10 Edtech Startups Transforming Education in the MENAP Region
The Middle East and Africa's edtech market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2027, as schools across the region continue adopting technology solutions and products in classrooms.
Edtech startups have been witnessing a boom in the last two years because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns and school closures have led to an increased demand for distance learning solutions. As a result, edtech startups have become essential in filling the gap of traditional learning and workplace settings. As a result, funding in edtech has skyrocketed in recent years, with the sector witnessing a 336% increase in total funding from 2018 to 2020, according to Magnitt’s 2021 MENA Industry Venture Report.
And while the pandemic may be behind us, the Middle East and Africa's edtech market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2027, as schools across the region continue adopting technology solutions and products in classrooms, according to data from the Middle East and Africa EdTech and Smart Classroom Market Forecast 2027.
Below is a list of top 10 edtech startups to lookout for across the MENAP region
Jordan-based online learning platform Abwaab is one of the most funded edtech startups in the MENAP region. It raised $20 million in a Series A round in 2021, following a $5 million seed round in March that same year. Founded in 2019 by Hamdi Tabbaa, Hussein AlSarabi, and Sabri Hakim, Abwaab is a subscription-based online platform that allows secondary school students to learn at their own pace, test themselves and seek tutoring directly from the platform. In 2021, it launched a subscription programme in Egypt to meet the growing demand of local students using the learning platform. Recently, it acquired Pakistani edtech startup Edmatrix.
Based in Saudi Arabia, Noon academy is an online tutoring company that incorporates social and gamification features to create both an educational and enjoyable experience for users, including teachers and students. Founded in 2013 by Mohammed Aldhalaan and Aziz Alsaeed, the platform grew from a simple test preparation website to a comprehensive online learning platform. Soon after the pandemic hit, Noon raised $13 million in a pre-Series B round in June 2020, making it one of the most funded edtech startups in the KSA. It also recently added three million new students to its platform, doubling its user base. It plans to continue expanding the platform in KSA and enter new markets, such as India and Pakistan.
Founded in 2016 by Ihab Fikry and Ibrahim Kamel, Almentor provides a wide range of training courses and talks by experts who have succeeded in both their professional and personal lives. To date, it has delivered over 2 million learning experiences and has over 80 enterprise partnerships across the MENA region. It provides courses in health, technology, humanities, entrepreneurship, and business administration among other subjects. In May 2021, Almentor raised $6.5 million in Series B funding, bringing the total financing that the company has secured since its inception to $14.5 million.
Egypt-based edtech startup Orcas runs a mobile application that connects parents and students with nearby tutors and online courses. Founded in 2019 by Hossam Taher and Amira El Gharib, the startup offers both online and offline learning in Egypt, KSA, and Pakistan. The platform also provides personalized learning plans to cater to the different needs of students. In early 2022, Orcas raised $2.1 million in its pre-Series A round. The funding will be used to strengthen the platform’s technology, attract more talent, and expand to more markets, particularly in Lahore, Pakistan.
Maqsad is a Pakistan-based startup that provides after-school academic content in English and Urdu, supplemented by quizzes and gamification features. It was founded by Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz to make education accessible to 100 million Pakistani students. In 2021, the E-learning platform raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round. The funding will be used to further develop and enhance Maqsad’s platform, while also investing in R&D.
IR4lab is a Saudi-based blockchain startup that provides education programs in emerging technologies. It also works to improve existing processes for businesses, by issuing digital and verifiable certificates for companies to confirm that workers and applicants are properly certified and trained. Founded in 2017 by Majd Jamal Alafifi and Mohamed El Kandri, the startup aims to capitalize on digital technologies to support local talent and promote efficiency for both workers and companies. In 2021, IR4Lab raised $1.5 million to increase its customer base and expand the use of its professional certification.
Previously known as Synkers, Ostaz is an online tutoring platform founded in Lebanon in 2017 by Audrey Nakad and Zeina Sultani Nakad. The platform has more than 1,000 teachers and offers tutoring to students in British, French, American and Emirati curricula. The startup raised $1.8 million in a Pre-Series A round in September 2020. Currently, it is looking to raise an additional $1.5 million to expand its footprint in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
AlGooru is Saudi-based edtech startup that connects students with on-demand private tutors on its platform. Founded in 2018 by Khalid Abou Kassem, the platform enables students to book online or in-person sessions with vetted and specialized tutors for a wide range of subjects. In 2021, the startup raised $600,000 in pre-Seed funding and more recently this month, it raised $1.8 million in funding. Investments will be used to widen the startup’s offerings and expand further in the country.
Aanaab is also another Saudi-based online platform that provides professional development for Arab teachers. Founded in 2016 by Mounira Jamjoom, who has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Oxford, the startup provides teachers with the opportunity to receive Cambridge international certificate after completing different courses on its platform. In March 2020, Aanab raised $1.5 million in its first external funding round.
While most edtech startups are targeted for students and children, Zedny supports the learning and growth of working professionals. Founded in 2020 by Mohamed ElBaz and Basil Khattab, Zedny launched with a pre-seed investment of $1.2 million. The Arabic learning platform uses machine learning and gamification to increase employability of Arab professionals, and currently offers over 200 online courses and 400 animated videos summaries of business bestsellers.