Meet 3 Edtech startups helping to shape a new way of learning

MAGNiTT’s 2019 EdTech Venture Investment Report highlights that the industry has witnessed increased investment activity across the region over the last few years - from just 4 deals in 2016 to 29 in 2019 (accounting for almost 5% of total investment activity), and 27 so far in 2020. In terms of total funding, $20M was raised by MENA-based EdTech startups, last year. 

The entire world, and in particular the MENA region has recently seen a massive shift from traditional classroom-style teaching techniques to online home-based learning, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, technological advancements, and demand for alternative schooling options. This has consequently and indirectly led to more traction and investor appetite in Edtech-focused startups. When the pandemic hit, and schools closed indefinitely, MENA-based schooling institutions were arguably ready to instantly adapt with several startups across the region on standby, quickly equipping students, parents, and schools with the tools that they needed to continue on as normal, with as little disruption as possible. 

With the rising demand and the versatility that is required for mixed learning preferences, Edtech deals in the region have reached 27 deals in 2020, almost matching full-year 2019, with 3 months of the year still remaining. From Lebanon's Guruvise, a mobile app that assists school and university-level students in finding qualified tutors, and Egypt-based Zedny, an Arabic learning and development platform, to Jordan's Abwaab, an online platform that allows secondary-school students to learn at their own pace, and OTO English, a digital learning system that offers one-to-one courses to help people learn languages - all raising capital this year and catering to varied learning needs, they illustrate the diversity that is required to shape and transform such an industry. 

Discover more than 970 Education startups on MAGNiTT

Meet 3 Edtech startups below that have very recently raised their funding rounds and are on a mission to transform the Edtech industry and learning landscape as we know it. 

The companies listed are based on MAGNiTT data of the latest MENA-based Edtech startups that have raised the highest amount of disclosed funding.

1. Geek Express

UAE-based Geek Express teaches K-12 students STEAM through a comprehensive Arabized journey of online classes and do it yourself technology boxes. Whether they opt for online learning, academy experience, or an at-home kit, kids sign up to the platform and start learning STEAM instantly.

The startup recently raised its Pre-Series A $520K funding round in August, from National Talents, IM Capital, Lebanese angel investor, and DHV partners, with the aim of building "futuristic schools".

Rayan Najdi, Co-founder and COO said, “We’ve achieved great success in creating a hybrid learning model, teaching relevant skills to today’s youth. We believe Geek Express sets the foundation of a futuristic school whereby thousands of MENA students will have access to STEAM skills from the comfort of their homes.”

2. KoolSkools

Koolskools is a Morocco-based online learning platform that allows users to find everything related to school in digital version: monitoring the child's progress, lessons, interactive exercises, fun learning, exchanges with classmates and teachers, textbook, and many other features.

They announced a $400K funding round in mid-July 2020, from Maroc Numeric Fund II and a business angel.

A comment from KoolSkools investor reiterates the notion that the implications of COVID-19 on the education industry have led to a number of deals being confirmed or accelerated.

Dounia Boumehdi, Managing Director of MITC Capital, the management company of Maroc Numeric Fund II, said, “The fund management team is proud to support Kool Skools project, which is intended to be a complete technological platform for schools, and whose positioning has been fully confirmed during the COVID-19 crisis”.

3. Noon Academy

Based in Saudi Arabia, Noon Academy is a comprehensive on-demand online tutoring platform. The company’s main differentiator lies in its functionality - its platform incorporates social and gamification features that enable users to have an enjoyable, collaborative learning experience with teachers and fellow students through study groups, peer engagement, and contests. 

In June 2020, the startup raised $13M in a Pre-Series B funding round, led by STV. As a result of the pandemic and the increase in demand, Noon Academy enhanced the platform and added 3 million students, effectively doubling their user base.

Having access to a robust platform that is capable of serving the needs of the public in the age of COVID-19 has proven to be all the more critical, the company stated. 

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August 2020 saw a 48% drop in the number of deals, while total funding on the other hand increased by 93% when compared to the same month last year. Discover more trends and insights in our August 2020 Dashboard.