Craydel, a Kenyan edtech startup for higher education, has secured the sum of $1 million in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by Enza Capital, a private venture fund that invests in early-stage tech startups across Africa, with participation from other investors including Future of Learning Fund, BriteGaze, Bisk Ventures, and Tekton Ventures. Kenya-based Chandaria Capital, Nigeria-based LoftyInc Afropreneurs Fund, and an array of other angel investors, including founders and top executives of Africa’s leading SaaS, e-commerce and education startups, also participated.
The startup was launched earlier this year by Co-Founders Manish Sardana, John Nguru and Shayne Aman Premji to democratize access to quality higher education in Africa. The founders said that they were inspired by the lack of a reliable platform in Africa to guide decisions on college and course selection. “An estimated $30 billion is spent every year on higher education in Africa. But the current student experience in accessing higher education is abysmal. There is no aggregation of choices, and decision-making is influenced by biases and misinformation,” said Craydel’s Chief Executive Officer, Manish Sardana. This provided a window of opportunity to create a platform that would solve this problem.
Craydel—“backed by powerful AI and the largest inventory of quality programs on the planet”—provides students with options at every level, including online certificate programs, for which they can enrol to test the waters before settling on a final decision about the careers they want to pursue. Shayne Aman Premji, Craydel’s Chief Financial Officer, said that the edtech startup takes the students through a career assessment to ensure they are a good fit for the chosen program and college.
According to the founders, through Craydel they are able to give power back to students by providing them with access to a portal that offers verified information about colleges to help them in decision-making. “We are transforming the way students discover, compare and apply to higher education in Africa,” Manish Sardana said. The startup has so far partnered with more than 90 universities and vocational colleges in Africa and abroad, and currently provides a listing of 3,000 higher education programs.
Commenting on the funding, Enza Capital’s Managing Partner Mike Mompi, who is set to join Craydel’s board of directors, said: “Access to higher education and skills development for Africa’s growing youth population remains fragmented, yet is a fundamental cornerstone to our accelerated development.”
Although Africa’s Edtech space is very young, it is expected to grow as Africa’s population burgeons, and more students enrol in higher education across the continent. Spending on education in Africa is expected to grow to $740 billion by 2030, at a 14 percent compound annual growth rate, and edtech spending is projected to expand fast, hitting $57 billion by 2030.
Other Kenyan edtech startups include Kidato, which launched last year to offer live lessons for students up to 18 years old; Eneza Education, which enables learning through mobile technology; and e-Limu, a literacy app. With the new funding, Craydel plans to develop its platform, as well as provide more resources that will help students and professionals in the decision-making process.