This SA Edtech Startup is Using WhatsApp to Bypass Africa’s High Internet Costs
By sending a text to the startup's WhatsApp number students can access a variety of study resources
South African entrepreneurs, Dacod Magagula and Tao Boyle have created an edtech solution that puts a large database of study resources in the hands of students irrespective of Africa’s high internet costs.
It all started some years back when Magagula was in high school. He was the only student in his school with a computer and this meant that he had to pay regular visits to the local internet cafe to download study resources and past questions. It was always a hassle trying to share his downloaded resources with other students.
Magagula went on to study computer science at the University of Cape Town and began to explore South Africa’s e-commerce ecosystem. However, he continued to ponder this pain point of students across the country. When WhatsApp release its business API to the public in 2020, Magagula had a eureka moment and could see a way out of the problem his classmates and countless students across the continent faced in high school.
In August last year Magagula and his co-founder Boyle, launched FoondaMate, a platform that integrates with WhatsApp to provide study resources at the lowest internet costs. It’s ensuring that students continue to better themselves irrespective of Africa’s high internet costs.
“Through our WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger bots, anyone with access to a basic smartphone – most of which come with these apps preinstalled – and some data, including social data, can study online and succeed at school. We believe that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. And we aim to change that,” Boyle said.
You can search on a variety of topics, solve mathematical problems, and get practise questions and notes by sending a text to the startup’s WhatsApp number. Watch FoondMate in action.
Since its launch, FoondaMate has gained over 120,000 users in more than ten African countries, as well as many in Latin America and Asia. It is gaining 600 new users every day on average. According to Boyle, FoondaMate’s high rate of adoption also comes from the platform’s support of several languages including isiZulu, siSwati, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, chiShona, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, isiXhosa, and Sepedi.
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