Sam Gichuru narrates how low finances inspired him to start online school Kidato

Sam Gichuru
Sam Gichuru. [Photo: Techgist]

A few weeks back, Sam Gichuru the brains behind Kidato – an ed-tech startup – landed Ksh151 million funding for the new e-learning platform.

The idea was conceived in June last year at a time he faced a lot of financial difficulties and had just Ksh1,500 to his name.

Then, Kidato came to his mind and everything changed as he set out to sell his dream of having an alternative means of education.

Gichuru told a local daily in an exclusive interview that though he had received $10 million from Jack Ma for his projects, most of the money went to administrative costs leaving little for project execution.

As a result, he took a pay cut and only earned a total of Ksh150,000 in two years. He says he most survived on savings which quickly ran out in 2019 and then, Covid-19 hit hard in March.

It left him broke but gave him the Kidato idea which he worked on and pitched ideas to investors.

Before then, he had withdrawn his three sons from school because he could not afford to pay their fee and he resulted in homeschooling. They came up with great ideas which helped him build his Kidato platform.

In March, Kidato was incorporated into Silicon Valley after being accepted by Y Combinator. This milestone came with $125,000 (Ksh13 million) seed funding for Kidato by Y Combinator Winter 2021 batch.

The project later got Ksh151 million funding for it to spread its wings far and beyond after its launch in September 2020.

The new investors on board include: Learn Start Capital, Launch Africa Ventures Fund, Graph Ventures, Century Oak Capital, and the Ivy League University Endowment Fund, among other notable angel investors.”

Kidato has a low student to teacher ratio; one teacher serves only five students in Kidato’s online classrooms.

Kidato currently hosts more than 700 registered students from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, UK, USA, UAE, Canada, and Switzerland.
A lesson costs Ksh540 which is inclusive of techniques like coding, art, debate and chess.