SAUDI ARABIA

Wa’ed investment helps teaching software innovator Ynmo tackle learning disabilities

January 25, 2021
The enablers of Ynmo, from left: Faisal Alnemary, co-founder, Shabbab Alghamdi, partner, Fahad Alnemary, co-founder and Abdullah Murad, co-founder.
The enablers of Ynmo, from left: Faisal Alnemary, co-founder, Shabbab Alghamdi, partner, Fahad Alnemary, co-founder and Abdullah Murad, co-founder.

DHAHRAN — Ynmo, the developer of the first Arabic-English software platform for teachers of students with disabilities, has raised $500,000 in a seed investment from Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco.

The funding, through Wa’ed’s venture capital arm Wa’ed Ventures, will help Ynmo scale up staff, support and services to expand its instructional software — which lets teachers create unique individualized lesson plans for students with disabilities — across the Middle East.

“With Wa’ed’s support, we are going to greatly expand the number of children with disabilities whom we can help in Saudi Arabia and beyond,” said Abdullah Murad, an Ynmo co-founder. “It’s a way for us to give back to our community and have a big and sustainable social impact.”

Wa’ed Managing Director Wassim Basrawi described Ynmo as a powerful example of a company that brought unique Saudi solutions to Saudi challenges. Since its founding by Saudi Aramco in 2011, Wa’ed has nurtured promising new Saudi start-ups through its end-to-end palette of venture capital, loan financing and incubation services.

“Our mission is to advance the Saudi start-up economy, and Ynmo is an innovative solution to a pressing issue affecting many Saudi children and their families,” Basrawi said. “At Wa’ed, we are looking to support promising Saudi entrepreneurs such as Ynmo, who are the architects of our Kingdom’s economic future.”

Ynmo is the Arabic word for the verb “to grow”, and Ynmo’s software is growing rapidly across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and parts of the Middle East. Saudi schools currently cater to more than 100,000 students with disabilities, according to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development.

Yet Ynmo co-founder Fahad Alnemary believes the actual number of Saudi students with learning disabilities could be higher in line with the global average — about 10-14 percent of all students.

The idea for Ynmo was conceived more than a decade ago when Alnemary, his brother Faisal and their friend, Murad, were in college. Fahad and Faisal were both studying special education and applied behavior analysis at the University of California, Los Angeles, while Murad, who eventually specialized in mobile health technologies, was studying computer science at Cal State University-Fullerton and Claremont Graduate University.

The trio began working on a business concept that in 2017 led to the creation of Saudi Arabia’s first, and so far only, provider of Arabic-language software assisting educators and parents of children with disabilities.

Ynmo’s software is sold on a subscription basis to schools and institutions. It is currently being used in disabilities centers run by the UAE Ministry of Community Development. The deployment followed a successful one-year trial that elicited positive feedback from teachers and others who work with children with disabilities.

The company is currently enlarging Ynmo’s online curricula and assessment tools through collaborations with local and international publishers.

The Ynmo founders say their unique software products are giving hope and help to children with disabilities and their families, while also helping train a new generation of educators to not only provide high-quality services, but also integrate students with disabilities into the classroom to help them reach their full potential.

Drawing on their work in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral science, Fahad and Faisal designed Ynmo to help boost parental involvement, which helps children become academically successful.

Ynmo allows parents to engage special education teachers in productive conversations centered around their child’s learning, and parents can also access Ynmo’s individualized educational programs to support their children at home. — SG


January 25, 2021
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