Investment into Africa’s edtech sector grew in 2021. Due to the pandemic, there was a huge shift in online learning, accelerated due to a reduction in face-to-face interaction. This acceleration in digital services in 2020, allowed the edtech industry to increase its reach, improve its services, and change the way Africa thinks about learning
One of the companies leading this charge is Growd, a company that works with parents of children below the age of 14, to find, design and match them to co-curricular activities such as music, sports, and arts that improve their child’s academic performance, mental health, physical and social development. Growd uses a child’s developmental milestones, location, interests and goals together with powerful machine learning algorithms to enable them to design their own learning experiences. This allows them to continue learning outside the classroom at their own pace.
Embedded in the mobile application, is a hub composed of subject matter experts and a thriving parent community. This hub enables parents to obtain vetted crowd-sourced answers to problems affecting their children's development.
Building better experiences for African children
Growd’s co-founder and CEO, Angie Madara is a digital product expert with over 16 years of experience within the fintech, agtech, and healthtech sectors. She has been involved in the design, testing and roll-out of a varied number of digital products across Africa and South-East Asia, and has worked with governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators and non-governmental organisations to develop innovative products, regulatory frameworks, go-to-market strategies and alternative delivery channels for digital financial services and digital information services including M-PESA which is world-renowned for its innovative and financial inclusion projects.
After Madara had her own children, she searched for different ways to build better experiences for them. She soon noticed changes in the way they understood new concepts, communicated, and interacted with others after they took part in different play activities. When it was time for her eldest child to develop her reading skills, she researched and found that her reading abilities could be enhanced by participating in various play activities including playing an instrument, so she made a long list of them. This was the seed that birthed the company, Growd.
Before starting Growd, Madara collaborated with some academic experts in different learning institutions including Aberdeen University and came up with a basic concept for the product. She then used her 10+ years of experience in product development and technology to come up with the first prototype, which she then piloted on a few users. Using their web and android apps, the company uses machine learning to match children with the most appropriate sets of activities, while moderating the conversations on its hub of 15k plus users.
Through networking with other edtech startups across the continent, Growd has built a strong community of edtech start-ups. Collaboration amongst this community is set to change how millions of children in Africa learn.
Connect with Angie Madara on LinkedIn here.