Olanrewaju Ogundipe wants to revamp the Nigerian edtech industry with Pave

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Olanrewaju Ogundipe wants to revamp the Nigerian edtech industry

Olanrewaju Ogundipe had spent the last decade in the Nigerian education space. Not as a tutor per see, but more as an infrastructure developer. And so, when the tech came into the space, he started having conversations about how technology can be used to improve the education industry with his team at Imperial EdTech.

This led him to the creation of Rev, a fleet of hardware tech products designed and coupled in Nigeria that include laptops, tablets etc. The products are tailor-made for Nigeria with longer-lasting batteries and harder externals than the average laptop. He hoped that the education industry would embrace Rev as a producer of tech tools to facilitate learning in the digital age.

But then, there was the other product, a type of agency that helps mostly young Nigerians with placement in international tertiary institutions. He knew it was time to take that digital as well. And so, he digitalised the experience in a bid to reduce the problems that can sometimes come from human errors and started Pave.

What is Pave?

Pave is a platform offering various services for people who wish to study abroad. On the platform, users can search for universities that fit everything from their budget to their preferred location.

Olanrewaju Ogundipe wants to revamp the Nigerian edtech industry with Pave

“The normal way of doing this business is that people will typically just go to an agent or have to be searching for schools. But we’ve realised that the whole agent network was not properly monitored or regulated. So we decided to build a product where we can help people. It’s a kind of international education ecosystem that helps to build careers,” Ogundipe told Technext during a recent interview at the Pave headquarters in Lagos.

But as the product grew, he quickly realised there was a need to separate the hardware product from Pave.

“As we were growing we realise that the study abroad offer was totally different from what we were doing. So we decided to take the study abroad service and turned it into a product and that was how Pave got formed,” he added.

Read also: How Shola Edu wants to build a game development empire in Lagos

Pave also has an academy offering other products like internships and courses on other tradable skills that young people will need for the world of work.

“The idea for us was to support those who are studying locally as well, for us to ensure that people can learn different types of skills, so by the time they are graduating they have either work experience or some kind of skills that they are able to use in the workspace”

Creating EdTech solutions

Ogundipe said that after working for years in education, he realised that a technology company like Pave was needed to bridge the gap and reduce human connection in the sector.

“It started as a placement company. We were placing students into universities. About three years down the line we realised that they were more problems within the education system that we needed to solve,” Ogundipe said.

Olanrewaju Ogundipe wants to revamp the Nigerian edtech industry with Pave

Bridging the gap in the education space has been a recurring theme throughout Ogundipe’s career in what has now become the edtech space. When he started Imperium EdTech, the other company that makes Rev computers, he noticed Nigeria’s lack of integration with technology.

“Who are the people using technology in the education space? So we started off by providing e-boards, laptops from other partners. We looked at Africa generally and we realised that there were no real African brands that represent the strength and quality that Africa can deliver and then we decided to start our own brand of devices,” he said of starting Rev.

With these products, the endgame for Ogundipe is that he can solve some of the problems that the education sector in Nigeria is facing.

“The main reason for us starting this company was because we saw the gap in the education space, so we decided to look at how we can use technology infrastructure to leapfrog how education gets to the last mile,” he said.

Now that edtech companies have been springing up across the country, it seems like some problems are finally being solved. But the industry has still been unable to compete with fintech, the priced possession of the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

Ogundipe said there is a path to success for entrepreneurs willing to listen to the market and create custom solutions to their problems. For him, this should be of high priority because a more educated crop of young Nigerians will be instrumental to the future of Nigeria.

“It’s one of the major challenges that we have as a country,” he said of the importance of cultivating an educated class of younger Nigerians. “A lot of people have come into the space but have not really understood how to solve problems in the space particularly. What we did was look at what challenges are facing individuals and what challenges are facing institutions and see how we can solve some of those problems. Looking at how Nigeria is growing we have to get our education right. We are building the future of education. and that’s what we believe.” he said.

But the barrier to entry into the space remains a problem for companies looking to solve problems with edtech products. For starters, the bureaucracy in how many schools are run inhibits accelerated technology adoption in the Nigerian education system. The fall of the naira against the dollar is also a major problem.

“We make sure that we let teachers know that technology is not taking your job but to enhance and better your teaching method within the classroom,” Ogundipe said of navigating some of these challenges. The platform also offers some form of loans for students that may need them.

Olanrewaju Ogundipe wants to revamp the Nigerian edtech industry

Bottomline

In the meantime, however, Ogundipe hopes to be instrumental in regulating the international education industry. “Our goal is to ensure that Pave becomes a household name,” he said.


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