Rekindle Learning aims to be at centre of African education in 10 years

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South African innovative learning and development startup Rekindle Learning aims to be at the centre of education in the next ten years, “enabling people to build knowledge from the palm of their hands”.

This is according to founder Rapelang Rabana, also a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper, who told Disrupt Africa sees the company assisting everybody from school children, to young high school graduates, to entrepreneurs, to female farmers.

“I believe that in 10 years one of the greatest drivers of data usage on the continent will not just be entertainment and social media but educational, training and learning content, and I want Rekindle Learning to be at the crux of that,” she said.

Rabana, born in Botswana, co-founded Yeigo after finishing her degree at the University of Cape Town and launched Rekindle Learning a year ago.

The startup provides mobile and computer learning applications that enable a broad range of knowledge to be quickly entrenched and mastered, including corporate training and ongoing learning, as well as school learning.

Rabana said while Rekindle Learning has only officially existed for a year, she first started thinking about learning tools that could adapt to how people learn and support learning in high school when she was around 15 years of age.

“Back then it was more a frustration with the process of education and the inefficiencies that plague it, and until two years ago I didn’t know that it would actually become a business,” she said.

Become a business it did, and now Rekindle Learning’s applications help in reinforcing and consolidating learning, particularly after training and workshop sessions or after classroom sessions.

“The learner is able to learn at their own pace and in a manner that adapts to how they are performing so that they experience a personalised learning process until the required level of knowledge is retained,” Rabana said.

The startup is still in the process of building a client base in the corporate market for training around product knowledge, regulatory and compliance and organisational processes and operating standards, as well as developing a strategy for the high school market.

“At the start of every business, you have a general idea of where you want to go and you have to take a number of small steps to refine the business idea and find a compelling value proposition that customers will pay for. To prove the value proposition of the learning application by establishing a base of customers is the plan for 2015,” Rabana said.

Rekindle Learning is yet to seek any external funding, with Rabana bootstrapping the startup.

“The revenue model for the company in the corporate learning and training space is simple software as a service (SaaS) model where companies pay per user per month for employees using the tool,” she said.

She said a major problem for African startups is that they typically struggle to identify a route to scale.

“While the African market is big, it is also hugely fragmented and disorganised, making it difficult to find scalable channels to market. The cost of customer acquisition remains prohibitively high making distribution and sales hard for African startups,” Rabana said.

“The attempts that are made by policy makers are often ill-conceived and poorly executed, largely because of a lack of experienced entrepreneurs in the relevant industry being involved in the process. Most successful ecosystems created to support entrepreneurs had a strong contingent of entrepreneurs involved in the design and implementation.”

That said, she also believes investor interest in Africa is “significant”, though it is largely in the private equity sector for established businesses with proven business models, not for startups.

“The venture capital industry in Africa is still wholly underdeveloped,” she said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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