FoondaMate, a South African edtech startup has secured $2 million in seed financing in a round led by UK-based venture capital firm Local Globe. The startup also received investments from other investors who participated in the round. Some of them include Lifty Inc, Emerge Education, Iyin Aboyeji through Future Africa, Odunayo Eweniyi through FirstCheck Africa, and Luno’s Marcus Swanepoel and Isaac Oates of Justworks.
The startup plans to use the new funding to increase the use of its WhatsApp and Facebook-based learning chatbot by bringing it to more people across the world. The startup assists students (high school) with their revision by providing the answers to questions as well as access to revision papers. The platform can be said to be an AI-teacher or personalized and highly-responsive search engine.
The edtech startup mainly targets high school students in emerging markets with connectivity or access to WhatsApp. The startup considers factors like accessibility and cost of access before it makes its target, co-founder Dacod Magagula says. According to him, the edtech’s learning chatbot is easy to use, affordable, and is a better alternative to using search engines to search for answers or to study.
The startup was founded by Dacod Magagula and Tao Boyle. Before agreeing to team up, Dacod Magagula was working on something to solve the supply chain challenges of getting textbooks to schools in underserved areas.
The platform can also be taken advantage of by teachers and/or educators to prepare and share homework as well as other learning materials with their students.
Dacod Magagula made it known that he began work on Foondale back in August 2020 when WhatsApp provided its API in beta so that businesses can leverage it to connect to customers. “It was in beta at the time, and I started playing around with it. I thought it’d be a really good way to enable access to study materials to students in the same position as myself…because a majority of students do not have access to the wider internet but have access to WhatsApp. Also, a lot of network providers offer WhatsApp for free to attract users to their network,” he said.
The startup says at least 400,000 students are using its platform in 10 different languages and in more than 30 countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Indonesia where it recently launched.
Commenting on the startup and the latest funding, Local Globe’s partner, Ziv Reichert said that
“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. We believe that it takes immense empathy for a problem and a real long-term view to build a product of this kind.”
Source: TechBooky Business