Egypt’s OTO Courses raises six-figure investment for its English learning platform

Egyptian edtech OTO Courses has raised a six-figure (USD) investment in the form of a bridge round from AUC Angels & Changelabs, it announced in a statement today to MENAbytes without disclosing the exact size of the deal. OTO had previously raised a seed round from HIMangel and EdVentures in late 2018.

Founded in 2015 by Ahmed El Fadaly, Ahmed Badr & Tarek Nour, OTO Courses offers general and specialized English language courses to individuals and businesses. OTO in it its name stands for one-to-one (tutoring) and that also happens to one of its biggest USP. All the courses on its platform come with dedicated hours of one-to-one live tuition with an instructor.

The startup in a statement said that all the English instructors on its platform are selected carefully and then have to go through training before they start teaching on the platform, “OTO Courses aims to bridge the gap between traditional education and what the market really needs, by providing available and affordable quality education to anyone, anywhere, and anytime.”

It has recently also launched DardshEnglish, a dedicated platform for booking one-to-one practice (voice) sessions with English speakers. The 30-minute sessions are available in the form of bundles with the basic bundle (that comes with five sessions) priced at EGP 99 ($6). The speakers available on the platform can be filtered by their interests and fields to make it easy for users to choose the one that’s relevant to their learning needs.

Ahmed Badr, the co-founder and COO of OTO, speaking to MENAbytes about the inspiration to launch DardshEnglish, said, “Many students have shown the need for practicing the language that they are learning without the need of enrollment into a course. They wish to speak to multiple people to increase their confidence and fluency in the English language around topics they wish to expand their lexical resources on. This ranges from general topics such as travel or food to more specific topics such as Marketing or Tourism and that is what DardshEnglish helps with.”

He also explained that the students using DardshEnglish are promised to learn at least 3 new words and know how to place them in 3 sentences during a 30-minute session with an expert English speaker on their chosen topic, “Students join DardshEnglish in order to increase their confidence and English language fluency. Students of all levels are encouraged to join. They don’t have to stick to one speaker and have the freedom of choosing from the many speakers available. They can book slots as close as 4 hours from now.”

OTO Courses claims to have delivered more than 350,000 online hours so far to over 15,000 learners and has over 150 instructors on its platform. The Egyptian startup has also been working with many business clients to help their employees improve their English language skills.

OTO plans to use the latest investment to further develop its platform and win a bigger market share as the traditional educational centers in Egypt that teach the English language remain closed due to the pandemic.

Karim Samra, the founder of Changelabs, said, “OTO is a perfect example of the kind of innovative thinking and strong leadership Changelabs is looking for in the Egyptian and broader regional startup scene. The company addresses a massive gap in the market, is led by an empathetic and brilliant management team, and has built a differentiated leading-edge technology platform that clearly sets it apart. We’re excited to continue supporting the company in the next phase of its exponential growth.”

Khaled Ismail, chairman of HIMangel which invested in OTO at an early stage, said, “The Power of one-on-one teaching, when it comes to languages, is something that OTO understood early on and has capitalized on. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to language teaching, and that is why we strongly believe in OTO’s future growth.”


Zubair Naeem Paracha
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