Foondamate, a South African edtech startup, has secured a $2 million seed funding round led by LocalGlobe to boost and accelerate the global adoption of its Whatsapp and Facebook-based learning chatbot.

The round was joined by Emerge Education, Odunayo Eweniyi via FirstCheckAfrica, Iyin Aboyeji via Future Africa, and LoftyInc, alongside angels from Luno (Marcus Swanepoel) and Justworks (Isaac Oates). They join XX accelerator, the startup’s first backer.

Founded by Dacod Magagula and Tao Laine Boyle in 2020, Foondamate helps students with their revision by giving them immediate answers to questions and access to revision papers, while also guiding them in responses to questions.

The startup targets high-school students in emerging markets where Whatsapp is widely used and is a lot cheaper or free to access. Its learning chatbot is easy to use, affordable and acts as an organized alternative to using search engines for study. Educators also use FoondaMate’s integrated resources to set and post homework and to share other learning materials with students.

Since launch FoondaMate has been used by over 400,000 students using over 10 languages in over 30 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia – where the startup recently launched and has seen a surge in usage.

On its plans, CEO Dacod Magagula said the startup is currently working on localizing its learning material to accommodate learners in more countries and fuel the growth of its platform to more than 50 million users. Its recent funding round brings around the resources needed for this rapid take-off.

“Initially I thought FoondaMate would be used by students who do not have access to Wi Fi and those with limited access to the internet. But reality is, it is being used by those with good internet connectivity too…because it’s really an easy and intuitive way to access study material,” he said.

“FoondaMate’s viral growth strongly reflects how well the product resonates with learners, and speaks volumes to Dacod and Tao’s deep understanding of their users’ needs,” said LocalGlobe partner, Ziv Reichert.

“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,” said Reichert.

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