uLesson Obtains $7.5m to Reach East, South African Markets


By Adedapo Adesanya

African learning technology platform, uLesson has secured a $7.5 million Series A round led by Owl Ventures, with inclusion from existing investors, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective, and participation from new investor LocalGlobe.

This will allow the education startup’s push to deliver affordable, high-quality, and accessible education across Africa using technology.

The move will also see Mr Tory Patterson, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, joining the uLesson board.

It was announced that the funding will be deployed to power uLesson’s expansion into Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as secure new talent, and build its product development and production infrastructure.

Alongside uLesson’s expansion into Eastern and Southern Africa, the startup is set to launch a host of new products including a new pan-African primary school library, 1:1 tutoring sessions, and Challenge – its new app feature that allows learners to challenge friends to a quiz. The platform has also set its sights on launching an iOS app in the near future.

Speaking on the funding, uLesson founder and CEO, Mr Sim Shagaya, noted that, “Africa is not one place. Different needs, cultures, and curricula mean that uLesson has to carefully and deliberately think about how to design products and distribution channels to serve such a vast market.

“Almost daily we receive emails from families across the continent asking us to make services available to them. And in 2021, we will.

“The appreciation of the importance of education has always been there; the means of delivering digital, relevant education has previously been lacking. We are now witnessing an increased availability of data networks in Africa and with more affordable smartphones and the change in attitudes towards online learning accelerated by COVID-19, the foundations are now in place for an education revolution.

“At uLesson, we know we have a critical role to play in this ‘new normal’ and this funding will be crucial in our drive to fill the major gaps in Africa’s education system through tech.”

Adding to this, Mr Tory Patterson, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, the world’s largest education-focused VC firm and an investor in leading edtech players such as Byjus, MasterClass, Whitehat Jr, and Quizlet, said “Owl Ventures is honoured to be partnering with uLesson for their Series A.

“The company has quickly grown into the premier platform supporting students in Africa and we are excited to support their global expansion, as they seek to empower students around the world.”

On his part, Mr David Frankel, Managing Partner at Founder Collective and an investor in PillPack, Olo, and Coupang noted, “As an investor, it’s rare to find a massive, under-served market being addressed by an entrepreneur whose skills are tailor-made for the opportunity.

“Sim Shagaya is assembling a world-class team to help realize his vision of a modernized education system for one of the highest potential places in the world today, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Mr Ido Sum, Partner at TLcom Capital stated that, “Since we partnered with Sim in 2019, uLesson has shown exceptional growth and fully validated our belief in its huge potential.

“We welcome Owl Ventures and LocalGlobe, as combining their domain expertise from other markets with our local presence and expertise, we can together further support the company to become a world-class EdTech platform.”

Ms Suzanne Ashman, Partner at LocalGlobe, also stated, “We are thrilled to add uLesson to our emerging portfolio of Africa-based companies.

“We, like many investors and entrepreneurs, are excited by Africa’s future and the potential for a wave of category-defining tech companies to emerge in the region. We were hugely impressed by the foundational DNA of uLesson’s team in Nigeria.

The team has purpose-built the product to make the learning experience significantly more engaging and effective than a large classroom experience. We are delighted to be part of uLesson’s journey.”

This is, however, not uLesson’s first raise as it made an initial $3.1 million seed round in November 2019, led by TLcom Capital with participation from the company’s Founder and CEO.

Founded by serial entrepreneur, Mr Sim Shagaya, uLesson curates personalised, curriculum-relevant content via mobile and PC devices for students in the K-7 to K-12 segment across the continent.

Students can access the lessons via streaming and SD cards, where they can download and store the content, allowing them to study remotely, removing challenges around internet access limitations and costs.

uLesson’s content is originally tailored for Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia within the K-12 segment and now includes the IGCSE curriculum which is relevant for the other markets.

The team has to-date produced over 5,000 richly animated video lessons, 30,000 quizzes, and tests across senior and junior classes on its Android app that supports each country’s curriculum.

Related Stories

VFD Group Donates Books to Comenius Nursery and Primary School

By Modupe Gbadeyanka About 1,000 copies of Mama’s Sleeping Scarf by renowned Nigerian writer, Ms Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, have been donated to the pupils of Comenius Nursery and Primary School in the Ikola area of Lagos State. The educational items were given to the elementary school by a leading proprietary investment company, VFD Group Plc, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The firm, which is committed to fostering growth across diverse industries in Africa, said the books were donated to promote reading culture among children and inspire young minds to explore limitless possibilities. Mama’s Sleeping Scarf is


100 Teachers Undergo Robotics Training in Lagos

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A training programme aimed to enhance robotics learning in schools across Lagos State has been organised for teachers in the metropolis. The three-day robotics training programme commenced on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, and will involve 100 teachers drawn from various schools in the state. Addressing the participants at the venue of the programme, the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Ikeja, the Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Establishments and Training, Mrs Olubusola Abidakun, explained that the initiative was the state government’s unwavering commitment to the continuous upskilling and knowledge enhancement of teachers in


