Willem Kitshoff, CEO of the EdTech company d6 Group, today announced that the cloud-based management platform for schools has received a capital injection from Knife Capital, Hlayisani Capital and NuState Ventures. d6 is currently the most widely used cloud-based school communication and management platform in South Africa and the investment will be used primarily for international expansion and to further product enhancements.
“We are extremely excited about our new investors because of their proven track record and ability to support tech businesses to scale internationally,” said Kitshoff. “We have a strong market footprint and technology foundation and with this new strategic investment support, we are now able to pursue our local, as well as international growth aspirations.”
In 2010, global investment in the EdTech sector was around US$500 million. Due in part to the pandemic, the sector boomed in the first half of 2021. US$10 billion of EdTech funding has been raised in 568 rounds, with experts projecting that US$150 billion will be invested in the next decade (2020-2029).
State of SA School Affairs
Today, schools must administer, curate and manage hundreds of learners in different grades, complex curriculum administration, and management teams that are tasked with large annual budgets and debtors’ management. Day-to-day administration requirements include managing all academic related matters, scheduling and managing extra-mural activities, maintaining facilities and equipment, and instilling motivation, discipline and smooth functioning of the school. All this while executing on accounting, employee payroll, disciplinary procedures, leave, performance appraisals and the all-important communication with parents, neighbouring businesses as well as the broader community.
According to Kitshoff, d6 already provides South African developed innovative technology solutions, consisting of a comprehensive communication and payment facilitation solution between a school, parents and learners, as well as a fully integrated cloud-based school administration, curriculum and finance system to more than 2 800 schools at home and abroad.
“The d6 mobile application enables around one million parents to stay up to date with school related matters. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach,” adds Kitshoff.
“The chat apps typically used within friendship groups don’t provide for the sophistication and security required for a school environment.”
A school is a complex organisation and a well-managed school is the foundation for effective, quality learning. Together with successful management, communication with parents and their regular involvement is critical for the success of the school. The d6 solutions support the schools’ management team by improving organisational processes, significantly reducing the burden of administration while providing community engagement solutions that enable effective communication with parents. “An effective school and better connected parents will improve overall community wellbeing, but more importantly, ensure well educated learners.” says Kitshoff.
The investment will see the Kitshoff family retaining a meaningful stake in d6, while Knife, Hlayisani, and NuState combined will be the majority shareholders.
“Alignment of shareholder interest behind a motivated entrepreneurial team is a critical strategic building block for creating value and Knife Capital is delighted to partner with these credible investors. We liked that d6 wasn’t dependent on the investment from a cash flow runway perspective, but the funds will enable them to scale more rapidly. This is a high-growth business with an amazing product, recurring revenue and a huge addressable market,” says Keet van Zyl, the co-founder of Knife Capital.
“We were also impressed by the team culture and work ethic. The Kitshoffs and the broader d6 team embody humility, professionalism and a fierce passion for improving education through innovation and technological enablement,” van Zyl says. “The d6 solution simplifies managerial complexity which is pivotal for improving education, with the return on investment delivered while improving lives.”
Brett Commaille, a partner at Hlayisani Capital says: “In South Africa, our expenditure per capita on education is far higher than that of similar countries, yet we have some of the worst education outcomes. We need funding to be directed wisely. Part of the solution is to invest in platforms and technology that meaningfully improves the educational ecosystem to produce quality education for our learners.”
“The d6 team’s in-depth understanding of what schools need and the challenges they face, combined with an exceptional track record in delivering solutions to education organisations, make this a formidable company. We believe d6, through thought leading insights and providing market relevant solutions, will propel schools, and the EdTech market, forward,” Commaille says.