Sayna, a Madagascar-based EdTech and crowdsourcing platform, has raised 600,000 euros (US$638K) in its first seed round of funding from international venture capital firms including Launch Africa Ventures, Orange Ventures, and the MAIC Investors Club.
The latest funding will enable the startup to grow into other geographies, transforming it into a global enterprise. Sayna also plans to offer its services in rural and suburban areas of France.
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. The company aims to provide quality training in the African digital sector and offers professional opportunities to youths by bridging the gap between companies' growing demand on digital issues and digital talent supply.
Speaking about the capital raised, Founder and CEO of Sayna, Matina Razafimahefa, said:
"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.The time has come to welcome new communities of microtaskers (developers who perform paid computer microtasks) in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Tunisia.
Razafimahefa further added:
"We have sold over 15,000 computer micro-tasks, and Sayna has experienced 172 percent growth in a year."
Since its inception, Sayna has gained significant traction. Orange Madagascar, Axian, Société Générale, the World Bank, and Access Bank are among the more than 60 clients served by the company.
Zach George, Managing Partner of Launch Africa Ventures, said:
"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. 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."
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.
Talking about the platform, Operations Director of Sayna, Adam Haciane, said:
"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. 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 for 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 further 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.
Last year in April, a software engineering company, American Holberton announced a partnership with Sayna to provide high-quality and affordable tech education in the country.
According to Razafimahefa, the fundraising is not only “a critical step for Sayna’s international expansion,” but it is also “a strong symbol for Madagascar’s tech scene” and “a sign of hope for hundreds of thousands of young African talents who have yet to have the opportunity to professionalize and capitalize on the ongoing fourth industrial revolution.”
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.
In June 2021, Sayna had raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round from I&P Acceleration Technologies, a programme dedicated to African digital startups led by Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), and Miarakap, an impact investment firm, to help it grow.