Tao Laine Boyle Is The Co-Founder at FoondaMate

Tao Laine Boyle is the Co-Founder at FoondaMate and lover of learning. FoondaMate builds chat-first applications that enable high school students with limited internet access to study online.

She went to a well resourced school, worked hard, and got As. At university Tao realised lots of her peers had to work three times as hard to get the same marks.

I got really good grades throughout school, and I always believed everyone else could too. I also graduated top of my class. But my story’s a little different. I went to schools where resources were not a limitation. My classes had about 12 students per class. I was accepted to UCT with a few other class mates and most of my classmates went on to study further. The only limit to how well my classmates could do were their ambitions.

Says Tao.

At university, it became a lot clearer to her that there were lots of other students in the world, just as brilliant as her classmates whose limits were that they did not have the resources they needed. So when her business partner told her about his idea to get students past papers on WhatsApp she got really excited, and they started building FoondaMate together.

At first, the robot could just help with downloading past papers. But they made it smarter, so that it could explain things, help with maths, send study guides and speak different languages.

In August 2020 Tao made an Instagram account for the FoondaMate robot. The next day FoondaMate got 3000 messages. By the end of September 40,000 learners were using FoondaMate. Today that number is over one million.

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