South Africa’s Foondamate To Scale Its Chatbot Platforms With $2M Funding


May 25, 2022, 12:12 p.m.

A South African edtech startup FoondaMate has secured $2M seed funding to scale its WhatsApp and Facebook-hosted learning chatbot for use across the world. LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm, led the round.

Founded by Dacod Magagula and Tao Boyle, FoondaMate is a tech-driven education-focused business offering students revisions and immediate answers and academic guidance using WhatsApp API.

Foondamate is currently used in more than 30 countries, with over 400,000 students using the platform in over 10 languages. Moreover, the startup plans to reach 50 million users by localizing the learning materials on its platform and leveraging the raised funds.

Magagula, in an interview with TechCrunch, said he started working on FoondaMate in August 2020, when WhatsApp opened its API in beta — to help businesses connect to customers.

“WhatsApp was in beta at the time, and I started playing around with it. I thought it’d be an excellent way to enable access to study materials to students in the same position as myself because most students do not have access to the wider internet but have access to WhatsApp. Also, many network providers offer WhatsApp for free to attract users to their network,” said Magagula, who co-founded FoondaMate with Tao Boyle — who, before they teamed up, was trying to fix the supply chain to get textbooks to underserved schools.

“Initially, I thought FoondaMate would be used by students who do not have Wi-Fi and those with limited access to the internet. But the reality is, it is being used by those with good internet connectivity too…because it’s an easy and intuitive way to access study material,” he said.

“FoondaMate’s viral growth strongly reflects how well the product resonates with learners and speaks volumes to Dacod and Tao’s deep understanding of their users’ needs,” said LocalGlobe partner Ziv Reichert.

“Having initially launched with a mission to transform how students across Africa study, FoondaMate has evolved into a tool that is now used and loved by learners from a range of backgrounds, with varying needs and learning styles, from all across the world. We believe that it takes immense empathy for a problem and a realistic long-term view to build a product of this kind,” said Reichert.

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Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.