A Saudi startup comes to India, hoping to disrupt its education sector

BCCL
Saudi-based leading education technology startup Noon Academy on Wednesday said it was foraying into India to disrupt its EdTech space on the social learning app.

"We have recently raised $8.6 million (Rs 47 crore) through series A financing round to enter India on our platform that appeals to the masses," said the startup in a statement here.

The new round of funding was co-led by venture capitalists (VCs) in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region like Raed Ventures and STV with institutional investors such as Alisamiah.

Based at Riyadh in the desert kingdom, the 6-year-old Academy will also use a part of the new fund to build engineering and product teams, double its growth and enter new markets like India.

"The app, which has over 2 million students and 1,500 certified tutors in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, allows them to study with friends in groups, compete with one another and request tutors on demand," said the statement.

Students spend an hour on the app per visit, exceeding the EdTech industry average of 14 minutes per visit.

"Our digital platform (app) offers tutoring and free content through a afreemium' revenue model that allows users free access to basic content and charges them for live interactive tutoring sessions, with tutors and advanced content," said the statement.

According to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), the education market, estimated to grow to $5.7 billion by 2020, has emerged as a lucrative opportunity for EdTech startups.

"Our app is transforming into an open platform, where teachers the world over can start educational groups, allowing other tutors to cultivate their following and generate additional income through performance and positive reviews," said Academy co-founder and Chief Executive Mohammed Aldhalaan in the statement.

The company is scouting for talent to join its 90-member team at Riyadh, Bengaluru and Cairo in Egypt.

Veteran technology specialist in programme and product management M. Mohan, who worked at Amazon, Microsoft, Ola and Yahoo over the last 19 years, has recently joined the Academy as vice-president (engineering).

Raed Ventures founding partner Omar Almajdouie, STV partner Hani Enaya and institutional investor Careem co-founder Abdullah Elyas will join Academy's board of directors soon.
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