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Edtech startup Sayna raises US$638k in seed round to expand geographically

MADAGASCAR – Sayna, a Madagascar-based edtech and crowdsourcing platform, has raised US$638,000 in its first seed round of funding from international venture capital firms including Launch Africa Ventures, Orange Ventures, and the MAIC Investors Club.

This funding will enable the Malagasy startup to grow into other geographies, transforming it into a global enterprise.

“This funding will enable us to complete the development of our two products: Sayna Academy, a mobile video game, and Sayna Work, a work platform.

“We will be able to recruit key personnel at the operational management level, as well as in various departments, most notably research and development,” CEO Matina Razafimahefa said, noting that the time has come to welcome new communities of microtaskers (developers who perform paid computer microtasks) in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Tunisia.

Since its inception, the firm has gained significant traction. Orange Madagascar, Axian, Société Générale, the World Bank, and Access Bank are among the more than 60 clients served by Sayna.

To date, over 450 learners have been trained or are in the process of being trained. Approximately 90% of the startup’s alumni have secured employment.

“We have sold over 15,000 computer micro-tasks,” says Matina Razafimahefa, who is particularly thrilled that Sayna has experienced 172 percent growth in a year.

“We’re pleased about Sayna’s gamified approach to education: offering an affordable training program that breaks down web development abilities into sequenced learning goals through videos, games, quizzes, and practical projects,” Zach George, Managing Partner of Launch Africa Ventures, said.

“With a focus on soft skills development, mentorship, and a peer-to-peer learning environment, Sayna has the potential to become a direct conduit for projects, experience, and income for young people throughout the African continent.”

Founded in 2018 by Matina Razafimahefa, Sayna is an internet platform for employment and education and employs approximately forty employees in France, Madagascar, and, most recently, the Ivory Coast.

“We have a clear vision based on millions of Africans learning through new technology. The startup’s DNA is centered on meeting market needs with training that is both technical and enjoyable, at a price point that is competitive,” Adam Haciane, the startup’s operations director, said.

“After three years of “Test and Learn,” we were able to develop a workable model, avoiding the mistake of the Income Share Agreement — which frequently causes reimbursement issues — by using a subscription system of €9.90 per month to pay the training.

“Simultaneously, microtasking generates revenue streams that can be used to pay the learner’s computer equipment or reinvested in a professional endeavor.”

Haciane stated that the startup would be growing into other markets such as Algeria, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire, and that it is now in talks with other African countries about replicating its model on the continent.

Furthermore, the company plans to offer its services in rural and suburban areas of France.

Sayna, which has added Bernard Ramanantsoa, a former Managing Director of the HEC Paris Group and a member of Club MAIC, to its Strategic Committee, hopes to gather over 3,000 active “microtaskers” and train 12,000 learners on its mobile game by 2024, while performing over 257,000 marketed IT microtasks.

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