As we launch the EdTech Startup Competition together with SPARK, we take a look at 5 EdTech startups championing the educational challenges in the Middle East. From tutoring platforms to teacher-focused professional development hubs, here are 5 EdTech startups you need to know.
By Wesam Osama
The Edtech sector has seen a boom in investments because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. This growth is particularly promising in the Middle East and North Africa, where children have already lost the equivalent of 0.6 years of education on average due to Covid-19.
Even before the pandemic, learning outcomes were adverse in the MENA region’s 103 million school students, with 15 million children out of school, and another 10 million were at risk of dropping out due to poverty, social marginalization, migration, displacement, or disruption of infrastructure caused by conflict.
Fortunately, change-makers have stepped in to fill the gap using technology to support remote learning. As we launch the EdTech Startup Competition in the Middle East, in partnership with SPARK, we take a look at 5 EdTech startups who are rocking the MENA and are booming since the pandemic.
1. Noon Academy
Noon Academy is a comprehensive on-demand online tutoring platform based in Saudi Arabia. It’s one of the fastest-growing learning platforms in the Middle East, with over 9 million registered students, most of whom joined in 2020. Noon incorporates social and gamification features for a more accessible and relatively 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. Thanks to the increase in demand, Noon Academy enhanced the platform and added 3 million students, doubling their user base during the pandemic.
Jeddah-based EdTech Aanaab is an online professional development platform for teachers. Aanaab counts Cambridge Assessment International Education, Dar Al-Hekma University, and Rwaq among its content partners. The startup said that over 450 teachers and educators had been awarded Cambridge International certificates after completing different courses on its platform.
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In March 2020, the startup closed its first investment round with $1.5M, Striving to develop initiatives similar to global models, such as the Singaporean model, which encourages teachers to get 100 hours of professional development annually.
Previously known as Synkers, Ostaz is an online tutoring platform founded in Lebanon in 2017 by Audrey Nakad and Zeina Sultan.
The a mobile platform that provides personalised and accessible education, directly connecting learners to highly qualified private teachers by matching them with the vision of building the largest knowledge exchange community.
The startup raised $1.8M Pre-Series A in September 2020 to invest in products and technologies offering a better, personalised experience. Last April, Global private school provider Inspired Education Group, acquired the startup. At that moment, it counted withmore than 43,000 students around the world according to Wamda, having completed almost 65,000 tutoring hours across a wide range of curricula such as British (GCSEs, A levels), French, International Baccalaureate, American, Saudi, Egyptian and Lebanese; in addition to languages, prep tests and soft skills.
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Zedny is an Egypt-based Arabic learning startup that integrates machine learning and gamification into the HR development cycle to encourage individuals to develop their business acumen skills.
The startup launched and raised a $1.2M Pre-Seed funding round from angel investors and adopted online courses and animated video summaries of global business bestsellers to set employees, managers, and individuals on a designated career learning path.
IR4Lab is a KSA-based startup that provides education programs in emerging technologies to build up local capabilities and put the region at the forefront of innovation globally. It builds solutions that take advantage of emerging technologies, enabling new business models and improving existing processes with evident determination.
This year, IR4Lab raised a $1.5M Seed funding round from Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures (Waed Ventures).
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Join the EdTech Startups Competition here before the 30th of August.