Zeraki, a Kenyan edtech startup, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding led by Acumen Fund, for product catalogue growth and regional expansion.

The funding round was joined by Save the Children Impact Investment Fund, Verdant Frontiers Fintech, Logos Ventures, Nairobi Business Angels Network (NaiBAN), and Melvyn Lubega, co-founder of Go1, an Australia-based edtech unicorn.

Co-founded by Isaac Nyangolo and Erick Oude (COO) in 2014, Zeraki leverages technology to address some of the obstacles learners encounter in accessing quality education. Through technology, the startup guarantees the quality of education students get at each level of education.

Currently, over 5,000 schools with a total of 2 million students, are using the data analytics platform. Zeraki is also looking to enter 10 new markets over the next three years, after scaling in Kenya, Uganda and Guinea, where it currently operates. The demand for its services is expected with the expansion and as more schools embrace digital tools to streamline their administrative tasks.

The data analytics platform allows teachers to upload students’ grades from their mobile phones, and gives a performance breakdown for each student, subject or stream.

The platform also integrates a bulk messaging service for internal and external communication, in addition to allowing parents an avenue for tracking student performance and fee payment.

The startup plans to introduce more administrative tools for schools like timetabling software, in addition to supporting parents with fee loans.

CEO Isaac Nyangolo said: “Education is yet to be digitalized across most countries in Africa, and there is greater opportunity for us to build this market. Laying that foundation that introduces countries, schools and parents to how technology can solve the problems we have in education and being one of the companies in Africa that have shown that it is possible to do this at scale makes this an exciting opportunity.

“Every child needs a report card at the end of the school term. And the platforms for producing these report forms were offline computer-based platforms. So, teachers had to line up behind two or three computers at a school to do the data entry in order to produce the report forms. By moving this to a mobile-first cloud-based experience, it means that as soon as they are done grading students’ grades at home, the teachers just enter the scores on their phone.”

“We also realized that schools were purchasing the product but not using it because they lacked the appropriate infrastructure, and teachers didn’t know how to integrate it within the school setting. We were bootstrapping at the time and didn’t have enough resources to do consumer education. But around 2017 we realized that data was actually a much bigger problem in schools.”

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