2020 Africa EdTech 50. Where are they now?

How are Africa’s Top 50 EdTech Startups of 2020 performing and where are they now?

Education Intelligence Unit

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August 4, 2021

In September 2020, HolonIQ announced the Africa EdTech 50 — a list of the 50 most promising EdTech startups headquartered in Africa. As we open applications for our annual Africa EdTech 50, we take a look at where the 2020 cohort are now.

With over 200 million young people, Africa is arguably the continent in the most need of effective, scaled solutions for education from early childhood through to adult up-skilling.  Despite major infrastructure and capital challenges, EdTech activity across the continent is impressive, with thousands of African EdTech entrepreneurs working across all parts of the sector to support teachers, schools, students and parents for greater access to education and impact from learning.

The Annual Africa EdTech 50 recognizes the most promising EdTech startups based in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To be eligible, startups are generally less than 10 years old (though there are some exceptions), are either headquartered in Sub-Saharan Africa (see separate Middle East North Africa EdTech 50), or predominately focused on the market (e.g. > 80% revenue/customers, are pre exit (not acquired or listed) and not a subsidiary of a larger company or controlled by an investor group (e.g. via private equity buyout or controlling investment).

Governments, institutions, investors, schools and educators, influencers and talent leaders from across the region and around the world look to HolonIQ’s Africa EdTech 50 to better understand the dynamics of innovation in the market and the teams who are making a difference in education outcomes. ‍

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HolonIQ's Scoring Fingerprint

In 2020, HolonIQ’s Education Intelligence Unit evaluated 700+ EdTech companies based in sub-saharan Africa, powered by data and insights from our Global Intelligence Platform and local experts. Each organization was assessed using our proprietary scoring engine and following HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric. Our normalization algorithm ensures that individual scoring bias is eliminated to create an equitable baseline and allows experts to review their own ‘scoring fingerprint’ relative to other experts. HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric covers the following dimensions:

Market. The quality and relative attractiveness of the specific market in which the company competes.
Product. The quality and uniqueness of the product itself.
Team. The expertise and diversity of the team.
Capital. The financial health of the company and in particular its ability to generate or secure sufficient funding.
Momentum. Positive changes in the size and velocity of the company over time.

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Where are they now?

Startups in the 2020 Africa EdTech 50 have collectively raised over USD $200M, with almost $15M since the list was announced less than a year ago. Along with a number of early-stage rounds by teams such as Akirachix, CoffeeChat, Eneza, Gradely and Mosabi, online high school solution Valenture Institute raised $7m from GSV Ventures and Nigerian learning app, uLesson closed a $7.5m Series A led by Owl Ventures, illustrating that African EdTech teams and models have the attention of global investors. Also worthy of note is the geographical spread of these EdTech’s with funds raised from teams in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa along with Sierra Leone and Mauritius.

Exits, Acquisitions and Growth Activities

From last year’s list, K12 digital learning content platform eLimu was acquired by Nigeria-based CCHub, with plans to expand eLimu’s footprint beyond Kenya and into additional education content areas.  In addition to the 2020 Africa EdTech 50, there has been plenty of activity across Africa, particularly in technology skilling with teams such as The Gradient Boost, We Think Code, Kabakoo Academy, Ixperience and Hyperion Dev seeing traction in the market along with B2C K12 solutions such as Kidato and Watobe.

New initiatives, partnerships and products have been a feature for the 2020 Africa EdTech 50 in the last year as they expand impact on the continent. Andela partnered with Google to upskill thousands, and also expanded its talent search into Latin America. Ubongo partnered with Facebook for kids online safety and also launched ‘Akili and me’ on YouTube. Eneza Education partnered with Mastercard to launch an SMS-based learning platform and Digemy partnered with Independent school, Bridge House to create ConnectEd, an IEB curriculum online high school in Africa to use a dynamic adaptive learning platform.

Register for the launch webinar to learn more about the 2020 cohort and of course, be the first to know the 50 companies selected as part of the 2021 Africa EdTech 50.

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