Saudi e-learning platform LEORON takes funding from Olive Rock Partners

Steven Loeb · July 11, 2024 · Short URL:

The MENA region has seen a surge of edtech funding in recent years

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has seen a big rise in edtech funding in recent years, growing from $2 million in 2017 to $21 million by the end of 2019, then doubling that 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. Meanwhile, the Middle East edtech market was valued at $4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.89% until 2030.

The latest edtech company in the region to take on funding is LEORON Institute, a provider of e-learning, corporate training courses, and professional development services. The company announced an investment from Olive Rock Partners, an independent private equity firm based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, on Thursday; the amount of funding was not disclosed.

Founded in 2010, and headquartered in Saudi Arabia, LEORON is a corporate training and edtech company, providing learning and development solutions in corporate functions including corporate finance, HR, procurement and SCM, technology, quality, operations, and engineering. Services include training needs analysis, competency development and assessment, and custom-built e-Learning solutions that cater to specific industries and knowledge areas.

Through instructor-led sessions, in-company training, and coaching, the company's faculty of experts deliver over 1,200 programs annually to over 25,000 professionals.

With this new funding, LEORON said it plans to grow throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, which include the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

“Olive Rock Partners investment in LEORON provides the necessary capital and strategic support to enhance and diversify our educational offerings. By leveraging this opportunity, LEORON is well-positioned to lead the corporate training and EdTech space, delivering unparalleled value and innovation in professional development,” Arben Jusufi, co-founder of LEORON, said in a statement. 

This round marks Olive Rock’s first Saudi investment through its maiden fund, Olive Rock Partners Equity Fund I, LP, which targets growth capital and late-stage investments in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

As part of the funding, Olive Rock founding partners Muhannad Qubbaj and Abdullah Shahin have joined the board of directors at LEORON.

“We are excited to partner with Arben, Val, and their talented team to support LEORON in its next stage of regional growth and commitment to their clients’ success,” Muhannad Qubbaj said in a statement.

“We believe their robust and differentiated platform is well-positioned to provide its expanding services and skilling offerings to a growing set of institutional, corporate, and individual partners. We look forward to jointly continuing the regional and global expansion of LEORON network and in the coming future.”  

Edtech funding in MENA

Other Middle Eastern companies that have raised funding in recent years include Noon, a social learning platform company based in Saudi Arabia that raised a $41 million Series B in November, while another Saudi company, iStoria, an edtech app that helps people improve their English language through reading stories, which raised $1.33 million in January.

There's also Loora, an Israeli e-learning app that allows its users to learn and speak English, which raised $12 million in March and Lamsa, which means “touch” in Arabic, a platform dedicated to early childhood learning, offering entertaining education to children, data and insights for teachers and an opportunity for co-playing with parents. That company has raised $1 million in funding. 

Others include Orcas, an Egyptian edtech startup providing tutoring services, which raised $2.1 million in a pre-Series A funding round in 2022; Almentor, a UAE-based video learning platform, a $10 million round in March 2023; and Abwaab, a Jordanian online learning platform, which raised $20 million in a Series A round in 2021. 

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