12 JUNE, CAIRO. Orcas, the mobile application that connects parents and students with tutors and babysitters, announced that it has raised $500K in a pre-Series A funding round led by Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s leading VC fund, with participation from NFX Capital.
Orcas’ marketplace addresses an enormous pain-point in a deeply fragmented market; providing a platform that connects thousands of students of all educational stages and systems with verified, user-rated, and specialised tutors in a country where over 50% of its 22 million students receive private tutoring every year. With over 20,000 students on the application, Orcas currently operates in Cairo, Alexandria, El Gouna, and the North Coast.
Founded in 2014, Orcas is managed by Hossam Taher and Amira El Gharib. Taher, CEO, is a medical doctor by training and started Orcas when he was a student himself. ‘We saw that there were very few flexible work opportunities for university students, but that there was a huge need for qualified and trusted tutors,’ says Taher. ‘We solved this problem by creating a platform for them to connect - creating jobs for young people as educators while simultaneously providing school-age students with the best tutors for them.’ Orcas is Algebra’s second investment in a learning platform in the Middle East after backing Little Thinking Minds in 2018.
‘Orcas complements strained traditional educational institutions by connecting students with specialised tutors who enable individualised learning,‘ says an Algebra spokesperson. ‘The one-size-fits-all model is leaving many young people behind, and the market is ripe for technological disruption.’
‘Orcas and other tech-enabled tutoring platforms are delivering today on what academic research promised more than 20 years ago,’ adds Ahmed Elkalla, Managing Partner at NFX Capital. ‘Students who are tutored one-to-one perform significantly better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods.
This used to be a luxury very few people could afford but now through tech-enabled platforms like Orcas a much wider group of students can reap the personalized tutoring benefits.’ Commenting on the investment, Amira El Gharib, Orcas’ Chief Growth Officer notes, ‘Our students, parents, and partners are our primary focus. We will use this investment to develop our product offering and scale our operational capacity with the end goal of optimising user experience for all our stakeholders.’
‘This summer, Orcas is going to launch a new feature, called Discoveries,’ says Taher, speaking about plans for the immediate future. ‘Designed with school summer vacations in mind, Orcas Discoveries are events that allow children to expand their horizons and explore a range of exciting activities. Offering everything from cooking and coding workshops to art, culture, and music trips in a variety of languages - they’re designed to safely engage children while developing their skills and enriching their experiences.'