Ivory Coast has $210m edtech market but investment badly needed, finds Seedstars report

Ivory Coast’s edtech market could be worth at least $210-million, but the sector’s startups are in dire need of investment if they are to service the local market, reveals a new report by Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) and emerging markets investor and competition Seedstars.

The two last month released first report on The State of Edtech in Côte d’Ivoire in 2018 in which Seedstars surveyed key stakeholders, startups and investors. It reveals that edtech companies there have raised a “meagre” $184 600 but despite this are looking to raise $1.2-million.

TRECC is an association that aims to improve the living conditions of all children and youth of Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) through quality of education.

Ivory Coast has just 25 edtech startups and none able to raise more than $1-million

Seedstars estimates that the edtech sector in Ivory Coast — in school tech, e-learning, and career development — ranges from $210-million to $308-million.

The most valuable market is that of e-learning targeting a market of 150 000 to 200 000 tertiary students, which could be worth between $90-million to $120-million.

However, the nascent ecosystem still needs support, as Abidjan hosts less than 25 edtech startups and none have been able to raise more than $1-million, it said.

Only two startups raised seed funding

The report found that half of the country’s edtech startups have raised no funding at all despite having an average age of 30 months. A further five have raised grants ranging from $1000 to $22 000.

Grants are currently the most frequent source of funding. No angel investment was cited by the edtech companies the report’s authors spoke to.

Only two startups have raised seed capital, with one accounting for 60% of the total $184 600 funding raised so far by edtech companies there.

Grant funding too small

Four companies are looking for grant funding, with an average amount of $17 000, which Seedstars said in the report is reasonable given the grants already raised by peers.

However, it said the amount of grant funding sought by the startups provides a very small runway (estimated average of four months) and is insufficient to grow these companies.

A further four startups are seeking angel funding averaging $72 000.

Of the $1.2-million being sought by edtech companies in Ivory Coast, 72% of the funding required is sought from seed-stage investors, with the largest amount required being $500 000.

Active, potential investors

The report also lists the various active (including Seedstars) as well as potential investors in the edtech sector in Ivory Coast (see the above infographic from the report).

In April Seedstars CEO and co-founder Alisée de Tonnac told Ventureburn that since its inception in 2013, Seedstars had invested in ticket sizes of between $50 000 and $500 000 in 40 companies so far (see this story).

Four of these startups were venture built by the organisation in Ivory Coast that focuses on edtech.

Seedstars has also prototyped two other companies — one of which, a marketplace for tutors — didn’t work out, De Tonnac said in April.


View the full startup ecosystem map here.

Angel investors, initiatives needed

The report makes several recommendations, including the need for Ivory Coast to appear in more investors’ portfolios and having more regional tech investors active in the country.

“A range of initiatives could be tried such as simple investor delegation trips or investor forums all the way up to tax incentives, or a blended finance matching programme,” say the report’s authors.

Furthermore, the report says Ivory Coast needs to develop local angel investor network with government support and that those in the edtech sector should build relationships with edtech focused venture capital (VC) funds.

TRECC investment manager Lise Birikundavyi said the report has helped provide a clear picture of the journey of an Edtech entrepreneur.

The report also addresses the multiple challenges faced by Ivoirian Edtech entrepreneurs, from the cost of talents, the lack of access to network, market maturity, fundraising know-how and funding availability.

Said Seedstars academy manager Fanny Dauchez: “Edtech is nascent in Côte d’Ivoire. Having an accurate understanding of the sector, helps us to provide the entrepreneurs with the most efficient support and to underline the opportunities in a market where Seedstars has already built three startups.”

Read more: Seedstars announces $100m fund to invest in African tech startups [Updated]

Disclosure: Ventureburn is a Seedstars media partner. 

Featured image: Chickenonline via Pixabay

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