Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) has today announced an investment in Eneza Education through its $1 million Safaricom Spark Venture Fund. Eneza Education provides mobile-based education tools for primary students.
The company was co-founded four years ago by Kago Kagichiri and Toni Maraviglia, who believed in the opportunity that Kenya’s expanding mobile ecosystem could provide for children who needed reliable exam revision tools.
Today, Eneza has more than 1.1 million learners across 11 countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Benin and Iraq.
In a first partnership with Safaricom four years ago, Eneza developed the Shupavu 291 app, which is an affordable, SMS based exam revision and learning solution.
“We believe in the power of the mobile phone in extending access to learners so they can realize their full potential. The additional investment will go a long way in enabling us reach more learners in countries where we already operate in, and in expanding to more countries,” said Kago Kagichiri, CEO, Eneza Education.
As one of its most popular solutions, the Shupavu platform offers a personalized experience by providing real-time course level progress, interactive lessons and assessments, all via the simplest of mobile phones.
Users can access locally-designed tutorials, as well as chat live with a teacher either through a live teacher chat through either USSD or SMS, an online web app, an offline desktop app, or an Android app.
Eneza has also created interactive content to cover the local curriculum in several countries. In Kenya, learners have access to all subjects from Class 4 to Form 4 in the 8-4-4 curriculum, with courses designed to also cater for learners who have dropped out of school but would like to keep learning.
“We believe that the mobile phone has the power to exponentially increase access to critical services such as education. Our partnership with Eneza has already seen us transform the lives of several children in Kenya; the funding we are unveiling today through the Spark Fund will provide them with the money they need to reach more children across the world,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
Over the last four years, 90 million messages have been sent on the Shupavu 291 platform, with more than 14 million questions completed by learners.
The Safaricom Spark Venture Fund invests in startups by purchasing minority equity stake or providing convertible debt, allowing young businesses to access the finances coupled with the technical advisory and business development services needed to grow their businesses. The fund’s first investment was in Sendy, a fast growing provider of on-demand, door to door delivery and transportation services.
Recently, the Fund announced its second investment in mSurvey, a mobile-first research platform leveraging SMS and mobile messaging technology to simplify access to credible, on-demand data from the emerging world.