While many edtech companies around the world benefited from this, as the industry attracted an influx of funding, African edtech companies struggled to tap into this opportunity.
According to Tech Cabal, in 2021, when edtech globally raised $20 billion, African edtech companies raised less than $40 million.
We all agree that Africa has an education crisis, which sees over 100 million children out of school across different educational levels across the continent,and due to failing public school systems, households contribute up to 46% of total education spend on their children — this has resulted in 20–45% of K-12 population enrolled in private schools. Amidst this, African governments reportedly spend 5% of their GDPs on education, more than any other region in the world.
This still presents a huge market for edtech companies here.
Despite everything, there has been impressive efforts by African companies and Kenyan Companies specifically to help solve educational problems.
We have since put together a list of some leading edtech companies, some that were formed during the pandemic, one of the most challenging periods for education globally and others that have been around for quite some time but are still impacting the education system in Kenya.
Kidato is an online school for K-12 students that provides a high-quality, affordable education to the growing middle class in Africa, where parents must often choose between either public schools with student-teacher ratios as high as 50:1 or private schools with expensive tuition fees.
Formed in 2020 during the pandemic, Kidato classes have student-teacher ratios of 5:1 and teach the same rigorous international curriculum as other private schools — but at a fraction of the price.
A year after the launch, the startup took part in the Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator and banked US$125,000 in funding. Later in the year, the startup concluded an additional US$1.4 million seed funding round, which includes investors such as Learn Start Capital, Launch Africa Ventures, Graph Ventures, and Century Oak Capital, as well as an Ivy League university endowment fund and notable local and global angel investors.
Firefly Edtech Solutions is an education technology (Edtech) company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Based at our Karen Space, the platform seeks to provide cost-effective, and reliable digital assessment solutions to learning institutions across Africa. The company powers thousands of combinations of complete assessment flows that support and inform excellence in teaching and learning
The company recently launched its first product called, ntemata an e-assessment solution that transforms teachers’ and learners’ experiences in classrooms, by simplifying assessment processes.
It increases teacher’s instructional and, teacher-student engagement time, and real-time feedback, and eases data analysis of student performance and progress.
M-Shule is an AI platform using SMS to continuously analyze each learner’s ability in order to generate personalized learning tracks and build their skills. It provides an integrated solution – easily accessible through SMS for parents and teachers, with a web app for school directors.
Eneza Education is a comprehensive virtual tutor providing universal access to affordable, quality, lifelong learning through mobile technology. The Mobile Learning Platform helps tackle Africa’s problems of illiteracy,, school dropouts, high textbook costs and lack of quality feedback for learners.
It has evolved from access on any mobile phone through USSD and SMS, to multi-device- smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Learners access the platform via mobile web, desktop, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram and teachers and school administrators are empowered by being equipped with relevant content.
Since Eneza was started in 2011, the company has sponsored Edtech Meetups and reached at least over 380,000 active users each month.
Starting off at our coworking space, eLimu is one of the most talked-about EdTech companies in Africa and the leading digital educational content provider in East Africa. The app offers KCPE Revision papers and Hadithi, a literacy app that makes learning fun and engaging for curious children both at school and at home.
The app also uses a proven pedagogy and the latest technology to develop interactive stories written by local teachers, illustrated by artists across East Africa, and voiced by actors and celebrities.
Each story includes games and activities to keep a child busy for the whole school year. Over the last years, the ElImu team has also developed teacher training courses to give students the confidence to use tech in schools and to show them how they can use that technology to make their life easier – by making lesson plans, mark sheets, and their own materials on tablets and laptops.
Though not Kenyan-owned, Ubongo Kids content is widely consumed in Kenya. Ubongo Kids is a platform is an educational media that reaches millions of families through accessible technologies. It is an interactive educational cartoon that teaches kids foundational maths, science, and problem-solving skills, and inspires them to use those skills to change the world around them.
Ubongo leverages accessible technologies of TV and basic mobile phones to deliver edu-cartoons, currently watched in over 1.2 million homes in East Africa each week. Kids can interact via SMS from basic mobiles, answering quiz questions, and getting feedback and encouragement from the cartoon characters.
Most students in Kenya highly rely on textbooks for their studies, however even with the free Primary Educationhaving been introduced in 2003, about 70% of students still can’t afford the mandatory textbooks required for school. This is where the whole idea of starting Kytabu came from. Kytabu is a textbook subscription application that allows students to rent preinstalled textbooks on a low-cost android tablet or desktop application on a dongle.
The platform has digitized hundreds of textbooks required for primary and secondary schools, plus thousands of TED Talks recorded in 42 languages (English, Swahili, and local dialects), learning games, a virtual classroom for in-class chats, and some past tests and exams.
They can rent content like pages, chapters, or books on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly time frame and pay with mobile money.
Kytabu allows students to access any textbook in the country’s entire education curriculum library, and rent the size of content they need, for the time they need it while still fitting the amount of money they have.
This is all made possible by a microSD that holds 8GB of pre-installed textbook content, a GSM, data enable SIM card with mobile payment support that comes with it to access updates or additional content through an online data connection paid for by publishers. This translates to affordable content that is always up to date, always accessible, and easy to purchase.
Educartis partners with the leading universities and training centers in Kenya to provide students with the latest knowledge and skills online.
Educartis, is an alumnae of Nairobi Garage Community and was based at our Westlands Office space. The platform has over 180 Courses available online and has locally partnered with over 40 institutions.
With the uptake of STEM Careers still low especially among girls, FunKe Science, is trying to change that narrative from an early stage. FunKe Science offers a platform that seeks to promote interactive learning of science among school children, through fun activities, experiments, and tutorials using simple and common household materials that they can identify with.
The platform currently has over 4000 students signed up and over 300 sessions done.
Arifu among other Ai/Chatbot-based education tools helps provide users with training programs via any mobile device for free. Whether learning about entrepreneurship, financial management, or nutrition, their expert-crafted content is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual user.
Arifu has been able to onboard over 800,000 users, with most users being farmers looking to upskill their practices.
How it works is, Arifu reaches out to partner companies like Syngenta and digitizes their farming content making it available on both features and smartphones through dialing a USSD code. A farmer from any part of the country can then access this content for free and improve their yields.