Left to right: Melvyn Lubega and Andrew Barnes. Picture: Supplied
Left to right: Melvyn Lubega and Andrew Barnes. Picture: Supplied

SA's edtech start-up Go1 puts Africa on the map

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - Go1, one of the world’s largest corporate education content hubs for on-demand training and resources, has put South Africa and Africa on the map after it recently announced a $200 million (nearly R3 billion) Series D round, valuing the company at more than $1bn.

The online learning platform is co-founded by South African Melvyn Lubega. Lubega and Andrew Barnes joined forces with their friends from high school and will be using this new investment to expand its edtech product offerings and grow its physical presence globally.

Approximately 3.5 million learners and 1 600 customer organisations worldwide use this platform.

This Series D funding round was led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, alongside AirTree Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Larsen Ventures, TEN13 and Tiger Global.

Lubega is proud of the company achieving unicorn status.

“It’s extremely humbling to reflect on the journey we've been on as a team. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come, but our North Star has remained the same, which is that we exist to unlock positive potential in people through a love for learning. I think that ultimately, this validates the size of the problem we’re trying to solve and the size of the opportunity to address that problem.”

In 2015, Go1 set out to become a learning and professional development resource for organisations and a critical distribution partner for content providers.

Go1 is powered by AI and machine learning, providing an intuitive experience. World- leading education providers such as EdX, Coursera, Skillsoft and Harvard form part of Go1’s subscription.

South Africa’s new unicorn will focus on scaling up its team and partnerships with new platform content and resources. Go1 foresees additional expansion opportunities in the US and Europe through its growing integration with Microsoft Teams, Workday and SAP, amongst others. It is also looking to serve South African corporates and public sector.

Lubega emphasised the importance of backing African entrepreneurs.

“Across the continent over the last few years there’s been greater interest and greater valuations being placed on businesses either founded by African entrepreneurs or being built on the continent. That’s part of the groundswell that highlights how backing African entrepreneurs as an investor and attracting capital to the ecosystem is actually a compelling value proposition. And, at the same time, it tells African entrepreneurs that they can achieve the impact they want to have on the world, regardless of their starting point,” said Lubega.

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