Edtech Learning Tools & Platforms in MENA 2020

So far schools in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, and Kuwait, Morocco, Libya, Qatar are shut for at least two more weeks to a month (schools in Oman, Tunisia remain open), as COVID-19 locks down cities and countries whole.

We aggregated education tech companies from across MENA in a reference chart to help teachers, school management, parents and professionals with their remote-learning efforts and maximize their time.

This is the updated version of the diagram shared in the Week #72 Newsletter
تحديث على الرسم المعلوماتي لمنصات وأدوات التعليم الرقمي في المنطقة التي أصدرت في الموجز #23

We only covered products produced in the Middle East and North Africa in this table, I’m sure many use Coursera, EdX, Khan Academy, etc, however these platforms get enough coverage as is and do not necessarily cover the needs of the average student, teacher and parent that has to home-school and remote-teach over the next few month.

The most important note is that Arabic remains the dominant language of education in MENA and the most language parents and majority of professionals are comfortable with. While Dubai-dwellers, and workers in tech may feel otherwise, these are services that are currently needed by every household across MENA as a necessity and that forces us into the reality: Arabic is vital for mass, inclusive and equal reach.

Interesting observation:

  • All Academic Distance Learning solutions in MENA are primarily in Arabic.
  • 80% of Professional Distance Learning Solutions are in Arabic, the rest are English first.
  • 9 of Distance Learning Platforms, Academic and Professional, are funded by governments in the UAE, Saudi, Oman & Jordan.
  • All Early Learning Content is Arabic first, and 50% provide English content as well.
  • 75% of all services are available in Arabic, while 49% of services are provided in English.
  • Most of the solutions and services are headquartered in Saudi (22) and the UAE (21) of a total of 85 services listed
  • 69% of solutions are geared toward empowering the Education sector (Academic Distance Learning, Teaching and Tutoring tools, eLearning infrastructure)

*this chart is compiled through hours of online research and some online recommendations, we are likely to be missing some services especially in Early Learning Content as that’s a space that publishing houses are increasingly involved in. We have also not included platforms that are no longer active and ones that are based heavily outside the region (UK is a popular HQ for Edtech companies it seems).
If you have questions about the graph feel free to tweet me or farah.

MENA’s Digital News, Week #28

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

This week was so packed I had to further split sections and cut out some news to make it even reasonable to follow! Good times ahead

Investments (and 1 IPO)

Network International Sells $1.4B of Stock in Europe’s Biggest IPO of 2019 YTD https://bloom.bg/2uWGtpZ 

YaLLa Esports, MENA esports entity, raised seed funding round from a group of “strategic investors” http://bit.ly/2U4QI62 

Haseel, Saudi fresh food’s mobile app, raises funding led by Riyadh Taqnia Fund and joined by Vision Ventures and 500 Startups (EN) http://bit.ly/2KuUhCU (AR) http://bit.ly/2XbNFuP 

PointCheckout raises $600k from Arzan VC, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Hala VC, and DTEC Ventures. http://bit.ly/2UqDTI5 

CaptainPanel, Kuwaiti SaaS for maritime activities, raises $1.2M from Faith Capital and 500 Startups. (CaptainPanel is an expansion of Fishfishme, the yacht/boat booking platform started in 2012) http://bit.ly/2GhDf63 

Oliv, dubai based career portal, raises $2M in series A ed by Aloshban and Alnamlah Family Groups in Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed Khoory in the UAE http://bit.ly/2OVvJl2

ProTenders, Dubai based “construction intelligence and procurement company”, raises $3M in pre-series A from undisclosed investors http://bit.ly/2UIZTNC

ArabyAds raises $6.5M in funding from Equitrust, the investment arm of Choueiri Group http://bit.ly/2OScbhz 

Shedul, booking platform for salons and spas, raises $20M in Series B at a $105M valuation https://tcrn.ch/2Z1npVr  

AWOK.com, Dubai based e-commerce platform, closes $30M series A from StonePine ACE Partners and Al Faisaliah Ventures and co-invested by Endeavor Catalyst http://bit.ly/2G9qR9k 


Noon “acquires” Sivvi, Dubai based eCommerce, owned by Rashid Al Abbar, Mohammed Al Abbar’s Son http://bit.ly/2VpNScZ 

Bayut acquires Rocket Internet’s property portal Lamudi in UAE, Saudi & Jordan to fuel its expansion across GCC http://bit.ly/2UKr3E2

Vista Global, Dubai based charter flights booking, to acquire JetSmarter, US based on demand charter booking app http://bit.ly/2IrPMq

Property Finder to Acquire JRD Group, UAE-based real estate technology provider http://bit.ly/2U520Hp 

Sector News

Choueiri Group launches a TV attribution performance product, “Brand4mance” http://bit.ly/2D0isTl

Twitter MENA, signs content partnership deals with 17 media houses to produce / host featured content http://bit.ly/2GcSnmj

Reebok launches eCommerce site to serve the UAE and Saudi markets http://bit.ly/2IsWn3H

Uber partners with Dryve, egypt-based car-sharing platform http://bit.ly/2P1LM0V 

AlAnsari Exchange, UAE, to launch multi-currency travel card with Wirecard, Germany http://bit.ly/2uYaXIf

Zoho partners with Paytabs in MENA as part of their regional expansion http://bit.ly/2InGrzH 

Funding Ecosystem

Seedstars announces $100M fund to invest in African tech startups in collaboration with Paris based First Growth Ventures http://bit.ly/2D2fk9w

Saudi Arabia to Launch a Bank for SMEs http://bit.ly/2UuMx7B 

AfricInvest and Cathay Capital launch $169M African venture fund http://bit.ly/2P7XAyE

Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai Accelerator adds Mashreq bank as a backer for the program (Visa, HSBC and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are already onboard). http://bit.ly/2Uu8epd

IFC is now backing both Startupbootcamp Fintech Cairo and AUC Venture Lab http://bit.ly/2KuDcsT

The World Bank allocates $200M to support entrepreneurship and SMEs in Egypt http://bit.ly/2Dac4Jz 

Mubadala opens NY office, focus on financial services, private equity https://reut.rs/2UNJ8kw

Government Support

UAE government to offer long-term (5 year) visas to start-ups, starting with the “top 100 startups” selected for the World Economic Forum that just took place in Jordan http://bit.ly/2U48XbP 

UAE and Saudi Arabia sign MoU to develop digital education system. MoU also involved university twinnings across 8 universities – no details on the MoU’s detailed outlook yet http://bit.ly/2DjOeez

Badir Program, Saudi, partners with Propeller in Jordan, http://bit.ly/2Ua00gU

Long Reads

Mintrics launches report on the State of Social Video in Egypt (in time for Ramadan preps) http://bit.ly/2G8Gn5f

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MENA’s Digital News, Week #22

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions

Mile, Dubai-based delivery and logistics management platform, raised seed funding (amount undisclosed) in round led by Riyad Taqnia Fund http://bit.ly/2SHnnTf 

Feel22, Lebanon’s beauty eCommerce platform, raises series A funding by Equitrust, Choueiri Group’s investment arm http://bit.ly/2S86FHE 

Golden Scent, Saudi perfume and scents ecommerce, raises an undisclosed funding round from existing investors http://bit.ly/2XhILNx

Nalbes, Kuwait’s local online fashion-centric, raises $2M in series B http://bit.ly/2E34HmI

LUNCH:ON, Dubai-based lunch subscription, closes $3M series A round, led by Wamda Capital, EATventure, Arzan VC and Abu Nayyan Holding (for expansion in UAE + to Saudi) http://bit.ly/2GtO1bB 

GoodsMart, Egypt-based grocery startup, secures funding from Algebra Ventures in pre-series B http://bit.ly/2GL548y 

Mad’a Investment Company, Saudi-based private equity & venture capital firm, invests in Dubai based Family Souk Ventures and its online retail subsidiary Babysouk.com http://bit.ly/2ImOqyy 

SEED Group, The Private Office of Sheikh bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, names INVAO as “exclusive” intl. blockchain investments partner http://bit.ly/2BDv5Di (this marks the second foray in crypto-assets publicized by SEED Group, scroll to last Wednesday for the first)

Haute Hijab, NY-based eCommerce startup co-founded by ex-MarkaVIP’s Ahmed Zedan, raises $2.3M in seed funding led by Cue Ball Capital with Ludlow Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Maveron, Muse Capital, AngelList and The Helm http://bit.ly/2EgXQYo 

Sector News (sectioned)

Aramex sells India unit to logistics startup Delhivery http://bit.ly/2GvKGZG

OSN officially launches low-cost Saudi offering El Farq http://bit.ly/2T5JYbo 

DMS announces the launch of its new digital ad performance product “DMS Perform http://bit.ly/2Sdfksn 


Skiplino, Bahraini digital queue service, expands into Kuwait http://bit.ly/2SNCISj 

Deliveroo launches in Kuwait with 900 restaurants http://bit.ly/2SUkLSh 

Hepsiburada, Turkey’s Amazon.com, launches it’s first foray into global markets with it’s first Arabic and English website editions http://bit.ly/2SGib24

If you lose me you know where to find me!

LEGO opens offices in Dubai to support expansion http://bit.ly/2X9bqUX 

All Egypt

Noon confirms expansion to Egypt http://bit.ly/2SMlh4A

TBWA expands to Egypt through partnership with AB Group http://bit.ly/2GtnVWd

Uber agrees to pay VAT in Egypt https://reut.rs/2Sd1uGa 

Financial Technology and Blockchain

Apple activates Apple Pay services in Saudi Arabia ahead of official launch http://bit.ly/2Gw2J1T 

STC Pay launches international remittance service in partnership with Western Union http://bit.ly/2T2TmwD 

Dubai Caesars Bluewaters will start using Lucid Pay blockchain wallet technology (already in use by Atlantis Hotel and Resort) http://bit.ly/2V5wIRy 

TradeAssets, the blockchain-powered e-marketplace for trade finance assets, is now live with 25 banks http://bit.ly/2TZLzNh 

Further Reading

Flexport, a software-focused freight forwarder, raises $1B in funding led by Softbank Vision Fund http://bit.ly/2E53Th9

Mubadala to launch a $400M fund for EU tech investments with Softbank as an investor http://bit.ly/2BFhT0F 

Dubai Ports World extends acquisition of P&O, the British freight firm, to include subsidiaries: P&O Ferries and P&O Ferrymasters http://bit.ly/2twNGMY

The re-birth of blockchain

I have along anticipated that the hype over blockchain would die off and we’ll get a more mature applicable understanding of how the technology can be used to simply make transactional, verification or contractual ledgers work more seamlessly.

Well it seems we’re finally getting there. Less over-hype and more business-as-usual.

From hotels using crypto-based wallets for on-premise transactions (above), blockhain powered trading (also above), cross border remittances powered by Ripple and custom clearance at ports (Week#15), as far as even developing a single use crypto-coin to settle cross border trade (Week#12), blockchain powered POS systems (Week #4), Islamic Digital Sukuk (Week#3), and all of Week#13‘s crypto-section.

While popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and Ripple have slipped in market valuation, that’s not a indication of it’s practical value as a technology.

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