Naspers Bets Big On Driving Societal Change With The Student Hub

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LOCAL EDTECH STARTUP GETS A KICKSTART TO GROW SOUTH AFRICA’S TECH SECTOR

  • The Student Hub enables TVET colleges to overcome physical infrastructure constraints. The  Student Hub is devoted to giving access to vocational education, and training to students who would otherwise lack the time or resources to pursue additional learning. 
  • Naspsers’ investment coincides with the South Africa Investment Conference 2020 of which Naspers is a leading partner. 
  • The Student hub aligns with Naspers’ goal to empower the youth, while encouraging young people to keep empowering themselves –  to create essential economic opportunities. 

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One of the largest technology investors in the world, Naspers, has announced a R45 million investment into The Student Hub. The investment is in alignment with Naspers’ vision  to increase the growth in South Africa’s technology sector. The Student Hub’s objective is to empower students, and get them ready for work in their chosen field. The Student Hub facilitates a holistic student-to-professional journey; from making courses accessible and affordable, to connecting graduates with internships and job opportunities in the industry they have chosen to pursue.

Hertzy Kabeya, the Founder and CEO of The Student Hub welcomed the massive partnership; “We are delighted to be partnering with Naspers, given their deep international experience in the edtech sector. We are a technology company that believes that improving access to education to millions of students across South Africa is at the core of what we do. Linking graduates with the right economic opportunities that relate to their skills is what we believe the economy needs right now.”

The Student Hub’s partnership with the international giant aims to empower previously disadvantaged students and prospective students of all ages, and create job opportunities for everyone from burgeoning Matriculants to all professionals, particularly in business and engineering, who would like to progress in their respective fields. By reducing the cost of delivery of vocational education and training, The Student Hub is fuelling societal and economic advancement, one online course at time. 

The investment is the latest of four deals from Naspers’ R1.4 billion early stage investment vehicle, Naspers Foundry. This brings the global internet group’s investment total to around R200 million, post launching in 2019.

Brandon Le Chat, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Student Hub, says; “This investment allows us to increase capacity to assist colleges nationally, by expanding on our current operations. We are investing in curriculum development  that will help TVET college courses evolve with industry requirements. The Student Hub already has one of the leading learning platforms in Africa but the investment helps us to further develop the system based on the unique needs of the sector”.

He continues that another one of the advantages of the learning platform is the wealth of data collected across TVETs nationally, allowing The Student Hub to improve not only the platform, but also the content. “What we can see is that we are able to pick up trends in what learners are challenged with. We can then give overall feedback to the colleges as well as the Department of Higher Education on effective ways to teach and create content.”

Bill Paladino, one of the Student Hub’s directors, and an original investor in the company said this of the momentous achievement; “It’s businesses like this that will improve trade/vocational education and reduce youth unemployment in the developing world. Three cheers to Hertzy and the team!”

Fabian Whate, Head of Naspers Foundry, said: “Over the last 18 months, Naspers Foundry has supported promising, best-in-class early stage tech businesses run by local entrepreneurs that have significant long-term potential and address societal needs. We are thrilled with our first edtech investment as Naspers Foundry, and we look forward to working with Hertzy and his team at The Student Hub. We continue to execute transactions against a robust pipeline of potential investment opportunities.”

Naspers Foundry has a generous hand in other investments too. In 2019 they invested R30 million in the online home cleaning-services business, SweepSouth. In May this year, R100 million was invested in Aerobotics, a subscription-based Artificial Intelligence company and in September, the Foundry invested in Food Supply Network – to name but a few.

Naspers committed to investing R4.6 billion to grow South Africa’s tech sector at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference. This includes the R1.4 billion for Naspers Foundry.

What is The Student Hub?

The Student Hub is an online education startup that digitises Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) course content. It offers affordable access to a 100% online distance learning model, as well as a blended learning model. By partnering with TVET colleges, the platform provides tools for lecturers and tutors to track individual student performance, resulting in a marked increase in pass rates. Its crowdfunding tools assist students in financing their studies, while an integrated skills marketplace matches graduates to entry-level job placements. 

The online distance learning addition to TVET colleges extends their capacity past what is attainable through brick and mortar operations, thereby increasing opportunities for students to study towards the job they desire.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, South African CEO of Naspers said, “The work of Naspers Foundry is one of the key focus areas of our business in South Africa. We believe tech companies have the potential to be the cornerstone of South Africa’s economic growth and we want to play a role in unlocking that potential. Our investment in The Student Hub is an example of how digitalisation has the potential to address inequality, create local opportunities, and enable increased participation towards a more inclusive economy.”

The Student Hub began in 2015 with Hertzy. He had just divested from a chain of bookstores that he had started when he himself was a student. Hertzy initially saw The Student Hub as the natural evolution of textbooks, but it has since grown in leaps and bounds. The Student Hub has made fully accredited National Diploma programmes accessible for thousands of learners in South Africa, at a fraction of the cost.   

One-on-one administrative and academic student support is available on a zero rated platform. This means that students do not require data to learn, attend online lectures or receive support. This is achieved via private resources and the latest learning technology, facilitated by the Student Hub’s expert team. The learning platform allows colleges to monitor students’ performance in real-time. Students who work from home feel motivated to work at their own pace, and still attain the necessary skills to thrive in their chosen field. 

For more information, please visit www.thestudenthub.co.za

Contact
Brandon Le-Chat
brandon@thestudenthub.co.za



About Naspers

Naspers, established in 1915, is a global internet company based in South Africa and is one of the largest technology investors in the world. Primarily, it operates in online classified advertising, fintech, payments, and food delivery. 

The company owns various businesses including Prosus, Media24 and Takealot, investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential. Naspers also builds leading consumer internet companies and empowers people, as well as enrich communities.
 
Naspers is known to be one of the foremost investors in the technology sector in South Africa. Naspers has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (NPN.SJ). The company has a secondary listing on the A2X Exchange (NPN.AJ) in South Africa, and on the London Stock Exchange, an ADR listing (LSE: NPSN).

For more information, please visit www.naspers.com.

Naspers Foundry

Naspers Foundry is a business funding initiative focused on technology entrepreneurs who wish to develop and grow their business in South Africa. It was launched at the South Africa Investment Conference in October last year. 

The Foundry funding is made available to companies like The Student Hub who address a big societal need, such as education, healthcare, and job creation.

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