Nigerian Edtech platform providing curriculum to improve/upskill non-technical people with technical and soft skills while partnering with higher institutions to provide diploma certificates, AltSchool, has announced it raised $1 million in pre-seed funding to scale its efforts.
The round featured Nigerian entertainer, Folarin Falana (Falz); Flutterwave Founder, Olugbenga GB Agboola; Paystack Founder Shola Akinlade; Nigerian musician and rapper, Akitoye Balogun (Ajebutter); Pledges, Nestcoin, and ODBA VC, as investors.
Adewale Yusuf, Akintunde Sultan and Opeyemi Awoyemi launched AltSchool in October 2021 to provide an education that equips students with skills and a certificate, all within a year. This led to a partnership with the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University. Under this partnership, graduates of the programme get a diploma certificate at the end. To achieve this, AltSchool tutors participants for nine months, followed by a three-month internship.
With statistics showing that 60% of the 200 Million are under-25, with a jobless rate of nearly 34% and an illiteracy rate of 35%, many of these young Nigerians are both uneducated and jobless. AltSchool aims to helps users acquire valuable tech skills, it also ensures they get tech jobs once they complete their schooling and bag their certificates.
Since the learning will be mainly virtual, it is open to everyone in countries around Africa. Prospective students can start by signing up on the platform. They, however, must be at least 16 years old and must have completed their secondary school education or its equivalent. No prior tech knowledge is required. To apply, candidates only need to pay an application fee of $20 (roughly N10,000). They will receive an email containing home study kits.
“You might need a BSc if you want to be a doctor or nurse and some of these other skills. But when it comes to being a software engineer or digital skills, you really don’t,” said the CEO.
“We need to find a shortcut for people, whereby they will be able to make money and provide for their family and add value to the economy. That’s one of the reasons we launched AltSchool because if a lot of people can have marketable skills, then I think we can solve a massive problem in the market.”
AltSchool employs an income-sharing agreement (ISA), so when students complete the program and get hired, they’re expected to pay $500, which can be paid in full or installments — $50 over 10 months or $100 over five months.
Yusuf said that AltSchool might do away with the ISA model for the next batch. Instead, the company may use a subscription model, where students pay between $20-$50 monthly for the duration of their program.
So far, more than 8,000 people have applied (the application fee is ₦10,000, almost ~$20) to participate in AltSchool’s software engineering program, which starts in April. These applications came from 19 countries (including 14 African countries) and Yusuf said the company received the most entries from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Botswana.
AltSchool plans to use the investment to build its content and curriculum, technology infrastructure and community concept, where students will meet offline to network and learn together.