South Africa’s EdTech Startup SkillUp Tutors Secures Investment From Knife Capital

By  |  April 23, 2018

Cape Town-based startup SkillUp Tutors, an online education marketplace, has secured Series A funding round from Knife Capital. The investment size remains undisclosed in the press release. The EdTech startup connects parents and students to skilled and vetted tutors based on grades, subject, location, and budget.  

Launched in 2016, SkillUp has been angel-funded to date and will utilize the funding for international expansion alongside a focus on user acquisition and leveraging partnerships with content providers. The startup aims to grow its footprint in South Africa with in-person lessons, workshops and online lessons. Through inbound interest from strategic partners, SkillUp is looking at expansion into the UK, other European markets and South-East Asia.

The young startup operates across the country and is available on both iOS and Android app store. SkillUp claims to have seen significant traction through junior, high school and university students as well as adult learners.

Matthew Henshall

“The private tutoring industry is highly fragmented and inefficient. We are making tutoring more affordable by radically reducing fees and offering a more transparent service while ensuring the highest quality and safety,” says Matthew Henshall, CEO and Co-Founder of SkillUp.

It is believed that online learning and tutoring are high-growth market segments both locally and internationally. As reported, the global online education market is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 10.26%  between 2018 to 2023 to reach a total market size of USD 286.62 billion by 2023, increasing from USD 159.52 billion in 2017.

“In a conversation with WeeTracker, Matthew explained, “In South Africa, the biggest online education company holds a market share of 5%, it is relatively an unorganized sector so, you can gauge the market size here.” He also added, he believes that “education is relative” and he did recognize the importance of ”human in education.” Skillup ensures that they integrate these fundamental understanding in their product.

SkillUp offers an enticing value proposition as an investment opportunity for Knife Capital. “Apart from its highly scalable business model and potential exit opportunities down the line, this deal integrates the interests of different stakeholders for the greater good,” says Keet van Zyl, Investment Partner at Knife Capital.

Knife capital was recently in the news for its speculated multi-million dollar funding in Cape Town’s AI startup DataProphet. The equity investment firm which invests in post-revenue stage companies that require financing for growth/ expansion has picked up Skillup Tutors as its second investment for this year.

The concept of ‘conscious capitalism’ underpins some of our core values at Knife, and SkillUp leverages technology elements to enhance real-world engagement in the education space – making a meaningful positive impact on people’s lives, ” added Keet.

The funding fervor in the EdTech sector is catching up globally. Q1 this year in India has witnessed USD 28 Mn of equity investment and a majority stake acquisition worth USD 180 Mn. One of the most renowned education startups, Byju’s, has entered the Unicorn club recently after seven years of successful operations.

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