AfroTalez, a Nigerian-developed episodic storytelling app for children, is set to launch its second episode this quarter, looking to follow up on the success of the first, which has so far garnered over 50,000 downloads.
AfroTalez narrates traditional African folktales while incorporating the teaching of basic skills such as counting and object recognition.
The first episode – which won the Best Entertainment App award at the MTN Nigeria App Developer Contest – is completely free, but AfroTalez is looking to monetise the second edition through a single in-app purchase per episode.
“The apps will be free to download, but at a certain point, the stories will pause and parents will need to make an in-app purchase to proceed in the story. The in-app purchase will also unlock a few special puzzles and extra content,” founder Elizabeth Kperrun told Disrupt Africa.
Kperrun said she came up with the idea for AfroTalez in mid-2013, around the time when smartphone prices crashed in Nigeria and became more readily available.
“I realised a clear need to pass on these stories to a new generation who may never otherwise witness these stories. Stories which I had heard from aunts and other family members in the evenings while growing up,” she said.
“In between we also saw an opportunity to add regular educational content such as spelling, object recognition and more, to make it not just great fun but educational as well.”
She said AfroTalez’s biggest market was Nigeria, but being an app that is globally available it has received downloads from across Africa, with the likes of South Africa and Kenya high on the list.
“Moving forward, in the next three years we hope to expand first to other African countries, picking locally relevant folk stories and adding them to the AfroTalez collection,” Kperrun said.
“Beyond that, we hope to become a global brand with regional teams creating relevant versions for their regions with home base supervision of course.”
The startup is currently self-funded, and Kperrun said the lack of outside funding had been a major challenge thus far.
“Funding has been our major challenge, since we are basically a self-funded startup and yet to make any sales,” she said.
“We have a high quality team that is able to output these apps at a minimal cost, but even they require living needs. And of course funding for marketing and publicity, because we may have a great product but people need to hear about it. Luckily sites like Disrupt Africa are helping in this regard.”
She said AfroTalez’s marketing was done primarily online, using social media avenues such as Facebook and Twitter.
“We rely heavily on organic traffic brought from friends, family and fans who simply enjoyed playing AfroTalez and help spread the word,” she said.
“A few influential news agencies and blogs have also given us some coverage which aided in exposure. We also regularly attend relevant events and conferences to meet people one-on-one and speak about AfroTalez and our other upcoming app “Choices”.”
In spite of the challenges, Kperrun says there is huge potential in the e-learning market.
“It is estimated to hit US$107 billion in 2015 with the mobile e-learning market expected to be worth US$8.7 billion in 2015. This clearly shows a massive opportunity which we hope to be a part of,” she said.
E-learning startups have proven popular with investors in recent months, with Tanzania’s Ubongo Kids and Ghana’s Revo among those to have raised funding rounds lately. Disrupt Africa has also featured a number of e-learning startups from across the continent, notably Obami, Rekindle Learning, Rethink Education and Youngsoul.
Kperrun also believes monetisation will be achieved as Africans are increasingly ready for in-app purchases.
“However mobile transactions seem the way to go as it is easier for most people to pay out of their network airtime than to bring out a credit or debit card,” she said.
“We are looking towards working with major telecom companies to introduce operator billing. This we believe with make raising revenues for further development much faster.”