Nigerian ed-tech startup uLesson raises $3.1m seed round ahead of market launch

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Nigerian ed-tech startup uLesson, launched by Konga founder Sim Shagaya, has closed a US$3.1 million seed round ahead of its market launch to address infrastructure and learning gaps in Africa’s education sector.

Founded earlier this year by serial entrepreneur Shagaya, uLesson deploys curriculum-relevant content via smartphones that allows learners to use the product without concern for internet limitations and costs. 

To-date, the Jos-based team has produced over 3,000 richly animated, personalised video learning modules, quizzes and tests that will be available on the uLesson Android app via a subscription model in the first quarter of 2020.

To help it launch to market, uLesson has now closed a US$3.1 million seed round led by TLcom Capital, with participation by Shagaya himself. As part of the seed round, Ido Sum and Omobola Johnson, partners in TLcom’s executive team, will join the board alongside former Konga chief executive officer (CEO) Shola Adekoya.

Targeting secondary school learners across the West African region, uLesson will launch officially in February, having been in development and beta testing for 12 months. The seed round will also be used to develop educational content and a product for the East African market. 

“Education systems across Africa are in crisis and uLesson has been developed to radically shake-up the system and bring better access to high-quality curriculum-relevant educational content to learners across the continent,” Shagaya said. 

“As our population grows extremely rapidly, the current public and private approach to education investment is chasing a goal that is moving further away.  We want to lower the entry point for access to education for young Africans, and technology is the only way this challenge will be met. With this in mind, today is not just an investment in uLesson – it’s an investment in Africa’s future.”

Sum said that, in uLesson, TLcom had found a company that fitted perfectly with its ethos – an entrepreneur-led startup building an affordable, mass-market, mobile-first solution tackling one of Africa’s largest challenges. 

“In Sim, we have an entrepreneur with an unrivalled track record in building technology products for Africa. His team is building solutions for a massive opportunity, and we strongly believe they are about to make a serious dent in the education market across the continent,” 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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