Nigerian startup uLesson has raised a $3.1 million seed round led by TLcom Capital.
Founded this year by Sim Shagaya, uLesson is working to lesson educational gaps in the region by integrating mobile platforms, SD cards, cultural curriculum and a network of tutors. The company is headquartered in Lagos with a production studio in Jos. It is currently in the development phase and plans to launch in February 2020 in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Gambia.
“We’re targeting Anglophone West Africa … for a market of effectively 300 million people,” Shagaya told TechCrunch.
Shagaya added that while there is a priority placed on education in West African households, there are structural deficiencies in the education system, including student-teacher ratios as high as 70:1 in come countries.
“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,” Shagaya said.
To remedy this, uLesson is offering an app-based home education kit for students that includes a dongle, SD card and a set of headphones. The curriculum will include practice tests and tailored content focused on math, physics, chemistry and biology. The venture has already created 3,000 animated videos for core subjects. Students can gain access to all of this via an upfront yearly subscription price of around $70, as well as the option to pay as you go.
The startup’s content and performance assessment will be offered through both streaming and SD cards. In addition, there will be a network of counselors in major distribution areas on-hand to instruct students and parents on how to use the app and follow lesson plans.