Launched in 2013, the Durban-based Syafunda partners with local content developers and publishers to establish digital libraries in areas where connectivity is limited or non-existent. These digital libraries come with five terabytes of pre-loaded content and double up as Wi-Fi hotspots so individuals in the vicinity with a mobile device can access the material.
The startup says it has seen an increase in demand during the COVID-19 crisis, and has now secured ZAR2.5 million (US$140,000) in funding from SME-enabler Edge Growth to help it meet this demand.
Founder Zakheni Ngubo said he grew up in townships where there was a shortage of textbooks and mathematics and science teachers.
“I wanted to solve those challenges and provide digital access for high school and post-high school students. Syafunda is positioned to reach pupils in under-serviced communities throughout South Africa,” he said.
Edge Growth’s lead dealmaker Vuyiswa Nzimande said the partnership with Syafunda would over the next five years make an impact that goes far beyond job creation.
“The strength of the operations and development teams shows in the quality of the innovation in the free-to-access Syafunda Digital Library. Ultimately, we believe that learners will improve the likelihood of entry into higher learning institutions and training/tertiary institutions,” she said.