Riyadh, KSA (27 June 2019) – Noon Academy, , an online learning platform that operates throughout the Middle East, announced today that it has raised $8.6 million in series A funding. The round was co-led by Raed Ventures and STV with participation from institutional investor Alisamiah Investment in addition to a number of private investors including Careem co-founder Abdulla Elyas, Dr. Abdulrahman Aljadhai, CEO of Elm, and Mazen Aljubai, with support from Saudi Venture Capital company (SVC). This round represents the company’s first institutional capital raise, and the largest capital raise in 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.
Noon Academy was founded in 2013 by Mohammed Aldhalaan and Dr. Abdulaziz AlSaeed, as a simple test prep website capitalizing on the regional opportunity in private tutoring. Six years down the line and thousands of data-driven experiments later, Noon Academy 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 an active student spends over 55 minutes on the app per each day using the platform, almost four times the EdTech industry average of 14 minutes per day.
The 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 access to private 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.
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.”
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.”
Globally, EdTech funding reached $16.3bn in 2018, according to market research firm Metaari, with 76% of funding shared between the US and China alone. The sector remains on an upward trajectory as rapid advances in education mean classroom-based knowledge quickly becomes outdated, necessitating continuing education, even among experienced professionals. EdTechXGlobal predicts the EdTech market will reach $252 billion by 2020.
Noon currently employees a team of over 90, hailing from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and India to handle technology, management and supply chain issues. The Noon Academy platform relies on state-of-the-art technology and creative design, built by an experienced team of engineers, designers and content creators who improve user experience, video creation, design, scripting, and product development. Around 50 part time employees contribute to the development of original content on the app. Noon was named one of the World Economic Forums’ 100 most promising Arab Startups in 2019.
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.
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About Noon Academy
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 enrol 50 million students in five years by expanding to other emerging markets.
About RAED Ventures
Backed by Almajdouie Holding, Raed Ventures is the leading Saudi early stage venture capital firm established in 2015. 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.
STV is the largest venture capital funds management firm in the Middle East. With over $500 million in deployable capital, STV backs and scales the region’s most exciting and disruptive technology companies. STV began operations in early 2018 and has offices in Riyadh and Dubai.