There are more than 400 million Arabic speakers worldwide and this number is not going to decrease any time soon. Arabic is a difficult language for most people, even for those who speak it. According to Duolingo, one who is fluent in Egyptian Arabic may not fully understand Yemeni Arabic due to differences in dialect spread. Although individuals can easily navigate dialects, it can be relatively difficult for them to find the Arabic materials they need for daily life.
Dr Ihab Fikry and Ibrahim Kamel founded Almentor.net 2016 as an online video learning platform for Arabic speakers to fill the gap of this online learning material. In collaboration with hundreds of mentors, academics and experts, the platform offers courses and talks in a variety of fields, including health, humanities, technology, entrepreneurship, business management, livelihoods, drama, sports, corporate communication, and digital media. In 2016, Almentor closed at $3.5 million seed round and raised $4.5 million in a two-year series led by Egypt’s Sawari Ventures. The Dubai-based edtech Company has raised a total of $14.5 million with this Series B investment.
San Francisco and Paris-based VC firm Partech Saver Ventures, Egypt Ventures, an investor in the associate series, and Sango Capital led the round of funding. Almentor provides Arab students with the skills they need to advance their professional careers and personal lives. The platform claims to have the largest continuing learning library in the region and one of the largest libraries in the world, with offices in Dubai, Cairo and Saudi Arabia, and its video content is made in-house and in Arabic and English.
Fikry told TechCrunch, “The vision and reason behind starting Almentor is that we understand that there are more than 100 million people in our region, 90% of whom cannot learn any language properly except Arabic,” Fikry told TechCrunch. “So we wanted to get a vital state of the art platform that would change people’s ideology and help them be purposeful and focus on topics that could be taught as advanced learning.” It is very difficult to get both investors and customers on board for first time products like Almentor. According to CEO Fikry, the first challenge was to convince the investment community in the Mena region that Almentor is creating a new industry in video e-learning that “has a lot of potential for power tools in the region.”
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