Bellevue startup's dream of changing educational access garners $1.7 million investment
BELLEVUE, Wash. - Three young men from Bellevue have created a $1.7 million business in a matter of months, focusing that business on changing educational access for kids around the world.
21-year-old Marwan El-Rukby, and brothers Amin Shaykho and Dani Shaykho, are creators of Kadama, an online global tutoring app.
"As you can see on this map, it’s Europe, Middle East, South Asia. We are everywhere," El- Rukby explained.
Q13 News first interviewed the three Western Washington Gen Z'ers with big dreams back in February.
It's been a crazy ride for them since.
"On our app since we’ve been talking to you, we’ve been doubling our growth every single month. It's been crazy," Amin said.
They say they have hundreds of thousands of students using their service.
Investors started pouring, in buying into an idea born from the pandemic.
"We’ve raised $1.7 million across multiple successful people," Amin said.
They say there is a hunger for their platform where a college or high school student can get one-on-one tutoring quickly and affordably.
"We got on Times Square in New York. We had this billboard up and I have that as motivation," El-Rukby said.
In the last couple of weeks, they went from their parent’s homes to their own office and they’ve even hired their first employee. All three are under the age of 23 with Dani being just 19 years-old.
"Honestly, it’s quite surreal. I can’t believe it," Dani said.
RELATED: New tutoring app helps high school and college students struggling during pandemic
They have a green screen in their office so Dani can do TikTok videos. It’s a way to reach students where they are at and so far, they have 1.6 million followers.
But in some ways, their biggest success so far also leading to their biggest failure
"We grew too fast. Our app stopped working so all of a sudden, our users couldn’t use us. So overnight at 3 a.m., we had to figure out how to handle this," Amin said.
They are learning and reacting as they go, recognizing that as a startup, the competition is fierce.
"They are out to get our lunch money to be frank, and we know that, and we are just three guys competing against these magnets right," El-Rukby said.
But they are up to the challenge.
"Just don’t fear anything or any judgment of anyone around you, that is the number one block for anyone, especially if you have big dreams," Dani said.
Kadama founders say if you have a startup dream, don’t leave any rock unturned. Dani is currently a student at the University of Washington. His brother Amin and El-Rukby are both graduates of UW. They say many colleges or schools will have grants and other resources to help you get started.
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