By Ajong Mbapndah L
With its current operational base in Zimbabwe, Bryt-Knowledge is a multifaceted online educational platform that connects students with subject matter experts using technology.
“We believe that the future of knowledge-sharing will be online, and we are helping Zimbabwean students (and students in our future growth markets) to gain access to knowledge from top tutors. Most importantly though, we believe that Bryt-Knowledge’s key impact will be creating a pan African jobs marketplace where people who are skilled (yet unemployed or under-employed) can be paid to share their knowledge, says founder and CEO, Rumbidzai Sithole
Rumbidzai Sithole, is founder and CEO Bryt-Knowledge of Zimbabwe, when was your company created and what does it do?
When the pandemic started, we all found it difficult to find high-quality online tutors for our children. While there are numerous online tutoring platforms across the world, we found that across Africa, most tutoring services were in-person and required committing upfront to a set of lessons. In addition, most ed-tech solutions were pre-packaged and not interactive. We set out to build a flexible, easy, on-demand platform for knowledge-sharing.
In countries where the BRYT APP and BRYT Web platform is available, students can request a 1-1 personalized lesson with a tutor on any subject matter, within their own set budget, and a time convenient for them. Tutors are pre-vetted and also get to set their rate in a bidding system.
How affordable are your services and how have Zimbabweans received it?
Our platforms are a marketplace for tutors, and they bid at will. So, prices can vary across tutors based on the strength of their profile (credentials and ratings) and demand for a particular tutor. We are planning on launching our operations at the end of April and will be able to give an account then of how the market has received our products.
In what ways do you think your services could change the educational landscape in Zimbabwe?
We believe that the future of knowledge-sharing will be online, and we are helping Zimbabwean students (and students in our future growth markets) to gain access to knowledge from top tutors. Most importantly though, we believe that Bryt-Knowledge’s key impact will be creating a pan African jobs marketplace where people who are skilled (yet unemployed or under-employed) can be paid to share their knowledge. We also envision a situation where knowledge-seekers in any of our target markets will have access to the full range of tutors across countries. We envision a future where Africans will be trading in knowledge, through Bryt.
What are some the challenges that you have had to grapple with putting in trying to grow Bryt-Knowledge?
Similar to other early-stage entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge we faced is in building a team. As a start-up, our budget is lean, but we also need to hire a team that is versatile and highly talented (which is a contradiction as the best talent comes at a high cost). We are however very pleased with the incredibly talented team that we have managed to build.
Bryt-Knowledge was recently selected as one of the recipients of the Jua Fund, how helpful will this be to vision of the company?
Prior to entering the Jua Kickstarter Fund, we had contacted a number of Africa-focused venture capital firms with little luck. Most were US-based, had automated responses that stated that they only consider funding applications from entrepreneurs recommended by individuals within their network. What quickly became apparent is that for most African early-stage entrepreneurs, there is very little chance of raising capital without these networks. The Jua Kickstarter gave us a chance to implement our business, an opportunity that we believe we would not have gotten elsewhere.
How challenging was the selection process and what are some of the things you have learned along the way to help with the progress and sustainability of Bryt-Knowledge?
The Kickstarter process was quite challenging, but extremely helpful in helping us hone our business idea and how we communicated about it. In addition to the very detailed application that we submitted, we had to prepare pitch documents for each of the five days of the competition. Each day had a different theme, which allowed us to think critically about each aspect of our business. The highly thoughtful questions from the judges provided key insights into areas that needed our attention. We are also grateful that the Jua team will continue to play a support and advisory role as we launch our operations.
What role do you see entrepreneurship playing in the development of Zimbabwe and Africa?
The co-founders of Bryt-Knowledge all have prior extensive experience in operational roles at pan African (and African owned) businesses. We have all seen the unique impact that African-owned and African-run businesses have not only in terms of generating income but also in understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that the continent provides. Our ambitions are pan-African so that we can also make our unique contribution.
A word to Mr. Adam Molai who initiated the Jua Fund, what is it you can to ensure that he feels vindicated in the support and believe he has in Bryt-Knowledge and other similar projects?
We are so grateful to Mr. Molai and the whole Jua team for the support not only to our organisation but to the other companies in our cohort. The high quality of the shortlisted companies and the impact that they aim to make beyond profit is heartening. Jua is a great demonstration of what can happen when African entrepreneurs are given a chance – we believe that this is truly the start of a revolution in African early-stage financing.