Dubai-based edtech startup Educatly wants to be the LinkedIn for higher education

Launched by former LinkedIn employees, Dubai-based edtech startup Educatly connects students to higher education opportunities at leading universities across 150 countries, and provides universities with access to a global student market.

Dubai-based edtech startup Educatly wants to be the LinkedIn for higher education

Friday December 23, 2022,

5 min Read

Three former LinkedIn employees keen to provide easy and transparent access to educational opportunities worldwide came together in 2020 to launch Dubai-based edtech startup Educatly.

Mohamed ElSonbaty, Abdelrahman Ayman, and Joan Manuel were well aware of how fragmented the higher education ecosystem is, and wanted to help both stakeholders – students and universities - make an informed decision.

Educatly is an innovative software platform that helps higher education students study abroad at international universities of their choice, and gives universities access to a global student market so they can recruit students more efficiently.

Based out of in5 Tech, a business incubator by TECOM Group PJSC, Educatly’s student community has increased 5X, from 100,000 to 500,000, in the last nine months and represents more than 150 countries and territories.

The startup presently has offices in Dubai, Dublin, and Cairo.

What does Educatly do?

Inspired by LinkedIn’s platform, Educatly aims to simplify processes for students keen to study abroad. This will help attract more international students to Dubai while connecting students from the region to global universities.

Educatly Founder and CEO Mohmmed El Sonbaty said, “The global appetite for transnational student education has bounced back since the pandemic. Our platform provides students with opportunities to enrol at leading international universities around the world.”

The founder said the edtech startup had seen a spike in interest in students from the UAE joining the platform and was witnessing further growth with Dubai emerging as “the next international higher education destination”.


The business incubator by TECOM Group PJSC: in5 Tech

Educatly helps students zero in on the right courses in leading international universities across the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, UAE, GCC countries, and more. It helps in the entire process of the studying abroad journey - from selecting a course and applying to universities to uploading documents and getting a visa.

Students can later use their experience and work as ambassadors to help other students enrol at universities around the world.

For universities and colleges, it functions as a student recruitment platform that helps generate interest from international students. The software platform centralises lead generation, applications, and enrolments for institutions, offering real-time analytics and reports and helping grow transnational student numbers more efficiently and effectively.

It works with more than 3,000 universities, offering over 130,000 degrees, and has active recruitment agreements with 500 of them.

Taking the SaaS route

Educatly’s new software-as-a-service (SaaS) has helped it grow, increasing the monthly recurring revenue more than 28% month over month. The built-in coding and design implements a smart recommendation feature – a matchmaking algorithm that links students to relevant degrees, universities, and countries, based on their requirements.

The system automatically informs university partners of new leads and profiles to facilitate student recruitment. This feature is vital to creating a networking effect and building Educatly’s social media platform.

The startup is currently working on usage of blockchain for data verification, which is essential to provide legitimate student records to relevant universities. This is also important for students who want to further their education overseas because obtaining original copies of their degrees elsewhere may be a challenge.

The growing appetite for edtech

A report by global market research company ReportLinker says the edtech and smart classroom market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is expected to grow from $3,565 million in 2019 to $7,626.1 million by 2027. It is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% from 2020 to 2027.

Aditya Mittal, Vice President, Aramis Partners, said the Middle East, particularly the UAE, has recovered well from the COVID pandemic and witnessed a significant uptick in the number of schools opening in the region.

Startups like Knowledge Planet and larger educational organisations like Gems Education are operating in the region.

But Educatly’s aim to digitally map and integrate the world education ecosystems and build for education what LinkedIn has built for jobs helps it stand apart.

In November 2021, the startup raised $1 million in a pre-seed round of funding led by Enterprise Ireland, the Falak Startups, and other angel investors. The funds are being used to develop the product, amp up recruitment, and scale marketing and sales operations.

Educatly welcomed Head of LinkedIn's MENA and EMEA growth markets, Ali Matar, to its Board of Advisors just last month to help it work towards the goal of building the world's top higher education network.

On behalf of in5, Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City, said they were proud to have Educatly as one of in5 Tech's startups as it had demonstrated impressive growth despite launching business amid a global pandemic.

He said Educatly's SaaS offering demonstrates the startup’s strategic alignment with UAE's Digital Transformation, Sustainability, and other initiatives.

“Their presence at in5 gives us the opportunity to showcase the diversity of promising startups in our city and region, while providing the most extraordinary with a global platform for their unique ideas,” Majed Al Suwaidi said.

Edited by Teja Lele