UAE Edtech Startup Lamsa World Secures Investment From MBRIF

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The Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), a fund sponsored by the Ministry of Finance, and operated by Emirates Development Bank, has announced financial investment (in the form of a loan) in Lamsa World, an educational and entertainment platform and app for children in the Arab world. MBRIF was founded with an objective to provide monetary support to local innovators in the areas of renewable energy, transportation, education, health, water, technology and space. Applicants must be residents of the UAE, or have their company registered in the UAE.

Lamsa delivers interactive content that has a Finnish framework in the fields of early childhood education, and according to a statement, the SME aims to utilize the current funding boost to collaborate with education and child development experts globally, and across the MENA region with a view to develop its proprietary technology that’s adapted to Arabic.

“With this funding, Lamsa World will expand its research and development activities, bringing advanced technologies and new characters to the region’s education,” says the statement. "The MBRIF funding will facilitate geographic expansion. Already, in the family and kids categories, we are the number one app on both Google Play and the Apple App Store across more than 10 markets in the MENA region. This is indicative of the significant momentum that Lamsa has gained over the past five years, and we expect to build heavily on this progress as a result of the funding we have received," says Lamsa World founder and CEO, Badr Ward.

Image credit: Lamsa World.

Commenting on the investment, Haytham Kamhiyah, CEO, Emirates Development Bank, said: “We’re excited to announce our partnership with Lamsa as they accelerate the adoption of e-learning and original digital content in the region. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund recognizes the innovation at the heart of Lamsa’s product and their commitment to solving local challenges. As MBRIF’s portfolio grows, we continue to identify and engage with entrepreneurs who are pushing the limits of innovation to bring unique ideas and solutions to life.”

Speaking about Lamsa's business proposition, founder and CEO Ward, said: “There is a notable need for higher quality across the board when it comes to Arabic language. Lamsa is successfully confronting this linguistic deficit by providing high-quality Arabic language content for children throughout the Middle East. With a team of 22 experts across a range of fields -from early childhood development and education to graphic design and augmented reality technologies- we are delivering a cutting-edge product that has a track record in these regional challenges.” 

Commenting on the funding ecosystem for SMEs in the region, Ward adds, "Small businesses seeking growth funding have had limited options. There are certainly more and more up-and-coming venture capital companies, however, they largely tend to focus on early-stage startups and seed funding. Conversely, private equity companies generally concentrate on late stage investments. MBRIF has successfully addressed this gap in the market by providing growth funding options."

Lamsa’s platform hosts a library of content (tailored for children aged up to 12 years old) including stories, games and videos that are incorporated with the local Arabic flavor and values, and meet international standards. Lamsa is available across Android and iOS platforms, and in 2017, the app reports to have recorded over four million downloads, with total cumulative downloads exceeding 12 million, currently.

Related: Google Launches Arabic Digital Skills Program 'Maharat Min Google' To Nurture MENA's Youth