UAE's Amanat invests Dh18.4m in US education technology company BEGiN

The deal will help the New York-based company expand its reach in the Mena region

Amanat Holdings is investing in education technology companies, with a new survey suggesting that online learning will continue after Covid-19. Courtesy Pearson
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Amanat Holdings invested Dh18.4 million in US education technology company BEGiN during a Series C financing round.

The Dubai-listed company becomes BEGiN's principal strategic partner in the Mena region, it said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares trade.

The deal is its first venture capital investment and the funds will be used to help the New York company exploit business development opportunities in the region.

“We believe this is an ideal time to invest in education and healthcare technology ... to evolve our current portfolio, as well as position Amanat as a strategic regional partner among global players in this space,” Amanat chief executive Dr Mohamad Hamade said.

“We are looking at opportunities that are changing the provision of conventional academia ... we believe there is potential for further acquisitions of this nature down the line.”

Amanat joins early investors in BEGiN such as Lego Ventures, Sesame Workshop, Gymboree Play and Music, 3One4 Capital, Trustbridge Partners and Interlock Partners.

Its education portfolio includes Abu Dhabi University Holding Company, Middlesex University Dubai and school operator Taaleem. The company’s paid-up capital is Dh2.5 billion.

BEGiN, which unveiled its early learning programme called "Home Learn and Grow" this month, is focused on the education of children between the ages of two and eight.

The company's chief executive and co-founder Neal Shenoy said it is partnering with the largest and most recognised brands in "international children’s education, entertainment and technology to reimagine the early learning journey, starting with parents and children at home”.

Amanat intends to play a central role in the digitisation of the education sector, which has been hastened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has spurred a shift to online learning and measures introduced during the outbreak are expected to continue after Covid-19, according to a new global study by Pearson Education.

Pearson Education, which provides education content and assessment services to schools and corporations, said the pandemic had created fundamental and permanent changes in education across the world.

About nine in 10 people expect pupils and students to continue with online learning, it found. The majority of the survey's respondents said a return to the days where learning took place only in the classroom is unlikely.