Kenyan education technology startup Craydel has announced it has raised Sh111.7 million ($1 million) to expand outside of Kenya to serve more students on the continent.
The funding will also be used to improve its search and recommendation engine, enhance its proprietary online career resources and technology.
Founded by ex-WPP Scangroup executive Manish Sardana, John Nguru and Shayne Aman Premji, Craydel the web-based platform allows working professionals and students to select courses from a large pool of local and international universities. Users are also able to compare the cost of studying their chosen course in various schools.
The funding round was led by tech-focused pan-African venture capital fund, Enza Capital. Other investors include South African artificial intelligence fund BriteGaze, Africa-focused EdTech investor Future of Learning Fund, Silicon Valley-based EdTech venture capital firm Bisk Ventures, San Francisco-based technology investment firm Tekton Ventures, Kenya-based Chandaria Capital and Nigeria-based LoftyInc Afropreneurs.
"Access to higher education and skills development for Africa's growing youth population remains fragmented, yet is a fundamental cornerstone to our accelerated development. Craydel is building the rails to democratise access to higher education and to support millions of Africans up this curve," said Mike Mompi, Managing Partner of Enza Capital who is set to join the company's Board of Directors.
"We are enthused to be backing Manish, John, Shayne and the Craydel team at this early stage as they build world class tech and embark on this meaningful journey."
Since its launch in May this year, Craydel has partnered with more than 90 universities and vocational colleges in Africa and abroad, offering in excess of 3,000 higher education programmes.
They are targeting to list at least 1,000 institutions of higher learning.
“We believe in the power of the youth in Africa to create lasting transformative change. And Craydel is driven to empower them to access the best education pathways to unleash their true potential,” said Manish.
Working with a team of career counsellors and technologists, Craydel says it has created an online portal for students to apply courses objectively based on their desired career paths and abilities.
It has a personalised career guidance tool and course recommendations from institutions across Africa and the world, which gives learners a variety to choose from.
“Whether it is an online MBA, a degree in medicine, a diploma in animation or a certificate in culinary arts, we are building the largest inventory of quality higher education programs for students and working professionals in Africa. And we are powering this with an AI-driven search and recommendation engine that matches a student’s interests, aptitude, grades and budget to their best-fit programs and institutions,” said Mr Premji.
Learners sign up and use the platform for free, but the institutions listed pay the company for the enrollment they get from the platform.
Majority of student transitioning from secondary schools into institutions of higher learning select courses based on influence from family, friends or celebrities.
In other cases, freshmen are allocated programmes by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) based on high school grades, taking career paths they never dreamt of.
$1 = Sh111.7