Launched in Lagos Nigeria in June 2013, PrepClass ensures that students writing university entrance examinations have access to a plethora of past question material and other educational resources they need to pass exams.
The startup has a robust algorithm that determines the strengths and weaknesses of user students so to help them study more efficiently and effectively.
The founders, Obanor Chukwuweam, an Ex Rocket Internet staff who has worked for Jumia and Jovago and his friend Ogunlana Olumide, also an Ex-Jumia and StartUp Partners Africa staff identified an opportunity in the education space as a result of the Federal Government’s resolve to transition national exams from being paper based to being computer based tests. They also noticed that there is currently no big education company that is supported by technology has been built in Nigeria.
“We believe the education space is in dire need of disruption so we set out to basically do something awesome that could have real social value and impact a lot of people,” Chukwuwezam Obanor told TechMoran.
The firm ran its first pilot between January and May during the Jamb examination and has now prepared over 2000 students for tests and examinations and currently operate a subscription model so that students who register an account have access to a limited amount of content for free. However to access all the resources on its database, plethora of questions and very detailed answers the student is required to pay for a premium account.
According to Obanor, PrepClass is very easy to use. Firstly, a student visits PrepClass.com.ng. Clicks on “Login” (if they already have an account) or sign up if they don’t free of charge p to Prepclass is free and all you have to do is put in your personal details and let us know the subjects you are interested in preparing for.
Once a user has registered their account and logged in. They have access to 10 free questions on the platform. To get full access to the platform and all resources a student is required to pay N1000 for 3 months.
“We have had a variety of challenges,” says Obanor. “Quite a lot of them really but that’s what has made the journey so exciting for us and rewarding in terms of experience. If we were to mention our biggest challenge, it would most likely be the strong offline consumption habit of Nigerians and students approach to studying.
One time PrepClass asked 25 random internet cyber café partners whether they would prefer to access our product online or have an offline version with less features. Out of 25, 24 cyber café owners said they would rather have an offline version of the product. Sometimes students also bought access pins but ended up not using them. Generally, PrepClass realized how difficult it was to influence students’ behaviours without having some control on them either as a parent or tutor.
PrepClass is not operating in a vacuum. They have both online and offline competition. Players such as Gidimo, passjamb, passnownow, efiko and quite a few others form the online competition. Though they do not have any significant market share, they still have users. Obanor says most of the market still consumes offline resources and so the major competition comes from book publishers and other vendors of offline resources.
“Our unique selling point is that we help students identify their strengths and their weaknesses and this is very important especially for students that are writing exams and need to improve their performance quickly. We also provide very detailed answers to questions and we allow students choose various topics they would like to focus on,” says Obanor.
The bootstrapping firm has won some competitions in Nigeria and are also working with several firms in the country to help them take their content to more classrooms. PrepClass has also gone through several levels of iterations; and has experimented with many concepts and strategies to avoid mistakes. Asides Prepclass, the team also build Myshopper – a mobile application that allows users to buy grocery items.
The team is incredibly happy to be part finalists in the DEMO Africa 2014.
“It feels incredibly awesome,” says Obanor. “Demo Africa is by far the biggest launch event on the African continent and it is a true honour to be among the 40. After DEMO Africa, we intend to expand our operations, of course we hope something phenomenal happens during or as a result of Demo Africa that causes us to expedite the plans we have already mapped out. Otherwise we will stay on course with our targets and projections for what the next 3 – 6 months.”