Dubai-based Amanat Holdings, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s largest education and healthcare investment company, has made an 18.4 million dirham (£3.85 million) investment in Begin, a New York-based ed tech company, which forms part of its Series C financing round.

As part of the investment, Amanat becomes Begin’s ‘principal strategic partner’ in the MENA region.

Begin provides the Homer early learning educational platform aimed at children aged between two and eight.

Amanat joins Begin’s pool of investors, which includes Lego Ventures, Sesame Workshop, Gymboree Play & Music, 3One4 Capital, Trustbridge Partners and Interlock Partners. 

Begin co-founder and chief executive Neal Shenoy said: “Begin is partnering with the largest, most recognised brands in international children’s education, entertainment, and technology to reimagine the early learning journey starting with parents and children at home. We look forward to our strategic partnership with Amanat to expand across the region supported by their strong positioning in the education sector.”

Amanat stated that this is its first-ever venture capital investment and is in line with its strategic goal of investing in rapidly-growing education and healthcare technology players, with attractive business models, strong management teams, regional growth aspirations and a clear path to profitability in the short-to-medium term.

The company added that the transaction demonstrates its commitment to playing a key role in the ongoing digitalisation of the education and healthcare sectors in the region, which have been further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Mohamad Hamade, chief executive of Amanat, said: “Our investment in Begin represents a major milestone for Amanat given the influential impact of disruptive technologies on the sectors we invest in. 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 amongst global players in this space.

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

“This transaction taps into our corporate ventures investment allocation to develop and establish partnerships with leading international providers whose business models are transferrable to the region and integrated to derive value and create a source of accelerated development and competitive differentiation.”

In July, the United Arab Emirates-listed private equity firm sold its position in Middlesex University Dubai.

Date published: 19 October 2020

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