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$2 M seed funding received by SA’s FoondaMate to close education inequality gaps

FoondaMate, a South African ed-tech firm, has acquired $2 million in initial investment to use its AI-powered learning platform to overcome global education inequality gaps.

FoondaMate, a chat-based, AI-powered learning bot created by Dacod Magagula and Tao Boyle in August 2020, lets students gain fast, convenient, and safe access to study materials and support via open chat platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The bot is used by over 400,000 students in 30 countries and speaks 11 languages. Its user base has more than quadrupled in six months due to viral growth. After winning a US$2 million seed round, FoondaMate is now looking to expand.

LocalGlobe led the round, which included Emerge Education, FirstCheck Africa, LoftyInc, Future Africa, Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder of Luno, and Isaac Oates, co-founder of Justworks. FoondaMate plans to utilize the funds to expand its staff, with a special focus on engineering and product development, as well as expand into other markets. Indonesia, where FoondaMate is now in beta, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, and Brazil are the first of these regions.

“At FoondaMate, we believe talent is equally distributed yet opportunities are not. There are often competing factors that contribute to educational inequality – not just in Africa, but across the world – and our technology is helping to universally address these. It’s humbling to think so many learners trust us to support their desire to learn and it’s a responsibility we take incredibly seriously. We’re thrilled to have investors that share our passion and who believe in the power of revolutionising how and where students learn,” said Magagula.

FoondaMate’s viral growth, according to Ziv Reichert, a partner at LocalGlobe, “strongly demonstrated how effectively the product resonated with learners” and “spoke volumes about its team’s profound grasp of its customers’ requirements.”

“Having initially launched with a mission to transform how students across Africa study, FoondaMate has evolved into a tool that is now used and loved by learners from a range of backgrounds, with varying needs and learning styles, from all across the world. We believe that it takes immense empathy for a problem and a real long-term view to build a product of this kind. With more than 400,000 users, it’s fair to say that Dacod and Tao are just getting started and we’re delighted to be supporting them on their journey,” he said.




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