uLesson, an Abuja-based ed-tech startup has raised a $15 million Series B fund. This is arguably the largest disclosed investment in Africa's ed-tech ecosystem.
Backed by Tencent, Nielsen Ventures, and existing investors Owl Ventures, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective, uLesson will continue to invest in product development, strengthening its core technology and also unveil cohort-based learning features.
As well as expanding on its flagship science and mathematics content, the company will add social sciences and financial accounting to the secondary level content library and qualitative and quantitative reasoning to primary level.
Since its launch, the uLesson app has 2 million downloads, over 12.3 million videos have been watched, with 25.6 million questions answered on the platform, according to the company. In 2021, daily average users surged 430%, and live lesson demand grew by 222% since their introduction in September.
Reacting to the investment, Shagaya said "we’re thrilled to achieve this major milestone which will take us further in bringing high quality and affordable education to all Africans. We’re delighted to be joined by seasoned investors, like Tencent, who bring a wealth of experience from their investments in education technology. Backed by incredible partners, we can accelerate our learning to serve the African edtech market more effectively".
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for online learning accelerated due to the leading to enduring behavioral changes among African families. Families have embraced online methods to avoid their kids from having physical contact with tutors.
With 180 field sales agents to onboard schools and individual users across Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana — the countries receiving the most marketing attention from ed-tech startup. uLesson is also available in South Africa, Sierra Leone, the UK, Liberia, Gambia and the US. Sim Shagaya, the founder and CEO of the startup told TechCrunch that "uLesson has spread in these countries via word of mouth. Nigeria remains the company's largest market; the country is responsible for 85% of uLesson’s paying users".
For the investors, David Frankel, Managing Partner at Founder Collective, "I have every hope that uLesson will set new standards for education in Africa, the incredible talent on the continent has been held back for too long by a lack of opportunities. So I couldn’t be a more enthusiastic supporter of Sim Shagaya and his vision for more accessible and affordable educational opportunities for millions of people".
This funding is coming eleven months after uLesson closed a $7.5 million Series A round led by Owl Ventures, to power its expansion into Eastern & Southern Africa, as well as secure new talent and build its product development and production infrastructure.
In November, we reported that uLesson discontinued DevKids, its live virtual coding class for kids. Per TechCrunch, 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.