Interviews Series: Digitizing Nigeria’s School Operations Using Edves.

Discover how Edves transforms Nigerian education with innovative Educational Technology solutions by Dimeji Falana and team.
Dimeji Falana, Edves
Dimeji Falana, Edves
Discover how Edves transforms Nigerian education with innovative Educational Technology solutions by Dimeji Falana and team.

In a recent interview with Dimeji Falana of Edves, a leading EdTech company in Nigeria, we delve into their innovative approach to digitizing school operations and transforming the educational landscape in Africa’s most populous country.

1. Where are you from, and what’s it like growing up there?

I am from Osun State, Nigeria, and currently based in Lagos. I am one of four children. I grew up in a community where every family looked out for one another. For instance, if a child missed school on a particular day, the community took it upon themselves to ensure that the child attended.

2. What were you doing before founding Edves?

I studied Computer Science at the University of Ilorin. After graduating, I undertook a 3-month internship in Lagos, where I learned how to develop websites. That experience marked my initial entry into the tech industry.

3. What does Edves do?

Edves digitizes school operations for both private and public institutions, spanning from Kindergarten through Grade 12. In private schools, we streamline student enrollment and billing processes for parents. In public schools, our focus is on enrollment management, attendance tracking, and facilitating content sharing between teachers and students to enhance blended learning experiences. Administrators also utilize the platform to engage parents and provide them with real-time updates on their child’s academic progress.

4. What’s the size of the Edves team?

We have 45 team members, including backend and DevOps engineers, product designers, sales and marketing professionals, customer success representatives, and the accounts team.


5. Have you raised funding or bootstrapped?

We bootstrapped for several years. In 2011, we started a company called IT Vessel, which developed software for the banking and finance industry. Edves was one of the products under the IT Vessel portfolio. As Edves began gaining traction in the market, we joined an accelerator program in Lagos after about 12 months. With over 60 schools using our platform, we decided to shut down IT Vessel and incorporate Edves as its own entity.

In 2017, we enrolled in several accelerator programs and achieved third place in Seedstars. The following year, we won the global Seedstars prize in Lausanne, Switzerland, which included a $50K grant. This success facilitated discussions with investors, leading to a $120K pre-seed round in Q3 of 2018. Later that year, we closed a seed round of $575K.

6. What’s your business model?

We offer various annual subscription packages that are priced per student. On average, our pricing is $9 per student per year.

7. Which countries are you operating in?

We currently operate in Nigeria, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. We plan to expand into at least two additional markets by the end of 2021.

8. What do you think the biggest challenge is that African startups currently face?

The biggest challenge is acquiring the knowledge to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as quickly as possible. Many startups raise significant funding rounds without having successfully defined their MVP. Once you establish your MVP, you gain clarity on the scope of the problem and, crucially, how much customers are willing to pay to solve it.

9. What excites me most about Africa’s startup ecosystem?

There are numerous untapped product opportunities here on the continent, making the market potential immense. In recent years, a wave of startups has demonstrated that African entrepreneurs can effectively address local challenges. This success attracts increased investment to the continent, fostering a rapidly expanding startup ecosystem. This growth promises to benefit all stakeholders involved.

10. Advice to up-and-coming African entrepreneurs?

Focus beyond fundraising. Look inward and determine if you can effectively serve a specific market with a solution to a recognized problem. Once you have such a solution, consider how you can scale it effectively.

Discover Edves, revolutionizing education across Nigeria, Ghana, and Zimbabwe with innovative EdTech solutions. Streamline school operations, enhance learning experiences, and empower educators with our user-friendly platform. Join us in transforming education for a brighter future. Visit our website today to learn more and get started!

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