Tencent and Nielsen Ventures lead historic $15m African EdTech funding round

Nigerian edtech market leader uLesson closed a $15 million series B investment that drew support from Nielsen Ventures and Tencent, as well as existing investors, Owl Ventures, TLcom Capital, and Founder Collective. This is the largest investment in an African EdTech company.

Demand for live lessons grew by 222 percent since uLesson launched the feature on its app in September

With the capital, uLesson plans to continue to invest in product development, strengthen its core technology and add cohort-based learning features.

Expanding on its flagship science and mathematics content, the company will add social sciences and financial accounting to the secondary level content library and qualitative and quantitative reasoning to primary level.

The company was founded by Sim Shagaya in 2019 and, since its launch, seen incredible traction from learners.

In 2021, daily average users surged 430 percent, and live lesson demand grew by 222 percent since its introduction in September. The uLesson app has been downloaded two million times with over 12 million videos views, and 25,6 million questions answered on the platform.

“We’re thrilled to achieve this major milestone which will take us further in bringing high quality and affordable education to all Africans,” said Sim Shagaya, uLesson CEO, in a media statement.

“We’re delighted to be joined by seasoned investors, like Tencent, who bring a wealth of experience from their investments in education technology. Backed by incredible partners, we can accelerate our learning to serve the African EdTech market more effectively.”

uLesson seeks to bring welcome support and relief to the overwhelmed education system in Africa where pupil to trained teacher ratios – 58:1 at the primary level and 43:1 at secondary level — are some of the highest in the world.

“I believe entrepreneurs can change the world. At Founder Collective, I’ve watched Uber upend transportation, Coupang re-envision eCommerce, and I have every hope that uLesson will set new standards for education in Africa,” says David Frankel, Managing Partner at Founder Collective.

“The incredible talent on the continent has been held back for too long by a lack of opportunities. So I couldn’t be a more enthusiastic supporter of Sim Shagaya and his vision for more accessible and affordable educational opportunities for millions of people.”

Read more: Learners strut their start-up stuff

Lindsey Schutters


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Ventureburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.