[South Africa] Edtech startup FoondaMate secures $2 million seed funding
FoondaMate, a South African edtech startup, has secured US$2 million in seed funding to increase usage of its Whatsapp and Facebook-based learning chatbot throughout the globe.
The round was led by LocalGlobe, the UK-based venture capital firm, with participation from Emerge Education, Odunayo Eweniyi via FirstCheckAfrica, Iyin Aboyeji via Future Africa, and LoftyInc, among angels from Luno (Marcus Swanepoel) and Justworks (Isaac Oates) (Isaac Oates). They join XX accelerator, the startup’s initial investors.
Launched in August of last year, FoondaMate is helping high school students in emerging markets to access revision material through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It has so far been utilized by over 400,000 students utilizing over 10 languages in over 30 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia .
“At FoondaMate, we believe talent is equally distributed yet opportunities are not. There are often competing factors that contribute to educational inequality – not just in Africa, but across the world – and our technology is helping to universally address these. It’s humbling to think so many learners trust us to support their desire to learn and it’s a responsibility we take incredibly seriously. We’re thrilled to have investors that share our passion and who believe in the power of revolutionising how and where students learn,” said co-founder Dacod Magagula.
The co-founder who is also the company’s CEO and CTO said that the next phase of FoondaMate is localizing content to make it useful to more learners in more countries.
Part of the team’s work at FoondaMate is to vet the source of information and monitor results to ensure that children using the platform are safe.
“FoondaMate’s viral growth strongly reflects how well the product resonates with learners, and speaks volumes to Dacod and Tao’s deep understanding of their users’ needs. Having initially launched with a mission to transform how students across Africa study, FoondaMate has evolved into a tool that is now used and loved by learners from a range of backgrounds, with varying needs and learning styles, from all across the world,” said Ziv Reichert, partner at LocalGlobe.
The startup says the funding will be used to continue growing the FoondaMate team, with a particular focus on engineering and product, while expanding into more regions. The first of these regions are Indonesia, where FoondaMate is currently in beta, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Brazil.