BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian startup Traindemy, which gives people access to online courses provided by vocational and technical schools to help them acquire in-demand skills, says its user base is increasing in size by 25 per cent month-on-month.
Launched in July 2018 but pivoted in August 2019 after it took part in the Injini ed-tech accelerator in Cape Town, Traindemy provides digital access to short courses in areas such as arts and crafts, agriculture, engineering and technology.
These courses are provided by some of the best vocational and technical schools in Africa, and made available via the startup’s online marketplace. Chief executive officer (CEO) Vincent Edigin said it offered physical support to learners too, via its Traindemy workshops, which are still in beta.
“We know practice makes perfect sense, so our Traindemy workshops make it possible for people learning online to practice at private-owned physical locations for a token fee shared by the workshop owner and Traindemy. Learners are also able to search for in-person training happening around them and attend,” he said.
Since its pivot last year, Traindemy has built a user base of around 1,000 people, but Edigin said it is seeing 25 per cent month-on-month growth at present.
“We operate a freemium model so users can start for free and are later prompted to enroll to access the full course,” he said.
Traindemy, which recently took part in the Forbes digital accelerator, was formed in response to a number of factors, including growth in unemployment and the decline in local production and manufacturing.
“We decided to attack these problems from the root – education. And not just education, but education that makes you self-reliant with the ability to create an enterprise of your own and generate wealth,” said Edigin.
Connecting physical schools with virtual learners has proven a novel way of doing all this, and the bootstrapped Traindemy is looking to raise seed capital in the next few months to help it scale operations. Edigin said the company is in discussions with some investors, and is seeking around US$100,000 to give it a year’s runway.
“This would allow us to onboard more TVET schools and facilitate course creation by getting a dedicated studio and more equipment,” he said, adding that Traindemy also hoped to increase the size of its team, add new categories of course, and expand operations to 20 more Nigerian states.
For now, the startup – which monetises through online enrollments, offline summer classes, and the booking of workshops, is focused on Lagos, but it does have wider African ambitions. Edigin said in order to succeed at scale, listening to users was crucial.
“We have learnt immensely from our users and have improved the platform to fit their needs. The difficulty we’ve had in scaling from where we are is mainly onboarding training content of schools for the online part, because it takes a while to curate this content so that the learner gets full value exceeding traditional methods they’re used to,” he said.