Kenyan ed-tech startup Kidato has been accepted into the Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator, banking US$125,000 funding and further support.
Founded last year, Kidato is an online school for K-12 students that provides a high-quality, affordable education to the growing middle class in Africa, where parents must often choose between either public schools with student-teacher ratios as high as 50:1 or private schools with expensive tuition fees.
Kidato classes have student-teacher ratios of 5:1 and teach the same rigorous international curriculum as other private schools — but at a fraction of the price.
The startup has been accepted into the Y Combinator Winter 2021 batch, through which it will receive US$125,000 in seed funding as well as further investment opportunities at a March demo day. It joins Nigerian fintech startup Mono and Ivory Coast-based Djamo, a financial super app for consumers in French-speaking Africa, as part of that cohort.
Kidato has seen strong early traction, with 30 students in the full school in its first two semesters, and it has enough bookings to triple that in the new school year in September. It has more than 400 registered students, and over 200 using it for supplement learning with skill-based classes. It has over 30 tutors, half of them full time.
The startup was founded by Sam Gichuru, who previously founded the Nailab incubator in Nairobi. Gichuru has history with Y Combinator, having taken part in the accelerator back in 2015 with recruitment startup Kuhustle, of which he is co-founder. He told Disrupt Africa that Kuhustle is still operating, but never managed to scale due to numerous challenges, primarily platform leakage.
“We keep it running and supporting users who benefit from it. It is really hard to manage two sided marketplaces without the right resources,” he said.
With Kidato, he is planning on going the distance, and once again the journey begins at Y Combinator.