Education e-retailer Zookal raises $15m

Education e-retailer Zookal raises $15m

Sydney-based student services platform Zookal is bulking up on funding to bolster growth in South East Asia, where it already has users in three countries.

Co-founded by Ahmed Haider while at university, Zookal provides a variety of services and products including textbooks and stationery. 

The company has just completed an oversubscribed $15 million equity funding round to accelerate growth, bringing the total amount raised to date up to $25 million.

Now 34, Haider says the company is on track to lifting revenue 40 per cent this year to $35 million.

"Over the past eight years we have saved students tens of millions of dollars on their educational costs and provide services to 750,000 users across Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines," says Haider. 

"South East Asia is a very attractive market with our digital users growing to 300,000 in just eight months. Our goal is to reach 10 million students in the coming years as Asia comes online by making education more affordable and accessible to them."

Existing investors Koh Boon Hwee (former chairman of Singapore Airlines and technology investor) and Bernard Sabrier (chairman of USD$26 billion fund Unigestion) led the round with participation from Wee Hur Holdings, a publicly listed Singaporean construction and property development company.

"Our investment in Zookal is driven by the fact that both organisations are focused on delivering the best education experience for tertiary students," says Wee Hur Holdings chairman Goh Yeow Lian.

"At Wee Hur, we always aim to be ahead of the curve and we are excited to be working with the team at Zookal and partnering up with them to help make student learning  effortless, which in turn will support innovation in the education sector as a whole."

Zookal views itself as an Asia-focused alternative to California-based Chegg, which specialises in textbook rentals and online tutoring.

"The Zookal team has done a tremendous job in building the Chegg-equivalent in Australia and South East Asia," says Chegg co-founder Aayush Phumbhra.

"With Zookal operating in the much larger Asia Pacific market, I see them reaching the same heights as what we were able to achieve at Chegg building a multi-billion dollar company.

"I'm confident that given the resources and time, the team will continue their strong digital acceleration and have a very meaningful impact on student's lives globally. I'm excited to continue being a part of their journey as a mentor and shareholder."

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