Naspers, through Naspers Foundry, has invested R45 million ($2.9 million) into The Student Hub, an online learning platform to drive growth in South Africa’s technology sector.
With this investment, Naspers Foundry, Naspers’s R1.4 billion early-stage tech investment vehicle, marks its fourth deal, bringing the total investments to approximately R200 million since its launch in 2019.
According to Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South Africa CEO of Naspers, “Our investment in The Student Hub is an example of how digitalisation has the potential to address unequal access to education, create local opportunities, and enable increased participation towards a more inclusive economy.”
The Student Hub increases access to vocational education to large numbers of students whilst reducing the costs of delivery of education and training. The company helps overcome the constraints of limited physical infrastructure and related resources by partnering with government accredited Technical and Vocational Education and Training (“TVET”) colleges to help them deliver their courses online. The online platform also connects graduates with work opportunities related to their skills set.
In a statement, Hertzy Kabeya, Founder and CEO, The Student Hub said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Naspers given their deep international experience in the edtech sector. We are a technology company that believes that improving access to education to millions of students across South Africa is at the core of what we do. Linking graduates with the right economic opportunities that relates to their skills are what the economy needs right now.”
The Student Hub digitises TVET course content to present curricula in a personalised and learner-centric environment through a 100% online distance learning model, as well as through a blended learning model to students who attend classes in person at TVET campuses nationwide.
The platform provides tools for lecturers and tutors to track individual student performance and for heads of faculties to measure the productivity and performance of lecturers in real-time, resulting in a marked increase in pass rates. Its crowdfunding tools assist students in financing their studies and enable donors to follow the progress of their beneficiaries, while an integrated skills marketplace matches graduates to entry-level job placements.
In 2019, Naspers Foundry invested R30 million in online home cleaning services business, SweepSouth and R100 million in May this year, in agritech business Aerobotics, a subscription-based artificial intelligence company. In September, it invested in Food Supply Network, a B2B online marketplace that integrates food ordering systems across the food services industry.
Naspers Foundry, the group has so far invested ZAR 1.9 billion of its original pledge in its existing South Africa businesses Takealot, Mr D Food, Superbalist, Media24 and OLX.
Fabian Whate, Head of Naspers Foundry, said: “Over the last 18 months, Naspers Foundry has supported promising, best-in-class early stage tech businesses run by local entrepreneurs that have significant long-term potential and address societal needs. We are thrilled with our first edtech investment as Naspers Foundry, and we look forward to working with Hertzy and his team at The Student Hub. We continue to execute transactions against a robust pipeline of potential investment opportunities.”