Kenya-based mobile e-learning startup Eneza Education (Swahili for Spread Education) has secured financing from the country’s leading telecom company Safaricom. The funds were secured through Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund program.
Eneza says the funds will go towards expanding its services to the market; it currently has some one million learners enrolled.
“We believe in the power of the mobile phone in extending access to learners so they can realize their full potential,” saidEneza Education CEO, Kago Kagichiri. “The additional investment will go a long way in enabling us reach more learners in countries where we already operate in, and in expanding to more countries.”
Eneza plans to launch in countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Malawi, Liberia, and even Iraq. The Safaricom funding is part of an existing partnership between the telecom and the startup; Eneza developed the Shupavu 291 app for Safaricom. A mobile app operating via SMS to serve learners with education learning materials.
The Shupavu 291 app can be used even on the simplest of the feature phones, as it is SMS-based. It provides students real-time course work, interactive lessons, and assessments. The app was created four years ago. It has so far recorded over 90 million SMSs being sent and received. It also has over 14 million questions already answered by learners.
“Our partnership with Eneza has already seen us transform the lives of several children in Kenya; the funding we are unveiling today through the Spark Fund will provide them with the money they need to reach more children across the world,” said Bob Collymore, the Safaricom CEO.
It has four years now in the business. Eneza Education is one of the many startups leveraging on the proliferation of smartphones and increasing mobile internet connectivity across Africa. In Kenya, Eneza is targeting to supply kids with relevant learning materials to help them in their revision.
Safaricom invests in promising startups through the Spark Venture Fund program, which either buy a minority stake at the startup or issued them convertible debts. As Safaricom plays the role of venture capitalists, the given startups benefit from getting capital to scale their operations.
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