As Egypt's brand new platform 'Tutorama' secured seed investment last week, we've rounded up the startups merging tech and business to make a difference in Egypt's downtrodden educational system.
Socially committed and eager to solve Egypt’s most pressing developmental challenges, Egyptian entrepreneurs are taking it upon themselves to turn technology into a catalyst to make education accessible, stay relevant to the millennial mindset, and push scientific development in the region.
Struggling in a sector where building content is a mammoth task and making profit a challenge – with gamechanging open online courses Skills Academy and Tahrir Academy both closing operations - the wave of educational startups that the January 25 revolution brought about have struggled to build their way up. As Tutorama secured one of A15’s latest investments last week, fuelling optimism in the sector, we’ve listed seven Egyptian startups striving to reshape future generations with the one tool that can never perish.
Nafham: With Egyptian schools' diminishing capacity to absorb the nation’s rapid population growth, Nafham made it their goal to bring the official national curriculum to the digital space. Launched by Mostafa Farahat, Mohamed Habib, and Ahmed El Alfi, the startup offers crowdsourced educational videos for students from 1st to 12th grade. With more than 20,000 videos on their platform and half a million visitors per month, their free 15-minute lessons are helping Egyptian children – and, more recently, Syrian refugees – learn core subjects. Having kick-started with an incubation programme by Egyptian accelerator Flat6Labs, the startup is exploring the option of adding premium content and student consultations.
Tutorama: Although only launched for a pilot group, this highly curated marketplace for parents to find tutors for their children in their area sets out to be the one-stop market for home schooling. Classified according to their skills, these “top quality tutors” provide lessons at a 150 LE hourly rate, and will ultimately allow students to create tutor pools for several students to share the cost. Omar Khashaba and Mohamed Khodeir, the entrepreneurs behind it, have been making huge waves before their launch, winning top prizes at the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, Seedstars – and, this month, securing seed investment from A15.
Tyro: Drifting away from official curricula and focusing on skill-based training, the platform acts as a match-maker between learners seeking all kinds of skills, and instructors who can teach anything they're good at. The matching service works as a hub where a database of instructors is filtered based on field, price, and experience, for 50 LE sessions. The recently launched startup won the Upscale competition at this year’s Techne Summit, and is already offering early access for eager users
Tatweer Misr: Focused on employability and corporate training, the company brings e-learning experiences to small companies, large businesses, and those looking for a job. Aiming to boost the caliber of Egyptian and Arab youth, the company’s career development courses range from problem solving, to business writing, to presentation skills, giving young learners the tools they need to find a job and grow their careers.
Tqweem: Launched in beta mode, this Arabic-language platform allows students and parents to have ‘mock’ exams for children prepare for the questions they may be asked. With over 100,000 questions in their database, the platform - available in Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia - also offers a calendar for children and parents to track the student’s academic progress, rate their level, and get suggestions on what the student needs based on their weaknesses.
Da7ee7: Although not a platform but a YouTube channel, the “first popular science channel in the Arab World” offers 85,000 subscribers scientific material in a fun, entertaining way for students of all ages. Having racked up over two million views, the channel explains heavy scientific material – from memory implants to amnesia and Mars One - in a fun way, enabling viewers of all ages to understand it.
School.inc: Founded by 20-year-old entrepreneur Ramy Omar, the mobile and desktop application sets off to be the student's best companion. Catering to the one solution nobody thinks about: what happens when the teacher asks for an assignment and no source seems to beat Wikipedia? After interviewing 1,500 students online on their main concerns, the young changemaker came up with a mobile and desktop application that offers students an answer whenever they need to get material. As it is based on the British curriculum, the app was surprisingly successful among the UK's academic world.
Photography: @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.
Photographer: Ahmed Najeeb.