How does the life of our alumni look like after the Seedstars World Competition? What are their successes and failures? How are they moving the tech revolution in their counties forward? Meet Edves, our alumnus, the winner of the best EdTech Startup Prize in 2018. We had a talk with Dimeji Falana, CEO and co-founder of Edves to find out how did they grow since the last year.
What key pain points do you address with your product?
Over 70% of educators in African schools lose millions of Naira (Nigerian currency) and their time on managing students fees and records, using the brick and mortar method of pen and paper. With our tool, educators can easily collect school fees, issue receipts, capture students data for enrollment, prepare for lessons and track learning outcomes.
How did you test your product for the market/product fit?
We have currently deployed Edves to over 350 schools, and the following are the tests conducted across different Schools:
- Students enrolment: the parents travel about 2km to 5km to pay to a bank and use the teller to buy hard copy admission form from the schools. Thanks to Edves, they simply visit the admission page to pay online, fill the form and the schools receive the payment and enrolment notification. This makes it fit for our traffic-laden environment and the emerging e-commerce culture.
- School fee collection: the parents travel about 2km to 5km to pay to a bank or make a transfer. But the school accountants usually have difficulties identifying the payer because, the payer’s name is usually not sufficient to reconcile the account, track the defaulters and issue a receipt. To address this issue, Edves renders a specialized accounting solution to meet the revenue tracking needs of a school. With our tool, payments can be collected via Debit Card and bank branch collection and the school portal will issue an automated receipt in compliance with global Fintech practices. Also, the accountant can simply track the school fee payers with a click of a button.
- Learning outcomes: the educators record students’ grades on a paper. It’s quite a complicated and inefficient method for analysing academic progress. With the help of Edves, the educators record the students’ performance and just in a click of a button can analyse and compare performance in different subject across multiple academic calendars.
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How did your business grow since last year? What did the Seedstars experience brought to you?
When we joined the Seedstars Growth programme we had 250 schools on the platform, and through the programme and the use of the fund, by the 31st of December 2018, we added 100 more schools. Now, at Edves we have a use a case of Artificial Intelligence to enrich classroom experience and improve lesson contents for educators. After the program, we secured $120,000 USD from two investors. Also, we ended the year 2018 with approximately 100% annual revenue increase. Right now, we serve over 80,000 students, 40,000 parents, and 12,000 educators in 17 states in Nigeria.
What does it mean to be part of the Seedstars community?
The community is rich with knowledge about the emerging economy, and being part of the Seedstars community means being properly positioned for growth and impact.
What is your team’s favourite mistake that taught you a good lesson?
The biggest mistake is to think that a good technology product is the only thing you need to build a successful startup.
What advice would you give to yourself (your team in general) one year ago?
Go for knowledge and do not fold your arms.
How do you measure your impact? What approaches do you apply?
With our inbuilt tracker, we track Parents and Students being served through the portal. We also check user impressions to discover the speed of work done by Educators. We organize an annual programme called Edves Catalyst to meet with the users and get feedback on the value that customers get from our software. The program has already proved to improve the drive and perspectives of stakeholders in the education sector.
What was the most difficult decision for you and your team along the way? And how has this decision influenced ‘destiny’ of your company?
Before we incorporated Edves as an entity, during Nigeria’s Economic recession in 2015-2016, which adversely affected our cash flow, we had to allow all our staff to leave for greener pasture. Then, my co-founder and I started everything all over again by moving our business to Lagos. This decision gave us an opportunity to reposition the company and grow in a larger market.
What is your utopian picture of education in Nigeria and what should be done to make this picture come true?
I envision the education system that makes it possible for each classroom to have access to quality knowledge transfer, attracts parents of the out-of-school children, equips educators with the right tools and training, and provides them with fair salaries.
What tools do you use for better productivity/performance?
- Zoom App
- Atlassian Jira
- Google Cloud
A unique fact about your team.
About 50% of our team members were former Class Teachers before they change their careers, so this gives us strength in this domain.
Which brands/products are your favourite ones?
- South Pole & New Balance
A mind-blowing book that changed made you look at something from a different angle.
The Holy Bible
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