Impact Area:

Quality Early Learning Programmes

Year of Investment and Stage:

2022 | Developing and testing to validate problem solution fit

Current Stage

Developing and testing to validate problem solution fit

Investment Amount:


Financial Instrument:


Have we reinvested:




Whuppy is a web and mobile app that connects parents and Early Leaning Programmes (ELPs) in order to improve communication and collaboration between them. The end goal is to increase parental involvement in early learning for children’s optimal development.

The Problem

Meaningful engagement between parents and the ELPs their children attend leads to parents taking a more active role in early education and reinforcing learning in the home environment. The result is increased educational achievement, irrespective of the quality of the ELPs and the socio-economic background of the child.

The problem lies with establishing regular two-way and meaningful communication between the parent and the ELP. ECD practitioners are short on time to communicate consistently. Meanwhile, parents lack knowledge and confidence to implement early learning activities at home. Currently, WhatsApp groups and email are the most common ways ELPs communicate with parents; however, both parents and ECD practitioners report that these platforms become cluttered quickly and as a result, important messages are often missed.

The Innovation

Whuppy is a mobile and web app that will encourage family-led learning, through improved collaboration and communication between parents and ELPs, anchored in a positive and trusting relationship.

Accessible via all tablets, PCs, and smartphones, Whuppy will allow ECD practitioners to share lesson plans and activities, children’s progress, as well as memorable moments of children’s ELP experiences which are profoundly engaging to caregivers. In-app messaging will keep a record of important two-way communication, while functionalities such as invoicing and attendance will streamline administration tasks.

What differentiates Whuppy from other ELP management products available in South Africa is its design around parental engagement.

Why We Invested

Whuppy will allow Innovation Edge to explore income generation in a segmented target market as a route to sustainable scale. Two versions of Whuppy will be offered. The first is a free monthly subscription that will be accessible to all ELPs, including those operating in the lowest income communities, and customers that want to try out the app before committing to pay. The paid monthly subscription version of Whuppy will offer additional features and services, and create an opportunity to explore whether “cross-subsidisation” may be used to offer the full-service Whuppy to qualifying low-income ELPs.

The team anticipates that Whuppy’s focus on parental engagement will have demonstrable benefits such as increased child attendance, retention and fee-paying, which will convert customers to the paid subscription model. An opportunity also exists to offer Whuppy to non-centre based ELPs, as a way to show their value.

The Project Team

Clifford Ngwarati, CEO of Whuppy: Clifford is qualified mechanical engineer from Wits University and co-founder of Stargrid, a digital agency that has served over 1200 SMEs as clients. He has experience in conceptualizing and executing projects from inception to launch and is able to provide a structured framework to analyse complex situations into simple strategic imperatives.

Kutlwano Ngwarati, CTO of Whuppy: Kutlwano holds an Industrial Engineering degree from Wits University, business management certificate from Gibbs Business School, and a data science qualification from Explore Data Science Academy. In 2020, she was selected as one of the top 10 African Innovators by the United Nations.