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.”


Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Updated 14 December 2019

Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Zain KSA celebrated the finalization of the first phase of the Middle East’s largest 5G network in a special event on Dec. 8 at the Hilton Riyadh. The ceremony, held under the patronage of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, was attended by Zain KSA Chairman Prince Nayef bin Sultan bin Muhammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Governor of Communications and Information Technology Commission Dr. Muhammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haitham bin Abdulrahman Al-Ohali, and Zain KSA CEO Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Deghaither, along with other dignitaries in the ICT sector.

Prince Nayef said: “Zain KSA’s achievement accompanies the speedy development and innovative services of the digital revolution that the world around us is witnessing. This achievement is significant in its timing, as it coincides with the rapid rise of the Kingdom’s ranking in several prestigious international reports, specifically in the ICT sector. Another aspect that makes this achievement noteworthy is its size, as it offers the broadest coverage of the 5G network, which has positioned the Kingdom as the first in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.”

Prince Nayef pointed out the concurrence of Zain KSA’s accomplishment with the Kingdom’s growing pivotal role at the global economic level, and in becoming the first Arab country to preside over the G20 summit. He affirmed Zain’s commitment to keeping pace with the Kingdom’s economic ambitions in line with its position in employing young national talent. He said the Saudization rate in the company has reached 86 percent, with young Saudis assuming 92 percent of leadership positions.

CEO Al-Deghaither said through its completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA confirms its commitment to becoming a key player in the ICT sector. “Zain KSA has made several significant achievements since its inception. Today, we proudly announce that the company has the widest 5G network coverage in the Kingdom and the region.” 

He added that the 5G technology will lead the Kingdom toward a new world with its substantial technologies and capabilities, which will be evident in various sectors through the Internet of Things and the business sector, in addition to other daily functions that will make customer experience easier and more effective.”

Al-Deghaither said that this step comes at a time when Zain KSA is witnessing its best operational performance by reaching the highest profit over the past two years, with SR380 million ($101.3 million) during the first nine months of 2019, and a total of SR332 million for 2018.

With the completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA is now offering a range of packages of 5G services for individuals and businesses through a network of 2,600 towers distributed across 27 cities.