Egyptian founders raise over $800,000 in London to help people discover their learning needs

London-based EdTech startup Knowledge Officer has raised £600,000 (~$834,000) in a seed round led by Middle Eastern angel investor Abdullah AlShaheen and joined by Ian Hurlock who was previously a VP at Fox Interactive Media. The startup was initially bootstrapped for almost a year.

Founded by two Egyptians, Ahmed El-Sharkasy who was previously with Cairo-based startup Bkam and Ahmed Eshra, who has previously worked in engineering roles for different companies in Saudi and Egypt, Knowledge Officer offers users an engaging learning experience through its app (currently iOS only) by learning about them and their career goals.

After user joins the platform, they select their topics of interest and identify current level of knowledge in each one of them on the application. Knowledge Officer then offers a personalized learning path for the user path with curated resources in form of articles and videos. Along their journey, users are challenged with engaging quizzes that assess their learning progress and help them fill any gaps. The app also rewards users with learning credits as they make progress.

“We see the world is shifting into discovery and recommendation more than search. You open netflix and watch the recommended films, you do the same with Spotify to listen to the best relevant music and even with Amazon, people are discovering items that they even did not know they want to buy! And as you don’t know what you don’t know, we want our product to serve the future of recommendation and discovery in education and learning,” Ahmed, the co-founder & CEO of Knowledge Officer told MENAbytes.

“You just tell us more about yourself and what are your career goals and we take you on an the best and most engaging learning experience step by step. You don’t want to go to a MOOC to search for courses because you probably don’t know what you need to search for,” he added.

Their timing to bring such a product to market couldn’t have been better. Facebook is no longer the right place to discover content you would like to learn about, LinkedIn has its own issues. There is so much noise on almost all the social media platforms that you can never rely on them to help you discover content (on regular basis in a structured way) that could help you progress in your career. Knowledge Officer does just that.

There are some similar products in the market but Ahmed thinks Knwoledge Officer has a different value proposition in many ways.

“We are the first to talk about the idea of personalized and also goal-oriented learning recommendation based on career goals. The rest are generally “Learning” platforms: learn how to code, learn new skills, etc,” he told us. “We are “curating” content while the rest are “creating” their own content which we believe won’t scale as fast as us.
These solutions are good if you know what you don’t know. Our product helps you reveal the unknown and answer the question of “What should I learn today” based on your profile and goals.”

Knowledge Officer also claims to be the first to talk about the idea of filtering clickbait in context of knowledge and building a machine learning model that will help people cut through noise.

Since launching its MVP in January last year, they have been able to attract over 1,000 users.

The startup plans to follow freemium model for individual users, making money with paid subscriptions in the process. They also intend to launch a premium model for SMEs at a later stage.

Knowledge Officer will use the investment to grow their team and achieve product-market fit. They currently have ten in their team working from two offices in London and Alexandria.

Update: A previous version of this article (incorrectly) suggested that there were more than two investors who participated in the round. That error has been fixed now. 

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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