Jordan-based online learning platform Abwaab has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round (following a $5 million seed round in March of this year), making it one of the most funded edtech startups in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP), a region that encompasses 160 million students.
The round was led by existing investor BECO Capital (UAE) and joined by 4DX Ventures (USA), GSV Ventures (USA), Watar Partners (KSA) and others. Founded in late 2019, the startup has expanded from Jordan into Egypt and Pakistan.
Founders Hamdi Tabbaa, Sabri Hakim and Hussein AlSarabi position their platform at secondary school students, offering content tailored to local curricula, filling the gaps in educational resources available online, while tackling the region’s high dependence on offline tutoring.
On web and native apps, students participate in lessons, get feedback and join discussion boards.
Abwaab has experienced strong growth during the pandemic-halted lockdown, when children were unable to attend normal schooling.
Abwaab on tablet. Image Credits: Abwaab
In Jordan, where it has an active freemium subscription model, students are paying a one-off subscription to unlock access to the platform for the whole academic year.
It claims to have grown by 10x in the number of active users throughout the 2020/21 academic year. It previously acquired Pakistani edtech startup Edmatrix.
Hamdi Tabbaa, Abwaab’s co-founder and CEO, said, “Our mission since inception has been to make learning more accessible, affordable and fun, by building a comprehensive ecosystem that changes the way students learn, while also equipping them with the tools needed to get ahead in life.”
BECO Capital’s Abdulaziz Shikh Al Sagha said: “Abwaab is on a clear path to establishing themselves as market leaders within the region and we are proud to have had the chance to further deepen our partnership with Hamdi, Sabri, Hussein and the whole Abwaab team.”
Peter Orth, Managing Partner at 4DX Ventures added: “We believe very much in Abwaab’s mission to make high quality, outcome-driven education more affordable and accessible, and we believe that they are poised to become the dominant in the MENAP region.”
Its competitors include offline tutoring centers as well as Noon Academy (a Saudi-based social learning platform); EdKasa (a Pakistan-based test prep app); and Ashtar (an Egypt-based learning app).
Abwaab says it competes on the basis of offering micro-lessons that match every country’s national curriculum in bite sizes; assessments for test prep; chat or video tutoring; and a low annual US$15 subscription, which compares to the cost of one hour of tutoring.