Egypt-based live learning startup Orcas raises $2.1M in Pre-Series A funding to fuel Pakistan Expansion
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Egyptian live learning Edtech startup, Orcas, has raised $2.1M in its latest funding round co-led by CIRA’s NFX Ventures, and Access Bridge Ventures. This pre-series A round recorded participation from Algebra Ventures, Launch Africa Ventures, Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund, and Seedstars International.
Orcas aims to unlock digital live learning capabilities for schools and teachers both offline and online in Egypt, KSA, and Pakistan (MENAP).
Co-founded by Hossam Taher and Amira El Gharib in 2019, Orcas provides K-12 students with live 1-on-1 tutoring sessions, both online and in-person. By offering flexible payment plans, discounted packages, and installment programs, Orcas is positioned as an affordable high-quality learning platform that enables parents to support their children's education.
Catalyzed by a global pandemic that put constraints on live learning, EdTech ecosystems across Emerging Venture Markets (EVMs) have been observing expedited VC interest. This resulted in a 46% growth of capital investment in the sector between 2019 and 2021, which included a hallmark $20M investment in Abwaab in 2021. As many of the conditions in MENA markets are shared with other EVMs, startups like the Jordan-based online learning platform are finding opportunities in cross-market expansion, which resulted in Abwaab’s acquisition of Pakistan-based Edmatrix. In Pakistan, the EdTech industry observed an almost 300% YoY growth in funding in 2021, with sizable investments in Maqsad, Queno, Bryt, and Dev Nation.
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Orcas’ platform provides an online discovery channel for parents to find tutors and hybrid courses. The hybrid learning experience offers personalized learning plans, learning style assessments, and practice assignments for each learner to guarantee the most tailored learning experience possible while empowering tutors to provide high-quality learning sessions. "Learners today have different needs that Edtech companies must cater to. For that reason, we have evolved into a learning platform that offers the complete spectrum of teacher-led & self-paced learning environments. With the funding, we will be able to continue to build our technology product, attract the best talent, and expand to new geographies in MENAP," said CEO of Orcas, Hossam Taher.
Alongside offering study guidance, tutors also complete learning style assessments about each learner to determine the best practices for each student. These are then used to create personalized learning plans tailored to the students’ needs for the entire academic year. The platform also provides self-paced learning environments to complement the learning experience. This is offered through gamified and free question banks that are mapped to
various learning systems and students’ ages. All users have free access to high-quality academic exercises designed by Orcas Education Department. We invest in innovative ideas, marketplaces, and technologies that will disrupt the traditional education model and create easier, better, and cheaper education access for kids globally. The team from Orcas is a perfect example of a strong team with strong technology that is looking to address a key emerging market problem.”, said Issa Aghabi, Managing Director at Access Bridge Ventures.
Earlier this year, Orcas also announced a partnership with CIRA’s school network to offer after-school hybrid learning programs for students who need extra help. This service is currently available in multiple cities and governorates in Egypt including Cairo, Assiut, and Suez. “Going into this partnership, it was essential to find a partner that shared our same ethos, offering affordable quality education in underserved regions. With our visions aligned, this JV
brings the best of both worlds. I am personally excited to see the outcome of joining forces between EdTech pioneers and innovators alongside established industry players; moreover, the benefit and impact that this partnership shall have on the students and their families.” said Ahmed El Kalla, CIRA Board Member and Managing Director of NFX Capital.
Orcas will be starting their operations in Lahore, Pakistan in early 2022 to help the students in the 5th largest country in the world find high-quality tutors and personalized learning plans. This latest funding will be critical in Orcas expansion efforts and product development. This is considered the’s first investment. This investment is also considered a first for the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund as CEO Aly El Shalakany concluded, "Our investment in Orcas encompasses everything we’ve built CASF for. The fund was designed to double down and invest in our best-performing startups and to continue supporting amazing founders like Hossam and Amira to build great businesses. We are very proud of Orcas’ performance so far and we are confident that with this latest investment they will continue to be market leaders within the space and will now be able to add more exciting educational solutions using cutting edge technology and to bring these products to new markets.”
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