David Warlick, an educator, once said: “Technology is required in every classroom and in the hands of every student and teacher, since it is the pen and paper of our day, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world”. This, for Victor, is just not a quote but a charge for him as someone who is passionate about education and also doubles as a software developer to synergise the two to make studying much easier for students. He shares the story with Inspiring Start-Ups this week. Read on!
Victor Adatsi is a product of the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (Presec, Legon) where he studied science in 2007, and proceeded to the University of Ghana where he graduated with a degree in Marketing at the University of Ghana Business School in 2013. He described himself as an Information Technology (IT) enthusiast and was, therefore, pursuing courses in line with that while in the university. Since then, he has been fully focused on software development and product design.
According to Victor, after Senior High School, while waiting for admission to the university, he and some of his friends took it upon themselves to teach young students who were preparing for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at Ashongman Estate free of charge. He said though they find teaching to be interesting, it was at the same time tiring having to deal with many students who have varying academic needs.
“I and a couple of friends decided to give back to the community by teaching BECE candidates for free. We had encouraging numbers and most of the students passed with high scores. This was validation that, truly, there was a right way of teaching. But even though we enjoyed what we did, it was stressful and tiring. So I had to think of a way, and technology came to the rescue,” he said.
In 2013, he found that solution by developing an educational software, the main focus of which was to provide digital access to teaching and learning materials, and questions and answers to students, especially those preparing for their final examinations.
“The name was initially eCoach, now Adeo. Though I had to pause to chase other life dreams, in 2021 when COVID stepped in, I knew I had to revamp it to help the students. So we revamped it and named it after my co-developer Adeo, who passed on.
“I have always said that there are no terrible students, just that each student is unique and uniquely comprehends things. And I believe technology, with the help of artificial intelligence, can help one create an educational tool to help students perform better by monitoring their performance and tailor the experience so that it best suits the user (student),” he said.
Adeo is a self-prep app that is aimed at helping students perform better. It is to tailor the learning experience to suit every individual student.
Adeo is built to understand and adapt to the individualities of each student, fostering the progress we hope to see. Adeo has the largest database in West Africa with about 200,000 plus questions and answers, and the team keeps updating the database every single day by sourcing educational materials from appropriate authorities such as WAEC and even schools.
The team is committed to providing students with a smart and intuitive application that helps them prepare adequately for upcoming exams in an efficient manner using data analysis.
“We want to make quality education not only affordable but tailored differently for every user. It’s a personal prep tool for students and the ‘personal’ is key to our operations at Adeo. We also partner with schools and other organisations like ‘Techaide’ to provide them our software to equip IT labs they build across the country.”
Speaking on what makes Adeo unique from other educational applications, Victor indicated that: “Adeo is available on android, ios, windows, and the web. What differentiates us from the competition is the ability of our application to adapt to a user. Every student is different. We all prepare for exams in our way, so if Adeo boasts of being the best self-prep app that means it must learn from the user and adapt to the user’s strengths and weaknesses. This, we can achieve by analysing the user’s performance data.”
Adeo’s objective is to increase pass rates by 50 percent across Africa. The team wants more people doing better in school across Africa, so more people can escape the poverty cycle as they are confident education is the surest way to escape the poverty cycle, and bringing quality education to the homes of students across Africa will have an impact that cannot be understated.
When asked about the challenges they encounter, Victor stated that: “the issue of funding cannot be overstated. Lack of funding means you do not have enough runway before you turn profitable. Just like a plane, to take off, it needs some runway to gather momentum, take off and then begin to soar. Every start-up needs some runway to be able to build the product, begin sales and then turn profitable. Unfortunately, in this part of the world, the capital is very expensive. The lending rate is quite high and without collateral, banks are not ready to lend to pre-revenue companies.”
Another major challenge the team faces is the human resource, saying it is tough getting the right talent for the job.
“The good ones are few, and these days you have to compete with start-ups from Europe and the US who have access to funding and keep tapping software developers from the country. It is a struggle for talent, so government should intensify efforts to get more people into IT,” he added.
How government can support
“Technology is expensive and unfortunately, most Ghanaian start-ups find it very tough to raise capital. Government can help start-ups by offering a start-up pack to make it easy for them to deploy and launch their application. This start-up pack should consist of free hosting services, free google ads, and a free domain. These services are essential to start-ups and are priced in dollars, making them very expensive. If government can offer this little support to start-ups, it will go a long way in reducing the burden on the little funds start-ups have available.
Another thing government can do is to organise a demo day where it will invite Venture Capital firms from all over the world to Ghana, and this programme can be used to showcase the various applications built by Ghanaian start-ups. This will be a good initiative as this exposure can lead to huge investments from Venture Capital firms,” he stated.
Advice for prospective entrepreneurs
“Put everything on paper; know how much the whole project will cost – from the start to the point where you can be sustainable. Never be too attached to your idea. Every business can fail, so seek advice from those who are ahead of you. Run your accounts so banks can see you are credible. Pay yourself a salary and put in hard work because entrepreneurship has no days off,” he said.
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