Kenyan startup Dawati is nearing 1,000 downloads of its solution that offers students access to videos, games and e-books compiled from content provided directly by teachers.
Originally formed in 2016, Dawati launched version one of its Android app towards the end of last year and is already just shy of 1,000 downloads, with user numbers growing by 30 per cent per week.
The app offers access to masterclasses in various forms prepared by teachers from the best performing schools in Kenya, and couples that with an intelligent assessment system that identifies a student’s needs and recommends appropriate learning plans.
“Our startup solves the problem of access to quality education in Kenya, which is also linked to equity. Kenya has a uniform curriculum for high school students which is applied across all schools in all parts of the country. These schools have different degrees of access to resources – both material and human,” said Mohamed Sharif, co-founder of Dawati.
“The best teachers and resources are usually reserved for a few schools, mostly national schools or private academies, while the rest do with what is available. In spite of this, the outcome of schooling at the end of high school, determines access to opportunities for the students for the rest of their life.”
Dawati is looking to address this problem, as well as the fact that most available learning material is paper-based, meaning it lacks interactivity and can be expensive. Though some traditional publishing houses have tentatively delved into e-learning solutions, as well as a few other startups, but Sharif says it stands apart.
“Our main competitive advantage lies in the unique way we approach the provision of content through masterclasses and the other value add services that we provide, such as mentorship and personal development,” he said.
The successful pilot launch of the Dawati app, for which users pay a subscription fee, has until now been self-funded, but the startup is currently raising funding to speed product development and business growth. Sharif says he intends to raise about US$1.5 million.
“This funding will go towards completing content development, improving solution design, marketing initiatives to reach at least 100,000 students, improving the tablet design based on customer feedback from version one, and producing it in commercial quantities,” he said.
He also hopes to take the concept beyond Kenya’s borders.
“We plan to expand to the East African region within the next three years, then the rest of the continent.”