Saudi Arabia’s Noon Academy raises $13m in funding round led by STV


Edtech start-up to use funds for expansion, including opening a new hub in London where its product, design and data science teams will be based.

Noon Academy founders Mohammed Aldhalaan and ​Abdulaziz Alsaeed. The education technology start-up raised $13 million in a funding round led by Riyadh-based venture capital fund STV. Courtesy STV

Saudi Arabia’s education technology start-up Noon Academy secured $13 million (Dh47.7m) in its second funding round led by Riyadh-based Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) to finance its expansion plans.

Additional investors in the so-called “pre-B” round include Alturki Holding and Ahmed El Kalla’s NFX Ventures, according to a joint statement by Noon Academy and STV,  the three-year old fund anchored by Saudi Telecom Company.

“With this investment, we’re aiming to bring together 50 million students and tutors from around the world by 2023,” Mohammed Aldhalaan, co-founder and chief executive of Noon Academy, said.

The latest round builds on the Series A funding, also led by venture capital fund STV, in which Noon Academy raised $8.6m in June 2019. Start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa secured $277m in funding during the first quarter of 2020, up 2 per cent year-on-year, according to data platform Magnitt.

The company will use the new funds to develop its products and expand its footprint, it said.

Noon Academy plans to direct the new investment towards opening a hub in London where the company’s product, design, and data science teams will be based.

Noon Academy said that since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, it effectively doubled its user base to more than six million registered users.

The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted daily life across much of the world. The number of students affected by school and university closures in 138 countries has nearly quadrupled to 1.37 billion, about 80 per cent of the world’s student population, according to a March 24 report by Unesco. This means more than three out of four children and youth worldwide were affected and nearly 60.2 million teachers were no longer in classrooms, although partial reopenings have begun as lockdown measures ease in various countries.

With the dates for a wider reopening still uncertain as fears of a second wave of infections grow in many countries, focus has shifted to developing and offering virtual learning courses, which has accelerated the growth of EdTech companies during the global pandemic.

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