US-based VCs investing in MENA edtech companies

Steven Loeb · July 9, 2024 · Short URL:

500 Global has made a number of investments, along with NFX Ventures, GSV Ventures, and Partech

While edtech funding has certainly slowed in recent years, there's still a lot of opportunity, and not just in the U.S. 

Take the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, for example, where funding for edtech companies has been growing significantly in recent years, rising from $2 million in 2017 to $21 million by the end of 2019, then doubling to more than $50 million in 2021. At the same time, the number of edtech startups more than tripled from 270 in 2017 to 800.

TheMiddle East edtech market was valued at $4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.89% until 2030.

Not surprisingly, with that kind of expected growth, US-based VCs have begun to take notice, investing in edtech companies in the region, including NFX Ventures, which participated in a $13 million round in Noon, a social learning platform company based in Saudi Arabia, in June. The company is also backed by Outliers Venture Capital and 500 Global. NFX also invested in Orcas, an Egyptian edtech startup providing tutoring services, which raised $2.1 million in a pre-Series A funding round in 2022.

Another U.S.-based investor that has made edtech investments in MENA is Partech, which led a $6.5 million round in a Series B round in Almentor, a UAE-based video learning platform.

In addition to its investment in Noon, 500 Global has also put money into a number of other MENA-based edtech companies including: eveloper of ed-tech platform and education management system; rovider of an online educational platform intended to prepare for English proficiency tests; Monkibo, a provider of learning subscription services in the UAE; and Myu, a Kuwaiti developer of a communication platform designed to facilitate proper communication with the school community.

Additional investments include Playbook, based in Bahrain, a developer of education platform designed to bridge the global gender gap and get more women into leadership roles; and Lebanese company Ostaz, developer of a mobile-based tutoring platform intended to connect students seeking help in a specific course to private tutors.

GSV Ventures, which focuses on edtech investments, has also made investments in Middle Eastern edtech startups, including Abwaab, a Jordanian online learning platform, which raised $20 million in a Series A round in 2021. Brooklyn-based 4DX Ventures has also invested in the company.   

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