Egyptian startup Orcas has raised $500 000 in a pre-Series A funding round led by Egyptian venture capital (VC) fund Algebra Ventures, with participation from NFX Capital.
Orcas is a mobile application that connects parents and students with tutors and babysitters.
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The startup was founded in 2014 by Hossam Taher (pictured above with team mates, second from left), a medical doctor by training, when he was a student himself, and Amira El Gharib (pictured above, front right).
Orcas, which has raised $500k in a round led by Algebra Ventures, claims over 20,000 app sign-ups
Orcas currently operates in the capital Cairo and Egyptian cities of Alexandria, El Gouna and also covers the north coast.
In a statement today the startup claimed that over 20,000 students have signed up to its app.
Said Tahir: “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.”
El Gharib, who serves as Orcas’ chief growth officer, said the startup plans to use the investment to develop its product offering and scale the company with the end goal of optimising user experience for stakeholders.
Orcas is Algebra’s second investment in a learning platform in the Middle East after backing Little Thinking Minds last year.
In Egypt over 50% of the country’s 22 million students receive private tutoring every year.
Commenting in the same statement, an Algebra spokesperson said Orcas complements strained traditional educational institutions by connecting students with specialised tutors who enable individualised learning.
NFX Capital managing partner Ahmed Elkalla said in the same statement that Orcas and other tech-enabled tutoring platforms are delivering today on what academic research promised more than 20 years ago.
“Students who are tutored one-to-one perform significantly better than students who learn via conventional instructional methods.
“This 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,” he said.
Taher said the startup plans to launch a new feature, called Discoveries, for the school holidays that will allow children to explore a range of activities — from cooking and coding workshops to art, culture, and music trips.
Featured image: Orcas founder Hossam Taher (second from left) with Amira El Gharib (front right) and other team members (Supplied)