Libyan ed-tech startup iStudy steadily builds customer base in spite of challenges

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Libyan ed-tech startup iStudy is steadily increasing the number of schools paying to use its platform in spite of the various challenges it faces in its home market.

Launched in September 2017 by Zakaria Gwaila and Waleed Sassi, who had noticed in the years after the 2011 revolution that student failure rates were higher, iStudy connects parents with schools.

The app allows the parent to follow their child’s attendance and lesson and exam schedules, and to send and receive private messages to and from the school.

“After a survey we did in 2017 on how schools communicate with parents, we found that  schools communicated using handwritten notes, SMS, or nothing at all,” Gwaila said. “That’s when we came up with iStudy.”

Schools have taken to the offering, with 34 of them now subscribed to iStudy, and paying on a per family basis. Gwaila said the startup plans to expand this to 100 schools by the end of 2020. Self-funded thus far, it is looking for investment to help it grow, hence entering competitions such as Seedstars World, of which it won the Libyan leg in October of last year.

“We started in Tripoli, but this year we expanded to other cities like Albayda, Ejdabya, Al Khoms, and Benghazi,” said Gwaila. “We are planning to expand more and cover every school in Libya, and hopefully North Africa.”

Libya may be a challenging environment in which to launch a tech business, but iStudy is not fazed.

“The current political and civil war that we have in Libya isn’t helpful, but that didn’t stop us. We always look forward and try to give the best quality and user-friendly experience,” said Gwaila.

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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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