African edtech startup uLesson raises $15M, backed by Nielsen Ventures and Tencent – TechCrunch

As many edtech companies benefited from the disruption of the pandemic, attracting wads of cash from investors globally, it did feel like African startups were left out. Well, not anymore: Two-year-old startup uLesson announced today that it closed a $15 million Series…….

As many edtech companies benefited from the disruption of the pandemic, attracting wads of cash from investors globally, it did feel like African startups were left out. Well, not anymore: Two-year-old startup uLesson announced today that it closed a $15 million Series B round.

The investment, which comes 11 months after uLesson raised a $7.5 million Series A, was completed by five investors: Tencent, Nielsen Ventures, and existing investors Owl Ventures, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. It is the largest disclosed investment in an African edtech startup.

Founded by Nigerian serial founder Sim Shagaya in 2019, uLesson came into the market when the pandemic hit last year. As a young company, it has had to switch business models a couple of times to see what sticks in a very tough African market.

The startup first launched by providing a product pack of SD cards and dongles with pre-recorded videos for K-12 students. They can either access lessons via streaming or use the SD cards to download and store the content.

But uLesson has introduced new features for an all-encompassing edtech play for this demographic. It added quizzes and a homework help feature to connect students with tutors from universities. The startup also launched a one-to-many live class feature with polls and leaderboards and a one-to-one live experience for DevKids, a coding class independent of the core uLesson platform.

DevKids has since been rolled back, though. Shagaya said uLesson is making efforts to introduce the feature — which started as an experiment in teaching kids how to code and at some point made 30% of the company’s revenues  — into the uLesson platform by January next year.

“What we want ultimately is different strata of free users that can use the app and can pay for a premium experience to attend live classes or get the homework helper,” said the CEO, who also founded e-commerce platforms DealDey and Konga.

“And because parents do want to invest in the best for their kids, one of the ways you can do that is personalized one-to-one instruction for their children, whether in coding through DevKids or math or science or English.”

These features show that uLesson is now in the online home tutoring business; it is a market where most African edtech startups have …….

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/12/09/african-edtech-startup-ulesson-raises-15m-backed-by-nielsen-ventures-and-tencent/

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