BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian ed-tech startup Gradely, which applies artificial intelligence (AI) to improve learning outcomes in schools, has raised a seed funding round from Microtraction to help it in its early growth phase.
Founded in 2017, VC firm Microtraction invests in startups at the very earliest stage of their development, and has so far backed a host of Nigerian startups, like Accounteer, Riby, Thank U Cash, CowryWise, Wallet.ng, Schoolable, 54gene, Termii and Festival Coins, as well as Ghana’s Bit Sika.
The company announced last month it had changed its standard deal by increasing its investment to US$25,000 and reducing the equity it takes to seven per cent, and it has now made its first investment of 2020.
The recipient is Gradely, co-founded by Boye Oshinaga, Femi Ibiwoye, Seyi Adelaju and Babatunde Caleb. The startup uses AI to help parents and schools intervene in real-time to plug student learning gaps.
Gradely provides an adaptive learning platform that allows early identification of learning gaps and recommends specific ways to close them. Through the deployment of personalised homework as well as other periodic tests taken by kids, teachers, and parents, Gradely is able to recommend a course of action as well as products and services to buy.
“Nigeria has repeatedly reported abysmal performances in the annual private West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Factors such as low access to quality education due to a dearth of funds in Nigeria’s education sector and low quality of learning resources, mean that students have a difficult time passing the core subjects like Mathematics and English Language,” Microtraction said.
“Gradely is addressing this problem by helping parents and teachers get a hang of these issues early in the student’s journey, reduce reliance on the government’s funding of the sector and prevent repeat mass failures.”
There are already almost 70 schools using Gradely to digitise homework for their students, while the team has curated over 4,500 Math practice questions and more than 80 video lessons for WASSCE and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). It also now offers live online tutoring.
“Gradely launches at a time when most schools are looking to explore digital learning for the first time. Gradely’s laser focus on getting intelligible insights from the student’s work is what truly differentiates them and underscores their desire to make an impact in the collective growth and educational journey of each student in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Microtraction.
“We believe that Gradely’s approach moves us closer to improving the country’s recurring mass failure in certificate examinations thereby producing qualified students that are ready for the next chapter of their educational journey. We are confident in the team’s ability to pull this off by driving improved retention and results for primary and secondary school students in Africa.”