DoLessons latest entrant to Nigerian tutoring space

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Nigeria’s online tutoring space is already a busy one, with the likes of PrepClass and Tuteria competing for users. But latest market entrant DoLessons believes it has the edge.

Launched in May, DoLessons connects users with verified expert tutors in their neighborhood for after-school lessons. For now, it is an in-person tutoring marketplace, but the startup is currently developing a virtual classroom platform.

Tutors are pre-qualified by taking a subject evaluation test on the subject they intend to teach, after which they can be listed on the platform.

“Students are constantly looking for personalised learning with verified and professional tutors for help them excel in their studies. On the other hand, tutors are searching for tutoring opportunities to enable them to earn extra income in their free time,” said Martins Fidelis, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of DoLessons.

“Millions of students take standardised tests for college school admission yearly. Sixty per cent of these students usually retake the test due to poor performance. The pressure parents exert on their kids to excel in these tests gets them traumatised. DoLessons seeks to connect these academically distressed students with expert teachers in their neighbourhood for supplementary lessons to help them ace their test.”

DoLessons faces serious competition in the tutoring sector in Nigeria, from PrepClass and Tuteria among others, but Fidelis is confident it has what it takes to succeed.

“Tutoring services in Nigeria are still at the infant stage. We have unbeatable mastery and insights of exam pitfalls in relation to the Nigerian, British and American curricula, unlike other tutoring companies,” he said.

“These companies are not competing with us across the board but for lessons services only. Our user experience in academics, pricing, business model and ease of lesson delivery completely outweighs their concept. Although they were first in the market, we are currently catching up in lessons bookings.”

The self-funded startup – which takes 33 per cent of the cost of a lesson – is looking for investment, but Fidelis is happy with uptake in spite of the fact DoLessons has been bootstrapping.

“We have tested and improved our hypothesis, tweaked the business model, figured out our acquisition funnel, understood our customers, and we are trying to go above and beyond to turn every customer experience into a positive one and then learn from their feedback. This meant we had to continually experiment, iterate, and optimise,” he said.

“We have very positive feedback from parents, students and tutors about our recently launched tutoring and learning marketplace. With an excellent management team who have years of ed-tech experience, we have delivered more than 800 billable tutoring hours with 20 per cent month-on-month growth. We already have high profile clients who are subscribing to our lessons monthly. Also, we are in talks with numerous publishers and powerful book shops to sell their books and educational materials on our online store for free.”

Fidelis estimates Nigeria’s tutoring market to be worth US$2 billion, while in other parts of the world it is much bigger.

“Our long-term goal is to scale the business model to South Africa and Canada before February 2018, as we strive to be the face of tutoring services in Africa and beyond,” he 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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