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Daily Briefing: Edtech Startup uLesson has Raised a $7.5 million Series A to Fund Expansion in Africa

The Nigerian tech-entrepreneur, Sim Shagaya-founded learning technology platform, uLesson, has put the firm in sure footing for a planned expansion push into Eastern and Southern Africa.

The financing comes a little over a year since uLesson closed its $3.1 million seed round in November 2019. The startup’s biggest difference between now and then isn’t simply the millions it has in the bank, it’s the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its entire value proposition.

The fund raising was led by Owl Ventures. Other investors in the round included TLcom Capital and Founder Collective and participation from new investor LocalGlobe.

Tory Patterson, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, said: “Owl Ventures is honored 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.”

“As an investor, it’s rare to find a massive, under-served market being addressed by an entrepreneur whose skills are tailor-made for the opportunity,” said David Frankel, Managing Partner at Founder Collective.

Suzanne Ashman, Partner at LocalGlobe, added: “We are thrilled to add uLesson to our emerging portfolio of Africa-based companies. We, like many investors and entrepreneurs, are excited by Africa’s future and the potential for a wave of category defining tech companies to emerge in the region. We were hugely impressed by the foundational DNA of uLesson’s team in Nigeria. The team has purpose-built the product to make the learning experience significantly more engaging and effective than a large classroom experience. We are delighted to be part of uLesson’s journey.”

uLesson allows learners to experience personalised learning, practice tests, region-specific mock tests and assessed performance and progress for students and parents, including rich reporting dashboards for detailed analysis. It is tailored towards the WAEC curriculum region (Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia), with its current content focuses on core subjects of Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for secondary school students.

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Since its official launch in March 2020, uLesson’s unique app has secured up to a million downloads.

The uLesson app according to Shagaya plans to undergo an upgrade, and will include plans to launch an iOS-compatible app version. It will launch a handful of new products like a new pan-African primary school library, one-on-one tutoring sessions and challenges.

Students can access the educational content and lessons via the streaming function or SD cards, where the content has been pre-installed for them. The download function gives room for students to continue lessons without depending on a stable internet connection, or increasing accessibility.

The curriculum created by uLesson also includes IGCSE curriculum, catering to other markets. Over 5,000 animated video lessons have been created, 30,000 tests and quizzes from junior to senior to classes are available on the uLesson app for Android.

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