July 3, 2019
Noon Academy, the Riyadh-based education technology startup is all set to expand to enter the Indian EdTech space with their platform that appeals to the masses, as they have recently announced a Series A financing round of $8.6 million – the largest in the MENA’s EdTech industry.
The company will use the funding to continue building its engineering and product teams, double down on growth in its existing markets, and launch into new markets including India
The new round of funding is Co-led by top VCs in the region Raed Ventures and STV, with the participation of other institutional investors such as Alisamiah investment as well as many high-profile angel investors including the Co-founder of Careem (The region’s first Unicorn) Abdulla Elyas, Mazen Aljubair (early investor and board member in Careem), Abdulrahman Aljadhi (CEO of Elm), and many others.
Noon Academy, which have over 2 million users in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, has transformed into a full-fledged social learning platform that allows students to study with friends in groups, compete with one another, and request top tutors on demand. On average students spend over 60 minutes on the app per visit, vastly exceeding the EdTech industry average of 14 minutes per visit.
Noon’s unique platform offers tutoring and free educational content through a ‘freemium’ revenue model that allows all users free access to basic content, and charges users for live interactive tutoring sessions with quality tutors and more advanced content. The app has attracted 2 million students, and 1,500 certified tutors to date. Noon Academy also focuses on helping students pass the Saudi general aptitude test and the achievement test, and unlike competitors, is accredited from the Saudi National Centre of Assessment (QIYAS). Recently, Noon Academy began serving students in Egypt, a key market for the platform in the Arab region.
According to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), India’s education market, estimated to grow to $5.7 billion by next year and has emerged as a lucrative opportunity for EdTech startups.
Commenting on the investment, Mohammed Aldhalaan, Co-founder and CEO of Noon Academy, said, “The biggest issue in studying isn’t comprehension; rather, it’s boredom, and that’s where Noon Academy’s unique social learning platform achieves what others can’t. Noon is transforming into an open platform, where teachers around the world can start their own educational groups, allowing exceptional teachers to organically cultivate their own following and generate additional income through excellent performance and positive reviews. This approach not only dramatically improves student motivation, but also allows exceptional teachers to teach thousands of students in one group, making high-quality education accessible and affordable to the masses.”
Raed Ventures’ Founding Partner, Omar Almajdouie added, “We see incredible promise in this industry, and in Noon Academy in particular, and look forward to seeing how Mohammed and Abdulaziz will continue to build this exciting company. Many platforms are working on accessibility of education, but Noon has a unique focus on students' motivation, which tackles the real problem students face today.”
The company is currently on a hunt to attract the right talent from across the globe to join the 90+ team members in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Bangalore (India) and Cairo (Egypt). Recently, Noon Academy’s VP of Engineering Mohan M joined the team, a veteran specialist in technology, program and product management with a 19-year career, working for some of the biggest names in technology today: Amazon, Ola, Yahoo, and Microsoft.
Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, CEO of STV, added: “With around 6 million students in Saudi Arabia alone, and far more across the wider region, providing better access to education and study opportunities has never been more important. We’re very excited about this sector and the vision of Mohammed and Abdulaziz in creating Noon academy, which combines technology with great teachers to make studying easier and more efficient for millions of students across the Middle East.”
Omar Almajdouie, Founding Partner at Raed Ventures, Hani Enaya, Partner at STV, and Abdullah Elyas, Careem Co-founder, will join Noon Academy’s Board of Directors.
Launched in 2013 with just two tutors and less than 30 students by two Saudi entrepreneurs, Mohammed Aldhalaan and Dr. Abdulaziz Alsaeed, Noon Academy today has more than 2 million students and 1,500 certified tutors in Saudi Arabia alone. It plans to enroll 50 million students in five years by expanding to other emerging markets. www.noonacademy.com
Backed by Almajdouie Holding, Raed Ventures is the leading Saudi early stage venture capital firm established in 2015 by Omar Almajdouie and Talal Alasmari. It provides funding for seed and early stage startups in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, and boasts a portfolio of 22 startups including some of MENA’s most promising and fastest growing. Raed Ventures’ interests encompass various industries including EdTech, FinTech, Logistics, Digital Health, RetailTech, Entertainment, Industrial, and Managerial Support. www.raed.vc
STV is the largest institutional technology venture capital fund in the Middle East today. With over $500 million in deployable capital, STV backs and scales some of the region’s most exciting and disruptive technology companies. STV began its operations in early 2018 and currently has offices in Riyadh and Dubai. www.stv.vc.