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uLesson: Nigeria’s EdTech Startup Secures $7.5M Series A Round Led by Owl Ventures


Nigeria’s edtech company, uLesson, reports it has raised US$7.5 million in a series A round. The startup specializes in selling curriculum through SD cards to students. Owl Ventures led the latest round of investment with participation from LocalGlobe, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective.

uLesson in November 2019, raised US$3.1 million seed funding but this significant rise in investment has to do with the necessity of the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

uLesson app on Google PlayStore and Apple Store

The edtech startup launched a few weeks before the WHO (World Health Organization) declared coronavirus as global pandemic. Since physical classroom education came to a halt, uLesson got into action by delivering content through SD cards as low-bandwith especially when smart devices were now being used more at homes to enable distant learning.

According to Sim Shagaya, the founder and CEO of the edtech startup, this crisis rather brought a whole lot of opportunity for the company to thrive and helped to offer products that were really difficult offering offline.

An class in session

Users pay just $50 per year and there have been more than a million downloads. And thanks to this new normal in education, demand for uLesson’s services have gone up, making it evolve into a live, online platform.

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The CEO thinks that Africa has become a good opportunity for the edtech industry because of its young population and rising private school going students.

As observed, the major challenge for this company and those others in the edtech industry in Africa is distribution and outcomes. This was expressed in an interview with TechCrunch, where Shagaya said that “Content efforts and products live or die at the altar of distribution.”

We also understand that for them to continue delivering, uLesson is trying to find the perfect source of videos in markets around Africa and embed those into their product offerings.

The number one (1) learning platform in Africa currently operates in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

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ImaliPay: Nairobi Fintech Startup Raises Pre-Seed Funding Led By TEN13


ImaliPay, a fintech startup helping African freelancers reach their financial goals has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from the Australian venture capitalist, TEN13, reputed for investing in top-tier start-ups.

The other investors who participated in this pre-seed round include, Finca Ventures, Optimiser Foundation, Mercycorps Ventures, Changecom, and super angels from Norway, Nigeria, UK and Kenya.

ImaliPay is an embedded finance platform that provides and offers tailored financial products that promote the inclusion of gig economy platforms and workers across Africa.

According to ImaliPay, the primary aim of this newly raised funding is to expand and accelerate their growth and footprint in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to be a one-stop-shop for gig workers’ financial needs on the continent.

The backing of ImaliPay by TEN13 is on the back of recent chain of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s fintech startup scene.

Commenting on the deal, Managing Partner of TEN13, Stew Glenn, said,

“We believe this is a perfect opportunity to introduce our growing international network of investment professionals and investors to one of the most exciting emerging fintech companies in Africa.

ImaliPay in 2020 was co-founded by Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Furusa and Sanmi Akinmusire a Nigerian, who were former colleagues at the leading payments company Cellulant. The fintech company thinks the investment from the venture capital has significant benefits.

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In a statement released to the press, Tatenda Furusa said,

It’s a great opportunity for investors to participate in the fintech revolution and a fast-growing segment. Our vision at ImaliPay is to advance financial health and inclusion for gig workers who struggle to manage and access flexible financial services that are often only available to traditional SMEs.

The growth in the African gig workforce is being pushed by the growth in digitization and smartphone penetration. Gig workers constitute a significant proportion of the economy within ImaliPay’s target markets and this market segment is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

ImaliPay Users

ImaliPay offers gig workers a one-stop-shop of financial services such as the ability to seamlessly save their income and receive in-kind loans through a “buy now, pay later” model tied to their trade.

Bolt drivers in Kenya can now request a fuel loan and payback after 3-4 days, this allows them to get more work done and Safeboda riders in Nigeria can now buy on credit bike parts, fuel, and smartphones to keep their gig moving and reduce any downtime.

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Other products to be offered off the platform include insurance and investment options to foster a safety net for this hard-working but vulnerable part of the population.

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