Coded Minds expands footprint in US & Canada

Dr. Gina Cherkowski, founder of EdgeMakers STEM Learning Lab, and Omar Farooqui, founder and president of Coded Minds, at the signing ceremony.
Updated 26 November 2019

Coded Minds expands footprint in US & Canada

Coded Minds, a Gulf-based education technology company, has taken a giant stride toward expanding its product as well as geographical footprint by acquiring an EdgeMakers STEM Learning Lab, an innovative education company in the US and Canada. Alarabi Investments out of DIFC will be joined by 8 Roads (Fidelity’s venture arm) and Avalon Ventures out of San Francisco Bay Area. All parties associated with this transaction wanted to keep the overall value of the transaction private for now.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the US and Calgary Alberta, Canada, the acquired company provides cutting-edge STEM/STEAM, innovation and leadership education, professional development and design thinking programs for kids and teachers in Canada, the US and rest of the Americas. As per Crunchbase the shareholders include 8 Roads as well as Avalon Ventures. 

Omar Farooqui, founder and president of Coded Minds, said this is the first time a 100 percent acquisition has been made by a Gulf-based private education company in the US and Canada. “EdgeMakers, an elite 50-member education team, will merge into Coded Minds and become part of its global educational offerings,” he said.

Earlier this year, the company announced the closing of its first round of funding from Alarabi Investments, which has valued Coded Minds at 44 million dirhams ($12 million). It is expected that this transaction will increase the overall value by more than double. 

Farooqui, a Saudi national, announced that following this acquisition, the global best practice and STEM 2.0 curriculum will now be available in all regions where Coded Minds is operating currently. “Coded Minds continues to grow in multiple geographies. This acquisition has given the company an overnight global status and a foothold into the lucrative US and Canadian markets,” he added.

Dr. Gina Cherkowski, founder of EdgeMakers STEM Learning Lab, believes that the merger is an opportunity for the company to contribute in improving the quality of education in different parts of the world. 

“Being part of a global company will provide us an excellent opportunity to be global leaders in 21st century education through our innovative new partnerships in the Middle East, throughout Asia and across the globe brought about through this transaction,” she said. 

Alarabi Investments, which had invested earlier this year in Coded Minds, have seen their investment multiplied. 

CEO Mohammad Alghaith said: “At Alarabi Investments, we aim to create value for our investors through investments that deliver change, value, and impact. And the expansion of Coded Minds into new markets is part of our investment strategy to seek high growth and global reach.” 

Rich Levandov, a partner at Avalon Ventures associated closely with this transaction, said: “Avalon and EdgeMakers are excited to join forces with Coded Minds to extend the mission of EdgeMakers on a worldwide basis.”


Burj Al-Arab named No. 1 city hotel in MENA

Updated 13 July 2020

Burj Al-Arab named No. 1 city hotel in MENA

Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah, the crown jewel in hospitality leader Jumeirah Group’s portfolio and global icon of luxury, has been named the No. 1 city hotel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by Travel + Leisure at its World’s Best Awards.

Every year, Travel + Leisure — one of the largest travel media brands in the US — provides its 6 million plus readers the chance to have their say in choosing the most outstanding destinations, hotels, resorts, spas, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators and rental car agencies around the world as part of its annual survey. This year marks 25 years of celebrating the best in travel, with Burj Al-Arab recognized on the “World’s Best” list for its hospitality excellence, intuitive luxury service and iconic appeal.

Currently celebrating two decades of operations, the hotel is renowned across the globe for its boundary-pushing architecture and innovative design, with the team going above and beyond to create bespoke experiences for guests. It is also known for culinary excellence with a collection of restaurants led by renowned chefs and overseen by Michael Ellis, chief culinary officer and former managing director of the Michelin Guide.

José Silva, chief executive officer of Jumeirah Group, said: “Burj Al-Arab represents the very pinnacle of luxury, known world-over for its elevated design, service beyond expectations and unmatched physical spaces. International recognition such as this not only reaffirms the hotel’s iconic standing on the world map but also serves as a thank you to all those who go above and beyond, every day, to make our guests’ stay truly remarkable.”

Jumeirah Group, a member of Dubai Holding and a global luxury hotel company, operates a 6,500+-key portfolio of 26 properties across the Middle East (including the flagship Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah) Europe and Asia, with more properties currently under construction around the globe.

Prioritizing the health and safety of its guests and colleagues, Jumeirah Group has implemented a series of protective measures across all of its hotels, while strictly adhering to each market’s respective government directives. Four of its hotels in Dubai were recently awarded the Bureau Veritas SafeGuard label, with Jumeirah Al-Naseem being the first hotel in the world to receive the prestigious certification. The group is working closely with Bureau Veritas to certify its wider portfolio.

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results, therefore, reflect Travel + Leisure’s readers’ experiences before the pandemic.