uLesson, an edtech startup based in Nigeria that offers digital curriculum to students through SD cards, raised US$7.5 million in Series A round on 19 January 2021. The funds raised by the startup to date stands at US$ 10.6M.
Investors: The funding round was led by Owl Ventures, along with participants LocalGlobe and existing investors, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. uLesson had raised a US$3.1 million seed round in November 2019. Tory Patterson, the managing director of Owl Ventures, will join the uLesson board, alongside TLcom partners, Omobola Johnson and Ido Sum.
Founded in 2019 by Sim Shagaya, ULesson has built a technology to deploy curriculum-relevant content via smartphones, that allows students to use the product without much concern about internet connection limitations, therefore reducing costs. The curriculum content is delivered via streaming and SD cards. It used SD cards because they are a low-bandwidth way to deliver content.
Due to the pandemic, remote learning increased and the demand for smartphones among African students increased. This gave ULesson a boost in sales. The startup was launched just weeks before the pandemic and since then it has benefitted like many other edtech startups. uLesson claims to have experienced 70% month over month growth and that its app has been downloaded more than 1 million times. uLesson charges an annual fee of US$ 50.
The startup is now experimenting with live tutoring as well. While testing a feature allowing students to ask questions while watching pre-recorded material, it got more than 3000 questions each day, so it had to pause the feature to meet the high demand.
What the CEO has to say: “The ground became wet in a way we didn’t see before. It opens up the world for us to do all kinds of really amazing things we’ve wanted to do in the world of edtech that you can’t do in a strictly offline sense,” the founder added,” said founder and CEO Sim Shagaya.
“We want you to be able to push a button and get immediate support from a college student sitting somewhere in the continent who is basically a master in what you’re studying,” Shagaya added. Sim Shagaya believes that the African edtech has a huge potential due to a young population and many private school-going students.
What Investors have to say: “Owl Ventures is honoured to be partnering with uLesson for their Series A. The company has quickly grown into the premier platform supporting students in Africa and we are excited to support their global expansion, as they seek to empower students around the world,” said Tory Patterson, the managing director of Owl Ventures.
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