UAE-Based Edtech Startup Ostaz Is On A Mission To Become A One-Stop-Shop For Education Since its launch in 2018 in Lebanon, Ostaz -which was formerly known as Synkers- has been growing from strength to strength, with it now able to boast of the presence of over 1,000 subject matter experts on the platform.

By Aby Sam Thomas

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For an online learning platform that offers personalized and affordable learning experiences, Ostaz is very aptly named, given that it means "teacher" in Arabic- although it must be said that one would be hard pressed to find a human educator who can -like this UAE-headquartered edtech startup- claim to have provided 90,000 tutoring hours to more than 60,000 students across the MENA region.

"We offer online private tutoring for all subjects: university courses, school subjects, languages, soft skills, prep tests, and more," says Ostaz co-founder and CEO Audrey Nakad. "Our platform includes an online learning management system that allows students to easily access resources, take assessments, and communicate with their tutors."

Since its launch in 2018 in Lebanon, Ostaz -which was formerly known as Synkers- has been growing from strength to strength, with it now able to boast of the presence of over 1,000 subject matter experts on the platform, as well as tie-ups with leading educational institutions in the region like the American University of Dubai, American University of Beirut, and University of Sharjah in the UAE.

Ostaz is today also a part of the Abu Dhabi-based global tech ecosystem Hub71, which, according to Nakad, has allowed it to grow and scale to new markets in the GCC through a localized technology platform, as well as partnerships with leading educational groups to connect with teachers and students in bulk. In fact, in January this year, Ostaz announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Education that will see it provide tutoring services and after-school support to about 30,000 students in the UAE capital.

Ostaz came into being after Nakad's sister (and Ostaz co-founder), Sibyelle, who was studying in Canada at the time, found it difficult to find qualified tutors who could accommodate both her learning needs and her budget. Meanwhile, Nakad herself, who used to be a tutor then, found it difficult to simply find students to offer her services to.

"It was then that we both recognized that this problem was very common among most learners and tutors," Nakad recalls. "We launched Ostaz to address this problem, and we saw an immediate demand, particularly from parents searching for qualified, vetted, and affordable private tutors for their children. Within a year, we had acquired 3,000 students, and we have since helped over 60,000 learners achieve their educational goals through personalized learning journeys."

Source: Ostaz

Today, Nakad says that Ostaz's vision is to become the leading provider of online private tutoring and after-school programs in the MENA region. "Our goal is to be a one-stop-shop for education, and to make sure every learner has the opportunity to succeed," Nakad declares. "We achieve this by providing an adaptive learning avatar that offers 24/7 support for students who may be struggling in class, or employees who need help in their work. We believe that everyone has the right to excel, and to receive the appropriate support."

EUREKA! Audrey Nakad on how to make an idea a great one

1. Identify a real problem "Understand the need of your target audience and what they are looking for."

2. Research and gather inspiration "Look at existing solutions, industry trends, customer needs, and new technologies, and gather inspiration from various sources like books, articles, competitors, and other industries."

3. Brainstorm and generate ideas "Gather a diverse group of people with different perspectives, and brainstorm a variety of ideas. Don't limit yourself, or discard an idea too quickly."

4. Refine and evaluate ideas "Narrow down the list of ideas, and evaluate them based on feasibility, scalability, and potential impact."

Ostaz is one of the companies included in the 2023 edition of our annual 10 Great Ideas feature, which, as an ode to the UAE Innovation Month, celebrates individuals and innovations that impress with their ingenuity. Check out the full list of 10 Great Ideas in our print issue here.

Related: COTU Ventures Founder Amir Farha Wants To Transform The Culture Of Early-Stage Investing In The Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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