A new EdTech startup contender, Orcas, has raised $500K in a pre-Series A. The funding round was led by Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s leading VC fund, with participation from NFX Capital.
Orcas is a mobile application that connects parents as well as students with their tutors and babysitters. By doing so is address one of the major pain points of all parties involved when it comes to parenting, caretaking and raising children.
Over 50% of Egypt's 22 million students receive private tutoring. The platform helps parents search for specialised tutors from a large database that provides ratings and reviews; instead of relying on suggestions from competing peers and overbooked expensive tutors.
We saw that there were very few flexible work opportunities for university students, but that there was a huge need for qualified and trusted tutors. We solved this problem by creating a platform for them to connect - creating jobs for young people as educators while simultaneously providing school-age students with the best tutors for them.Hossam Taher, CEO of Orcas
Orcas currently operates in Cairo, Alexandria, El Gouna, and the North Coast, and already has over 20,000 students using the application since its inception in 2014.
Private tutoring has shown to provide a lot of benefits to students, and better grades are just one aspect. It used to be a luxury very few people could afford but now through tech-enabled platforms like Orcas, a much wider group of students can reap the personalised tutoring benefits.
Commenting on the investment, Amira El Gharib, Orcas’ Chief Growth Officer said, ‘Our students, parents, and partners are our primary focus. We will use this investment to develop our product offering and scale our operational capacity with the end goal of optimising user experience for all our stakeholders.
This summer, Orcas is going to launch a new feature, called Discoveries. Designed with school summer vacations in mind, Orcas Discoveries are events that allow children to expand their horizons and explore a range of exciting activities.Hossam Taher, CEO of Orcas
Speaking about plans for the immediate future since raising this round, Taher spoke about the introduction of a new feature called Discoveries; it will offer students extracurricular activities, “everything from cooking and coding workshops to art, culture, and music trips in a variety of languages - they’re designed to safely engage children while developing their skills and enriching their experiences."
Orcas is a great platform that is not only addressing concerns of parents and students wanting private tutoring, but also the ones of teachers and highly educated university students wanting to impart knowledge while doing a reputable side job. It has levelled the playing field, bringing the benefits of private tutoring to more Egyptians, and created a new job market to help the economy grow.
EdTech startups are doing what has been the concern of the education system since a few decades now. Every student is different, with different skillsets, passions, talent and learning abilities. While schools are great to instill social skills in students, they often fail to cater to each student’s needs. This is where private tutoring can plug the gap.
Orcas complements strained traditional educational institutions by connecting students with specialised tutors who enable individualised learning. The one-size-fits-all model is leaving many young people behind, and the market is ripe for technological disruption.Algebra Ventures spokesperson
Orcas is Algebra’s second investment in a learning platform in the Middle East after backing Little Thinking Minds in 2018.
Egypt’s Orcas was previously known as “Cairo Sitters” which gained a loyal customer base in the country. It later pivoted to education, and is now expanding its benefits to a range of extra-curricular activities for students with Discoveries, helping them make the most of their holidays. We’re looking forward to seeing whether the startup expands further in the region, extending its benefits for students and educated people looking to spread their knowledge.
At SME10X, we are always excited to see how startups are fixing the issues that plague our world, and drive not only the economy, but also the society forward. Orcas is one such startup that will positively impact the ability of the current young generation of Egyptians who will enter the workforce in the coming decade.