Sim Shagaya’s African Edtech Startup uLesson Raises $3.1M

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
edtech startup
Edtech startup uLesson leverages mobile tech to scale access to education in African countries where giving individual attention to students is a challenge. Image supplied by uLesson

Nigerian edtech startup uLesson, started by Konga founder Sim Shagaya, has raised $3.1 million ahead of its planned African expansion.

uLesson leverages mobile technology to scale access to education in African countries, where giving individual attention to students is a challenge. Users do not need an internet connection.

Shagaya earned an MBA from Harvard University in 2003 and worked for Google as Africa lead from 2006 to 2007 before repatriating to Nigeria, where he founded several digital companies.

Shagaya’s companies included Nigerian e-commerce startup Konga, which he sold in a distressed acquisition in 2018, and digital advertising firm E-Motion, which he successfully exited this year in a sale to Loatsad Promomedia, according to Techcrunch.

An edtech startup focused on overcoming challenges

uLesson claims that student-to-teacher ratios in some parts of Nigeria are as high as 1:70, compared to an average 1:16 ratio in U.S. public schools.

The edtech platform also overcomes the challenges of high data costs and internet availability as it can be used offline.

uLesson focuses on tutoring individuals on a one-on-one basis through thousands of interactive video tutorials and quizzes, accessible on a mobile app.

The uLesson app, complete with video and animated content, is preloaded on a small dongle that connects directly into a smartphone so that students can plug-and-play lessons and other content without the need for an internet connection.

The uLesson team has produced more than 3,000 animated, personalized video learning modules, quizzes and tests that will be available on the uLesson android app via a subscription model starting in February 2020, Pulse reports.

The platform’s content focuses on math, physics, chemistry and biology for high school students, according to a press release emailed to Moguldom.

uLesson expects to launch its platform in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia in early 2020, targeting high school children in English-speaking West African countries.

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Based in Lagos with a production studio in Jos, uLesson expects to use part of the $3.1 million investment to develop educational content for the East African market. 

The $3.1 million investment was led by TLcom Capital, an Africa-focused venture capital firm with offices in Lagos, Nairobi, and London.