Edtech start-up Kidato raises US$1.4m seed for online learning

KENYA – Kidato, an online class for K-12 students in Africa, has announced that it has closed its US$1.4 million seed investment.

This seed round has been backed by Y Combinator, a significant backer of most of the continent’s well-known start-ups

Investors who were in this funding round include such firms as Launch Africa Ventures Fund, Graph Ventures, Learn Start Capital, and Century Oak Capital, among other angel investors.

The idea behind Kidato is the brainchild of Kenyan entrepreneur Sam Gichuru, who set it up in 2020.

The Y Combinator-backed start-up says it now has more than 700 students and still growing. This platform currently attracts students from Kenya, Switzerland, Tanzania, UK, the USA and the United Arab Emirates at US$5 per lesson.

The online learning platform is riding on the fact that most private schools remain shut due to the pandemic and is thus using its innovations to recruit more teachers and students to its platform.

In March 2021, the education tech start-up, linked up with Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator, receiving US$125,000 funding in the process with further support in the pipeline.

Y Combinator is a US-based seed money start-up accelerator launched in March 2005 and has been used to launch over 2,000 companies.

Established in 2020, Kidato is an online school that provides high-quality, affordable education to Africa’s growing middle class.

A challenge for e-learning and other remote models is that people cannot have physical avenues to socialize unless it is deliberately planned. Kidato says this is the major challenge that it has because parents still want their kids to socialize and learn from meaningful exposure and interactions.

As a result, the start-up is leveraging its connections with other industry leaders in Kenya to take students on monthly educational field trips.

Gichuru said, “We’re trying to show them how well kids socialize on our platform. We are partnering with companies that can make it possible to take these kids to plantations, factories, planetariums.”

Since a major focus for Kidato is to make sure that students get enough attention from their teachers, the teacher-student ratio is kept at 5 to 1. This is achieved by putting between 5 to 8 students in a class and assigning a tutor to them. Kidato’s service is more affordable than the average private school.

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