Serial Tech Entrepreneur, Founder Ecommerce Platform Konga.com, Sim Shagaya Raises $3.1m For New Venture
By Iheme Kelechi 2 months ago
File Photo: (Sim Shagaya)
Serial enterpreneur, tech investor and founder of konga.com, Sim Shagaya, after selling off konga.com to Leo Stan Ekeh, is now back with a new startup called "uLesson". The tech entrepreneur has raised the sum of $3.1 million seed round led by TLcom Capital for this new startup. This is coming after he had also founded some other startups since the sale of Konga.com.
The new venture that Mr Shagaya and his team is developing integrates mobile platforms, SD cards, culture-specific curriculum and network of tutors to bridge educational gaps for secondary school students in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The venture which was founded in 2019 by Sim Shagaya is called uLesson and it is headquartered in Lagos with a production studio in Jos. Shakaya also founded an ad venture named E-Motion before this latest venture.
Reports available to the public has it that Ulesson startup has been in development phase and plans to go to market in early February of 2020 in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Gambia according to Shagaya, while responding to enquiries with TechCrunch on a call.
“We’re targeting Anglophone West Africa…for a market of effectively 300 million people,” he said.
On product demand, Shagaya notes the priority placed on education across West African households vs. structural deficiencies — such as student teacher ratios as high as 70:1 in countries such as Nigeria.
“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 saidRelated: Hope At Last As Ports Authority Make Plans To Move More Cargoes To Eastern Ports
According to the founder, to address this, uLesson will offer an app-based home education kit for students with an up-front yearly subscription price of around $70 and the option to pay as you go. The startup’s product pack will contain a dongle, SD card, and a set of headphones to connect to Android devices.
The curriculum on the uLesson program will include several practice tests which comes with a tailored content on math, physics, chemistry, and biology. The startup has already created 3000 animated videos for core subjects, according to the founder.
To leverage high android mobile penetration in Africa and minimize data-streaming costs, uLesson startup content and performance assessment will come via a combination of streaming and SD cards.
Going forward, Parents and students will be able to connect online temporarily to update the app and sync curriculum and results, while operating off-line for the bulk of lessons thus minimizing data usage.
The elated Shagaya likened the use of SD cards to the old Netflix model of sending and returning DVD’s by mail, prior to faster and more affordable internet service in the U.S.
The uLesson program will also package a human component to support the startup. There venture plans to deploy a network of counsellors in major distribution areas whose job will be to instruct and guide on how to use the uLesson app and follow lesson plans according to the curriculum.
Shagaya's dream is to supplement secondary school education, as well as reduce the rate of engaging private home tutors by parents with a more affordable and effective alternative he called uLesson.
After taking uLesson to market in Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria and other West African countries, Shagaya and his team plan to adapt the product for a future East Africa launch as well.
The new startup "uLesson" will face serious competition in Nigeria and Kenya from existing educational ventures. Edtech in Africa doesn’t have as many companies or as much VC funding as leading startup sectors like fintech and e-commerce, but there are a number of players who wants to change that now.