoya is taking services provided by offline test preparation centres in the country online and is providing after-school guidance and tutoring for students planning to take specific examinations. Edukoya boasts of a range of features and the platform is popular for its exam preparation and homework assistance which is always available and its question bank that comes with step-by-step solutions to these questions. Edukoya which was launched in beta this month will be going live in 2022, the edtech’s founder said.
Platforms like Edukoya are thriving because of the challenges the Nigerian educational system is saddled with. The Nigerian educational system faces the challenges of terrible infrastructure, poor budget allocation by the government, ill-equipped classrooms, the unavailability of good teachers and most importantly, the outrageous teacher-to-student ratio. As a way of staying above these challenges, many parents enroll their children in after-school classes to help make up for the shortcomings of schools.
Speaking about the edtech and her experience, Honey Ogundeyi said that “Sometimes, even the most brilliant students can be let down by the system. If my parents hadn’t made the sacrifice for me to go abroad, all the successes that I’ve had in my career would have been completely different. Now, I have two kids, and seeing that same problem of going to school and struggling with some subjects made me look into getting after-school teachers. And it just struck me that this thing hasn’t changed pretty much for the last 50 years. If we look at all the innovation across different industries, Africa’s education system has remained untouched for 50 years; it’s been stagnant”.
The end goal of every K-12 education is to get into college or a university. In Nigeria, the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) are the major standardized tests that students have to pass to get into a tertiary institution. Students prepare for these exams before they take them on. Edukoya is making these preparation stages easier with the practice tests and step-by-step answers available on its platform. Students also have access to tutors so they can get help whenever they need it. Thanks to Edukoya, students can identify their areas of strength and weakness so as to make the necessary adjustment and improvements.
Edukoya claims that in the few months that it has been operational with beta users, 96 percent of its students have performed better, scoring higher in tests outside of the edtech’s platform. The platform, however, has quite a number of competitors as it isn’t the first edtech in its line of business. Edukoya has quite an advantage over its competitors because of the access to funds to scale its operations. The edtech has raised the largest-ever pre-seed round in the whole of Nigeria and in Africa. Apart from this, the company believes that its model of operation will give it an edge over its competitors. “This model is unique in that we are reaching parents and learners 100% online and supporting them not only across exams but also the day-to-day learning, homework, support, etc. Edukoya goes beyond exam prep. First, it’s an educational partner to parents and learners in primary and secondary school. We’ve seen people tackle smaller pockets in different ways, but not in a holistic way that we’re thinking about it”, the platform’s founder said.
“I think that’s from my core focus — one of the things I got from Google, which is to make a core group of people love you first. We are working with the last three grades, which are very important in Nigeria because that’s where people take those exams. And we think this is a good sort of test bucket to work with a really core group of people who need an intervention in that space. Once we have proven that it works here, it’s easier for us to expand it across other curriculum years and grades”, she added explaining why the platform is only available to students in grades 10-12 and not 1-12 as other edtechs have it.
Speaking on the company’s investment in Edukoya, Lina Chong, the investment director at Target Global said that “Edukoya’s mission to provide better quality to millions of African students, combined with the team’s ability to execute on this ambition, left an immediate impression on myself and the whole team at Target Global. Their business has the potential to unlock learner potential and improve lives across generations”.
For now, Edukoya is free but the founder has explained that the company would explore a freemium model where premium products are used to upsell students or parents.
With the recently-acquired funds, the edtech will also be focusing on building its team and learner base.