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SA edutech start-up guns for global market

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123tutors founders Joseph Nyamariwata and Aaron Bornmann.
123tutors founders Joseph Nyamariwata and Aaron Bornmann.

As the edutech market balloons, two local entrepreneurs are gunning for a significant share with their 123tutors online tutoring platform.

Joseph Nyamariwata and Aaron Bornmann, co-founders of the online tutoring venture, say they are ready to play a major role in driving edutech with 123tutors, as the underlying fundamentals are compelling.

“We want to have a South African start-up going into the world, as opposed to the other way around. Through us growing and going global, we want to show other entrepreneurs that it’s possible,” says Nyamariwata, who is 123tutor chief marketing officer.

The edutech market is expected to reach $605.40 billion by 2027, according to a latest research report, which predicts an absolute growth of more than 130% during the forecast period.

Launched in 2017, 123tutors has a searchable database of more than 4 000 tutors at all of SA’s universities and also caters for high school and primary school learners, although university students make up around 80% of clients.

According to Nyamariwata, the company’s database of tutors and smart, proprietary algorithms, which automate processes such as quoting, invoicing and matching tutors to students, makes 123tutors stand out among its competitors.

The company has set its sights on expanding into the UK, the US and Canada.

“Fortunately our product is suitable for multiple education markets across the world. We are building more tech on top of our smart matching algorithm that has enabled us to expand nationally. The tech will help us streamline the process even more,” he says.

“From a legal perspective, we are working with the University of Pretoria's TuksNovation and Grindstone XL to finance and secure the necessary permits to operate internationally. And from a marketing perspective, we aim to leverage student influencers and strategic partnerships with trusted companies operating in the respective market.”

The edutech start-up says it is using scalable technology to revolutionise the tutoring industry.

Nyamariwata explains: “With the help of our smart matching technology and customer management system, we are able to search through a large database of tutors to produce a perfect match for students. In addition, we remove the administrative burden of searching for and vetting tutors, as parents and students fill in one simple form, pay and get their tutor.”

The 123tutors founders say locally it is also providing much-needed service through the platform. “There are many start-ups and companies catering for the primary and high school related subjects. That's an easy problem to tackle because many people can teach maths, accounting and many more.”

However, they add: “There are few companies that have been able to provide a solution for the university courses and even fewer for the non-academic skills.

“We are building our start-up to bridge that gap. 123tutors has already experienced great success offering university tutoring across the country and will be expanding to non-academic skills and recreational skills soon. These include coding lessons, trading lessons, driving lessons, swimming lessons and many more.”

123tutors has garnered awards for its platform, including being recently chosen as one of three winners (from 248 applications) featured in Hollard’s 2022 Big Ads for Small Business campaign.

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