Klas, a Nigerian edtech startup has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding led by Ingressive Capital, with participation from Techstars, HoaQ and other investors.
Nathan Nwachuku, who co-founded Klas in 2021 at age 18, described it as "Shopify for online teaching" during an interview with Bendada.com two years ago. The platform enables users to launch online schools; create e-books, and courses and also conduct live lessons.
When it launched, Klas attracted over 2,000 creators to its waitlist. Currently, the platform has more than 5,000 creators who jointly teach 300,000 learners across 30 countries. According to Klas, these creators earn "hundreds of thousands of dollars" through their work on the platform.
Nwachuku, along with his co-founder Lekan Adejumo, raised Klas to its current level with a $130,000 angel round sourced from Nigerian founders such as Tola Adesanmi of Spleet, Odunayo Eweniyi, the co-founder of Piggyvest, and Nadayar Enegesi, the co-founder and CEO of Eden Life, and other angel investors. Techstars Toronto also selected the startup as one of nine African startups for its 2022 Winter cohort.
"It has been a rewarding experience to have invested in Klas at the earliest stage of the company based on the core abilities of the co-founders Nathan and Lekan and the vision they set for the company," says Sunil Sharma, managing director of Techstars Toronto. "This confidence was further demonstrated by our follow-on investment in the company, something we like to do when presented with exceptional opportunities."
Related Article: “The idea for Klas started when I became blind.” — Nwachuku
With the latest investment, the Nigerian edtech aims to expand its creator base to over 100,000 worldwide by 2027. Over the next few months, Klas plans to adjust its pricing model to enhance revenue and prepare for profitability. Currently, it offers a free plan with a 5% transaction fee.
Klas aims to extend its reach beyond Nigeria and Africa, eyeing expansion into India and North America.
Inside the Indian online teaching market + Klas' strategy
According to Technavio, the online tutoring services market in India is projected to increase by $10.5 million from 2022 to 2027, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.03%.
Platforms such as Khan Academy from India have played a significant role in online learning; spreading STEM-related courses to diverse audiences, including those in Africa. In response to a viral tweet discussing the efficacy of educational videos by Indian tutors, an African user on X said, "When in doubt, always go for the Indian guy on YouTube." Another user humorously commented, "I don't trust any educational video unless the tutor has an Indian accent."
YouTube remains the top choice for Indian tutors to upload their videos, offering them to users free of charge. With Klas planning to revise its pricing model, it faces stiff competition from YouTube within this ecosystem.
"We are hyper-focused on a closed ecosystem, unlike these other big companies, who are basically integration toolkits and where everything is fully integrated into the platform," Nwachuku said. "For class experiences, they might offer Zoom or Google Meet; for class management, maybe Slack and all that. But with Klas, everything, including our virtual classroom, was built from the ground up. We don’t use Zoom or Google Meet; we actually built our tool called KlasLife, which doesn’t even use any video API; this was built from scratch and with a very unique video architecture."