The Reason An Irish Edtech Picked Cape Town For Expansion Could Be More Than Just Location

By  |  December 2, 2019

Shaw Academy, an Irish educational company has set up a new shop in Cape Town as part of its global expansion. The city is the edtech’s first African venture and another record in the line of Irish companies seeing interest in South Africa. 

While the company attributes the decision to launch in Cape Town to the nature of it’s business, the e-learning landscape of South Africa could as well have inspired the development. For long, the market has been expected to witness and increased number of entrants, most of which will focus mainly on providing LMS services. 

On why it decided to foray into the South African e-learning sector, Shaw Academy CEO, James Egan, said: “Strategically and operationally, South Africa was a simple decision for us to make. Our global footprint ensures student support can be favorably operated in this market and this is reflective by the high-performing teams we already have in place”. 

Furthermore, Egan said the decision was enhanced by the caliber of educational professionals the edtech has met and now has in its employ. “Cape Town’s location offers favourable time zones for the many markets we have a presence in and would allow our student support team that is now located in Cape Town to assist thousands of our students.”

Be as that may, the e-learning industry of the Southern African country is projected to cross USD 490 Mn by the end of 2023. There are u to 20 players going head to head for a share of this grapevine – Injinni, Digemy, Obami, Praekelt and Fast, among others.

According to a 2019 Ken Research report, the sector revenue for content services will increase at a CAGR of 10.9 percent from 2018 to 2023. The same report also predicts that the e-learning revenue for technology will increase at a CAGR of 14.9 percent. During the same period.

As a result of the growing demand for online courses, there will be an increase in the adoption of Learning Management Systems (LMS) for customers across various sectors. The report says that the share of LMS will reach more than 55.0 percent by 2023. 

Shaw, which has an office in Bangalore, India and is headquartered in Dublin, develops online educational courses focused on helping people build practical skills. In April this year, the firm secured over USD 7 Mn from a consortium of  media, technology and education investors.

With offices in Bangalore, India and now Cape Town, the Dublin-headquartered organisation develops online educational courses focused on building practical skills. The startup’s platform allows users to ask questions and get answers on webinars. They also get to interact in real-time with other users. The firm acquires over 300 000 new users globally every month. 

Despite the fact that Africa’s edtech does not have as many startups and venture consideration as fintech, there is a number of players. In September, Cape Town-based Snapplify lifted off for the world with USD 2 Mn in funding, part of which came from South Africa’s Knife Capital. Over at Nigeria, Jos-based edtech startup uLesson – another of Sim Sagaya’s ventures – has prepared USD 3.1 Mn for its launch in 2020. 

John White, chief strategy officer with Shaw Academy, says: “South Africa is an important market to Shaw Academy, with close to one million registered users. The impact of the Cape Town office and Shaw Academy’s continued growth globally will see us acquire close to nine million students globally by the close of 2019”. 

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