Efforts to achieve efficient injection of spin-polarized electrons into a semiconductor, a key prerequisite for developing electronics that exploit the electron's spin degree of freedom, have so far met with limited success. Here we report experimental studies of lateral spin injection and detection through electrodeposited Fe/GaAs tunnel contacts. We demonstrate spin injection efficiencies two orders of magnitude higher than for state-of-the-art contacts fabricated via ultra-high-vacuum methods, including those with MgO or Al2O3 tunnel barriers. To account for this enhancement, we propose that an iron oxide layer that forms at the Fe/GaAs interface during electrodeposition, being magnetic acts as a tunnel barrier with a spin-dependent height, presenting quantum spin transport calculations for such systems. This serendipitous discovery of greatly enhanced efficiency of spin injection into GaAs via electrodeposited contacts introduces a promising new direction for the development of practical semiconductor spintronic devices.