Edtech FoondaMate eyes speedy takeoff after $2M funding

South African edtech startup FoondaMate has secured $2 million seed funding in a spherical led by LocalGlobe, the U.Ok.-based enterprise capital agency, to drive uptake of its WhatsApp and Fb-based studying chatbot throughout the globe.

FoondaMate helps college students with their revision by giving them rapid solutions to questions and entry to revision papers, whereas additionally guiding them in responses to questions.

Co-founder Dacod Magagula advised TechCrunch that the startup targets high-school college students in rising markets the place WhatsApp is broadly used and is so much cheaper or free to entry. Its studying chatbot, he stated, is simple to make use of, reasonably priced and acts as an organized different to utilizing search engines like google and yahoo for examine. Educators additionally use FoondaMate’s built-in assets to set and submit homework and to share different studying supplies with college students.

Magagula stated he began engaged on FoondaMate in August 2020, when WhatsApp opened its API in beta — to assist companies connect with prospects.

“It (WhatsApp) was in beta on the time, and I began taking part in round with it … I assumed it’d be a very good solution to allow entry to review supplies to college students in the identical place as myself…as a result of a majority of scholars would not have entry to the broader web however have entry to WhatsApp. Additionally, plenty of community suppliers provide WhatsApp totally free to draw customers to their community,” stated Magagula, who co-founded FoondaMate with Tao Boyle — who, earlier than they teamed up, was making an attempt to repair the availability chain to get textbooks to underserved faculties.

Apart from, Magagula had further expertise from his high-school days that made him see the feasibility of the thought.

“…throughout the closing yr of highschool in South Africa, I used the pc my brother and I had purchased utilizing our financial savings, for research and to obtain all revision supplies I may get my palms on. I had an enormous database of previous papers however no method of sharing it with my buddies, and printing them was costly,” stated Magagula, who serves because the startup’s CEO and CTO.

“… However the supplies performed a giant function in my success in class as I graduated prime of my class and my efficiency was the most effective ever within the historical past of college (at the moment). And so FoondaMate was created to make these assets simply accessible to college students,” stated Magagula, who pursued Laptop Science on the College of CapeTown. After teaming up with Boyle, they added extra functionalities and built-in it with further companies.

South Africa's edtech Foondamate raises $2 million to grow its AI-powered learning chatbot

South Africa’s edtech FoondaMate raised $2 million to develop its AI-powered studying chatbot. Picture Credit: FoondaMate

Since launch FoondaMate has been used the world over by greater than 400,000 college students utilizing over 10 languages in over 30 nations, together with Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia — the place the startup lately launched and has seen a surge in utilization.

Magagula stated the startup is presently engaged on localizing its studying materials to accommodate learners in additional nations and gasoline the expansion of its platform to greater than 50 million customers. Its latest funding spherical brings across the assets wanted for this speedy take-off.

“Initially I assumed FoondaMate could be utilized by college students who would not have entry to Wi-Fi and people with restricted entry to the web. However actuality is, it’s being utilized by these with good web connectivity too…as a result of it’s actually a straightforward and intuitive solution to entry examine materials,” he stated.

The startup has a workforce that vets the place the bot sources the data, and likewise screens outcomes, to maintain the youngsters secure on the platform.

Along with LocalGlobe, the spherical had the participation of Emerge Schooling, Odunayo Eweniyi by way of FirstCheckAfrica, Iyin Aboyeji by way of Future Africa, and LoftyInc, alongside angels from Luno (Marcus Swanepoel) and Justworks (Isaac Oates). They be part of XX accelerator, the startup’s first backer.

“FoondaMate’s viral progress strongly displays how properly the product resonates with learners, and speaks volumes to Dacod and Tao’s deep understanding of their customers’ wants,” stated LocalGlobe accomplice, Ziv Reichert.

“Having initially launched with a mission to rework how college students throughout Africa examine, FoondaMate has advanced right into a software that’s now used and beloved by learners from a variety of backgrounds, with various wants and studying types, from all internationally. We consider that it takes immense empathy for an issue and an actual long-term view to construct a product of this type,” stated Reichert.

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