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EdTech Zambia

iSchool Africa - Funded

iSchool Africa is transforming both learning and teaching in Africa through an interactive tablet-based e-learning system.

460,000 $ 100%
Capital invested
$ 460,000 Capital required
6.00 % Interest rate
12 months Term
+15,000 pupils Targeted Social Impact

iSchool Africa

Africa is a growing continent. Its populations are expanding. Many of its economies are now growing at unprecedented levels. However, the majority of the Continent’s people don’t experience any benefit and remain in subsistence lifestyles, largely because of a lack of good education.
With very young populations (typically as much as 50% may be under the age of 16), small tax bases, too few trained teachers, and a lack of infrastructure and resources, children face large class sizes with traditional rote / memorised learning methods being the standard way of teaching.

iSchool seeks to change this by  introducing modern Interactive enquiry-based learning and all the resources needed by teachers and students on a pre-loaded tablet. It can be powered from solar and works as well in deep rural country schools as it does in good schools in the capital city.
Materials in English and eight local languages give children a new chance: to become problem solvers and change their life circumstances.
iSchool aims to be the first step on the road out of poverty.



The Problem

Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Around 75% of the population lived on less than US$1.25 a day (Purchasing Power Parity) in 2010, according to the latest data from The World Bank. Its population of 15 million is one of the most youthful in Africa, with 46% of the population aged 0 to 14 years as of 2014. The education budget cannot cope with the demands placed on it. There is a chronic shortage of trained teachers and textbooks, inadequate infrastructure, large classes, high absenteeism and drop-out rates. Children in the poorest, and most vulnerable communities, are less likely to attend primary school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

The Solution

iSchool was established in Zambia in 2010. It addresses the challenge of educating the country’s growing young population. It does this by moving away from conventional rote learning methods towards a modern interactive enquiry-based learning system, enabling children to become problem-solvers and life-long learners. iSchool helps children develop the skills essential for the 21st century.
Over the last 5 years, iSchool has fully digitised the entire Zambian primary school curriculum (in English as well as all main 8 local languages) and created a unique blended-learning system with over 5,000 detailed and interactive lessons (including corresponding lesson plans for teachers) which can be loaded onto robust, low-cost computer tablets. c.US$8.5million has been invested since 2010 developing the system and software, and it was rolled out country-wide in Zambia in December 2013, following a number of successful trials. iSchool plans to expand into other African countries, revolutionizing the way education is completed across the continent.

The Opportunity

Even some of the poorest people are prepared to pay towards their children’s education. However, they can only do so if permitted to make small, regular payments. Independent research by UNICEF has verified the high impact for iSchool products in schools. However, a major constraint to enabling this impact is that a large number of schools, particularly those in the most disadvantaged areas, cannot afford an up-front payment.
A demand for a subscription method has already been validated in schools. iSchool is now seeking circa US$460,000 to bulk buy tablets from a Chinese manufacturer and AEFL is willing to lend this money through a 12-month stock loan at 6% p.a. interest rate.

Loss Protection Arrangements on the Loan Principle Amount

A loss-mitigating insurance policy has been arranged on this investment opportunity in iSchool. Baybridge, a major investor in iSchool, who has so far contributed US$8 million to the business is contractually taking any loss up to 50% on the principle, with money in an escrow account. The Baybridge arrangement has no cost to iSchool.


Management Team and Board of Advisors

Simon Graffy

International Business Development

Investment Terms

iSchool: Stock Loan
Size: Up to US$1 million
Risk Mitigation: Risks covered contractually Baybridge Trust are: FX risk, school default risk, political risks such as UN embargo, terrorism etc.

Use of proceeds: Lending (12 months term) to schools to purchase tablets
Impact: c.15,000 pupils
SPV: Guernsey
Governance: 3 Praxis Trustees
Term: Revolving (1 year, extandable)
Interest rates: 6% p.a. paid to investors
Date: Q2 2016
Arrangement Fees: 2% of funds raised, payable to Audaces Impact Ltd. by iSchool

Investment Model

Understanding The Risks

Capital & Interest Risk: Your capital and interest income are at risk and while there are arrangements in place with counterparties to mitigate capital losses, you may not get the interest and/or the amount invested back.
Liquidity Risk: This is an illiquid non-tradeable investment. You should not invest if you are likely to require the capital in the short- to medium- term. Social and Political Risk: Investors must understand the potential risk related to the lack of continuity in political and social systems and macro-economic policies, inherent to the region.
Currency Risk: Your investment will be in US$ and as such you may be exposed to potential losses from fluctuating exchange rate

Client Suitability: This investment is only suitable for high-net-worth and sophisticated investors who understand the risks, do not require access to their capital, and can afford total loss. . It is not an offer to invest in Audaces Education Finance Ltd. or the underlying business iSchool. Investment can only be made on the basis of the full Due Diligence Report and examination of the risk factors contained therein. We recommend you seek advice from an independent financial advisor authorised under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 who specializes in investments of this type before investing in this product.

Social Impact

With a potential for significant social impact; iSchool offers a low carbon footprint and efficient learning system at a very competitive cost per month per pupil. During the pre-launch two-year trials, students using iSchool outperformed conventional learning in multiple areas with reported improvement in literacy by 45.3% and numeracy by 101.3%; critical thinking by 62.7% and problem solving by 56.3%, versus mirroring studies in schools not using the iSchool product. Furthermore, iSchool has established mechanisms to also reach poor kids through strategic parternships.

Our Take

The Importance of Financing the iSchool Credit Facility for Schools

1. Rationale
2. The Problem
3. iSchool Solution
4. Product Overview

4.1 Product educational principles
4.2 Product range
4.3 Route to market

5. Current Stage of Development

5.1 Summary of key achievements
5.2 iSchool Zambia commercial round-up to date

6. 2015 Outlook – Principles and Focus

6.1 Partnerships
6.2 Transitioning to a service provider model

7. Impact Investment Criteria

7.1 Potential for significant social impact
7.2 Potential for financial sustainability
7.3 Potential to achieve scale

8. Market Analysis

8.1 The case for scaling education in Africa
8.2 Alternative uses of technology on the education market
8.3 First mover in Zambia

9. The Business

9.1. iSchool sales channels
9.2. Value chain
9.3  Organisational structure
9.4. Technology backbone
9.5. Monitoring & evaluation (M&E)
9.6. iSchool in action
9.7. Business risk factors
9.8. Understanding investment risks
9.9. Proposed risk mitigations

10. Management Team
11. Board of Advisors

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Classroom Observation report June


Midterm evaluation report June