The Impact of Smaller Classes on Education

By Zubair Suliman We’re often told that education is the best way out of poverty, but for many in Sub-Saharan Africa, the path out is often broken, especially for those who need an escape route the most. There are many reasons why education barriers in the sub-region persist. For one, enrollment levels remain a problem. World Bank economists found that more than one in five primary school-aged children in Sub-Saharan Africa weren’t in school last year. And, according to ISS African Futures, once kids are in school we also battle to keep them there. Despite progress made since the Education


Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Get N683.4bn Funding for 2024

By Adedapo Adesanya The federal government has approved a total of N683.4 billion as the 2024 disbursement for beneficiary tertiary institutions across the country. This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Mr Sonny Echono, while giving the breakdown of the disbursement at a strategic meeting with heads of beneficiary institutions on Friday in Abuja. He said that the allocation was the highest since inception and attributed the increase to the sustained efforts at expanding and increasing the efficiency of education tax collection from 2.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent in the year

More Stories

Ambode Okays 50% Fare Hike for BRT, LAGBUS

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has approved a 20–50 percent fare increase for LAGBUS and other BRT operators effective from Wednesday, March 1, 2017. It was explained that the hike is in view of the current economic downturn which has consequently escalated all costs related to operation of the public transport beyond any financial forecast or projection. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Monday, the Managing Director of LAMATA, Mr Abiodun Dabiri, explained that the current government is focused on a strategic reform of the public transport in order to create a world-class public


Petrol Price to Remain Unchanged in May—NNPC Assures

By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, would not be increased in the month of May. The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, also assured that there are no plans to increase the ex-depot price of petrol in the country. Mr Kyari confirmed this development while briefing reporters after a closed-door meeting with the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital. The meeting was convened by the


Investors Stake N24bn on 1.5 billion Stocks in One Week

By Modupe Gbadeyanka At the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week, the All-Share Index (ASI) and market capitalisation both depreciated by 1.00 percent and 0.90 percent to close at 25,016.30 points and N13.050 trillion respectively. All other indices finished lower with the exception of NSE AFR Div Yield and consumer goods indices which appreciated by 1.20 percent and 0.26 percent respectively while NSE ASeM closed flat. About N24 billion was spent by investors on 1.5 billion shares last week in 22,911 deals at the exchange. This was in contrast to the N14 billion used to transact 1.3 billion shares the


Next Nigerian President Will Achieve Sustainable Economic Growth—Iginla

By Dipo Olowookere The Shepherd in Charge of Champions Royal Assembly, Abuja, Prophet Joshua Iginla, has predicted that the next Nigerian President will record sustainable economic growth that will “shock us.” The cleric said this in his prophecies for the New Year, made available to Business Post on Tuesday by his media representatives. In his yearly forecasts, Prophet Iginla said he sees “the most criticised and hated candidate emerging winner under the permissive will of God,” warning observers not to “underestimate [candidate of] the Labour Party.” According to observers of this year’s presidential election, the three forerunners are Mr Bola


Buhari Vows to Make Financial Transactions Transparent

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that very soon, all government financial transactions would be done in the open, especially with the various reform agenda being implemented by his administration. A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated that this assurance was given on Tuesday in Kaduna at the Passing-Out Parade of Detective Inspector Course Five, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “My resolve is to ensure that the reforms are deepened such that there will be no hiding place for corrupt persons and proceeds of corruption. My


Two Suicide Bombers Die at Maiduguri Cattle Market

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Two female suicide bombers have been reported dead at a cattle market in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State. It was gathered that the bombers had planned to attack the market, but were stopped by members of the Youth Vigilante stationed at the entrance. Reports say one of the women, on Monday, December 26, 2016, was ordered to stop at gun point from a distance to remove the explosives. It was during this time that the devices exploded, killing the two of them instantly. The incident reportedly caused tension in the area and saw many running


Amazon Begins First Prime Air Cargo Plane

Leading ecommerce company in the world, Amazon, has launched its first branded prime air cargo plane. The US-based organisation unveiled the air cargo during Seafair’s Air Show in Seattle, its headquarters. “Creating an air transportation network is expanding our capacity to ensure great delivery speeds for our Prime members for years to come,” Amazon senior vice-president of worldwide operations Dave Clark said in a press release. The Boeing 767-300, operated by Amazon’s air cargo provider Atlas Air, has been christened Amazon One and its tail number is made up of a prime number. Speaking further on the new venture, Clark

Recent Stories

Applications Open for AIG Public Leaders Programme

By Aduragbemi Omiyale Eligible African public servants have been urged to submit their applications for the AIG Public Leaders Programme Cohort 4 before Tuesday, April 30, 2024. This call for entries was made by Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the applications are to be filed through www.aigimoukhuedefoundation.org/leaders-programme, a statement disclosed. Applicants must be working in the public sector in Africa, with a minimum of seven years of active service, at grade levels 12-17, and aged between 35-50 years at the time of application. The AIG Public Leaders Programme is tailored for senior public leaders and delivered in partnership with the Blavatnik School


Okpe Leaders Want Completion of Sapele Polytechnic, University in Orerokpe

By Henry Ovie The Delta State Governor, Mr Sheriff Oborevwori, has been tasked to make efforts to complete the Sapele Polytechnic, which was started by the administration of Mr Emmanuel Uduaghan. This call was made by some prominent leaders from the Okpe kingdom, who said the completion of the school and the establishment of a university in Orerokpe would assuage, “to some extent,” the people of the areas, who they said have been “historically neglected.” On Thursday, the leaders held a crucial meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Okpe Union worldwide. They commended Mr Oborevwori for responding


HabariPay Take-on-Squad Hackathon 1.0 Produces Three Winners

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Three winners have emerged in the inaugural Take-on-Squad Hackathon 1.0 coding event organised by HabariPay Limited after intense collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving at the GTCO Training Complex, Tayo’s Plaza, Abeokuta, Ogun State, from January 18 to 20, 2024. Business Post reports that the three winning teams are Team Within, Team X, and Team Storepoint. Each team was selected based on real-world applicability, technical creativity, user experience, and teamwork. Team Storepoint, represented by Haruna Faruk and Ladipo Samuel from the University of Lagos, secured third position and a prize of N1 million. Their winning solution, Storepoint, facilitates quick


Group Mourns OAU’s Veterinary Technologist Olabode Olawuyi

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The Nigeria Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (NBCA) has expressed sadness over the death of the Veterinary Technologist of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr Olabode Olawuyi, a few days ago. Mr Olawuyi was fatally mauled by a lion at the Zoological Garden of the institution. In a statement signed by the National President of the Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP), Mr Dipo Bali, the group said the deceased was a man who was dedicated to his job and the organisations he belonged to in his lifetime. Mr Olawuyi, apart from being a


NUPENG Seeks EFCC Support to Tackle Illegal Oil Bunkering

By Adedapo Adesanya Following its fight against foreign exchange speculators and hoarders, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has sought the collaboration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the fight against illegal oil bunkering in the country. The collaboration was sought when the National President of NUPENG, Mr Williams Akporeha, led members of his executive council to the corporate headquarters of the anti-graft agency on a courtesy visit. Mr Akporeha mentioned the challenges involved in the movement of petroleum products across the country and appealed to the EFCC to always come to the


SON Launches Facility to Test Quality of Generators, Transformers

By Adedapo Adesanya The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated a facility to test generators and power transformers sold in the Nigerian electricity market. Speaking at the inauguration of SON Mobile Generators Testing Laboratory and Mobile Transformer Equipment on Thursday, the Director-General of the agency, Mr Ifeanyi Okeke, said it was no longer business as usual for assemblers and importers of these products. He said it was important for these products to meet the quality benchmarks, stressing that buyers must have value for their money. According to him, all information supplied on generators and transformers will be verified and


Port Harcourt Refinery to be Fully Operational Soon—FG

By Adedapo Adesanya  The federal government has disclosed that the Port Harcourt Refinery should become operational very soon as it has attained 80 per cent completion. The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, during a tour of the facility, disclosed that the refinery would produce two million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, and 2.2 million litres of diesel per day upon resuming operations. In a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry, Mr Olajide Oshundun, it was further stated that the old plant should produce 54,000


Nigeria Moves to Crash Cooking Gas Price

 By Adedapo Adesanya Nigeria is considering taking a major step aimed at crashing the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, to ease the sufferings of its citizens. The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo, speaking at the opening of its Internal Stakeholders’ Workshop on Thursday in Abuja, disclosed that the government would most likely ban the exportation of the commodity to keep the price lower than its current level. Currently, prices range between N1,300 per kg to N1,400 per kg. “All LPG produced within the country will have to be domesticated and


How MultiChoice Empowers Nigerian Youth Through Creative Investment

As global populations age, Africa remains a bastion of youthful promise, with around 70% of the continent’s population below the age of 30. This youthful demographic can be an asset – but only if it is developed, by empowering young people through training, and by giving them a stake in the growth of their countries’ economies. Helping to develop young people’s abilities and expanding the pool of skills is also in the interests of industry and big business. Over the years, the Federal government of Nigeria embarked on youth empowerment initiatives to harness the skills and energy of Nigerian youths


Eva Adelaja Girls’ At 60: Old Students Donate to Orphanage, Thrill Students

By Adedapo Adesanya It has been an eventful celebration at the ongoing 6oth Anniversary of Eva Adelaja Girls’ Secondary Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos. The event was planned to celebrate the institution established by the late educator, Mrs Evangeline Adebayo Adelaja, in 1964. Particular resplendent in this celebration are the alumni of the school, the Eva Adelaja Girls’ Secondary Grammar School Old Girls’ Association, which have been on the ground to ensure that the planned activities go smoothly. The event, which kicked off with the Praise Day and Community Hymn Singing held at Chapel of Christ the Light in Alausa, Ikeja,