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Zendy’s 2022 in review: a year of triumphs, challenges, and new developments!

As we reach the end of 2022, we’re celebrating a unique and incredibly exciting year for Zendy. As I type this, we now welcome over 40,000 users to the Zendy platform. A milestone that I am certainly proud of but not surprised by. 

I’m not surprised by the positive response to Zendy because as an industry, we have a long way to go to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has equal affordability and accessibility to knowledge. But we are certainly taking steps in the right direction. There’s never been a time when we need more evidence-based research. 

When I Co-founded Zendy in 2019, Zendy’s ‘hybrid’ subscription-based access model was a new concept for publishers to visualize. Despite this, our passionate and inspired mission to democratise access to scholarly literature was felt and we gained the support of some of the world’s leading publishers. If there’s something I’ve learned in my many decades in the industry, it’s that collaboration is the fundamental ingredient to foster change in the academic publishing spectrum successfully. 

A big thanks to our publishing partners who continue to support our mission and work with us to promote lifelong learning opportunities for individuals in over 130 countries.

As I reflect on collaboration, I think of the endless hours of work put in by the Zendy team. Those who were with us from the beginning, and our many recent joiners – everyone has pioneered together along the way. When you are creating something from scratch, the challenges keep coming. The resilience and commitment of our team is second to none, and I couldn’t be prouder of all the milestones we have reached together. 

It was great to see the team’s talents recently recognized at the Middle East Technology Excellence Awards where Zendy received Best Startup in the Education Technology category. 

We had a long list of goals in 2022. A key objective was to participate in as many conversations as possible. It’s a pivotal moment in academic publishing, digitisation is in full effect, and end-user consumption trends continue to spotlight the need for publishers and service providers to diversify content and focus on accessibility and affordability. 

Earlier this year, I joined ChronosHub on a webinar to discuss Affordable Access & Open Access Publishing. The webinar showcased the progress that has been made on the OA front to encourage greater diversity and representation in academic publishing. However, it’s still evident that researchers on the ground, especially in emerging regions, still face hurdles in basic access to journals. 

Watch the full webinar here:

As we see news globally of pirated academic content platforms terminating, it’s critical that, as an industry we focus on how we can continue to deliver value to students, researchers, professionals, and self-learners around the world. By right, everyone should have equal access to scientific literature. Ultimately the goal of research is to enhance society, and the only way to do that is to disseminate research as far and wide as possible. 

The message of dissemination fits well alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As joint signatories of the SGD Publishers Compact, it was excellent to join industry players at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. We had positive meetings with existing publishers and successful meetings with new publishers on the Open Access and paid content front.

We look forward to sharing news of new partnerships in early 2023.  

Shortly after Frankfurt Book Fair, we hosted a collaborative webinar with OAPEN at the beginning of Open Access week to discuss the importance of OA participation and to explore the link between OA content and climate action. The webinar featured two Open Access authors who detailed their publishing experience as authors – a great watch for aspiring authors. 

Watch the full webinar here:

Q4 has been incredibly busy for us, and we are looking forward to announcing new feature releases that will significantly uplift users’ experience on the platform. Our technology is what sets us apart, and this year we made considerable improvements to enhance the accuracy and value of our data for users based on data association and topic modeling algorithms.

Another recent milestone is that we launched Zendy in Nigeria, allowing users to search both Open Access content and subscribe to top journals on one seamless platform. We’ve already welcomed over 8,000 users in Nigeria, and we look forward to creating more access opportunities in the region. 

As we bring 2022 to a close, we thank all of you who support us in big and small ways. Looking forward to more conversations and collaboration in 2023. 

Best wishes for a happy new year from the entire Zendy team!

Kamran Robert Kardan

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Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan interview with Asian Business Review

The Middle East startup landscape is buzzing with breakthrough innovation and creativity. Zendy is proud to play a role in the ecosystem of MENA-based startups and we’re thrilled to accept the award for Best Startup – Education at the Middle East Technology Excellence Awards. 

Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan recently sat down with Asian Business Review to accept the award and discuss Zendy’s mission, vision, and values. 

Kamran commenced the interview by giving a big shoutout to the Zendy team for their tireless commitment to Zendy’s mission of providing affordable and accessible academic content to knowledge enthusiasts globally. 

Zendy: knowledge without barriers

In 2019, Zendy embarked on an ambitious journey to offer an alternative model of access to scholarly literature. The traditional pay-per-article model was and still is increasingly unattainable for individuals and researchers, especially in emerging regions where access is already limited. 

Looking at the success of the subscription market, namely products like Netflix and Spotify, Zendy founders thought why not offer the same experience for users to discover academic literature? Thus, Zendy was born. Zendy is an affordable academic library that offers unlimited access to journals, articles, e-books, proceedings, and more for the monthly price of a single research paper. 

With Zendy, students, researchers, and professionals can read, cite, and download leading research. The added benefit of Zendy is saving money, traditional models of access force individuals to pay between $15 – $40 per research paper. 

What does the future of academic access look like?

When asked about the future of Zendy and what’s next, Kamran Kardan spoke of Zendy mission which is to continue to reduce inequalities of access to knowledge. As a firm supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Zendy (a product of Knowledge E), is working hard to reach new emerging regions. 

To strengthen its mission of creating a global knowledge economy without barriers, in October 2021, Zendy launched its free Open Access platform. Zendy Open features over 43 million free Open Access publications on one easy-to-use platform. 

With the support of leading publishers, Zendy’s growth is a collaborative effort, and the next 12 months will be defining for the company. In September 2022, Zendy launched in Nigeria and has since acquired over 7,000 from the booming African region. 

“We’re grateful to be recognised as a leading EduTech Startup in MENA and we’re inspired by the many other innovators in the industry who are using technology to make a positive impact in communities globally. The team is currently working on significant updates to the Zendy experience and we’re so excited to launch new features in Q1 2023. Day by day we inch closer to our mission of creating a world where everyone, everywhere can access knowledge without barriers,” said Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan. 

Click here to watch the full interview:

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Middle East Technology Excellence Award 2022 for Startup in Education was presented to Zendy

The platform won the award for startup in the education category, joining the league of past winners such as Du, Amazon (MENA), the Entertainer, & BLOOVO to become one of the most innovative companies in the Middle East.

Zendy Online Library

For tech startup Zendy, it is simply unfair that students, researchers, and professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and other developing regions cannot access the same depth of research as those in developed countries. This is despite the rapid shift in the academic publishing spectrum.

Zendy is a product of Knowledge E, a private technology company providing access to digital libraries, training, consulting, and publishing services in the academic sector. Co-founded by entrepreneur Kamran Robert Kardan, it was built in response to the high cost of access to scholarly literature and the limitations of access to academic content in emerging and developing regions.

As such, Zendy, being a fast mover in the industry, offers an alternative to traditional access models. The startup works with publishers and researchers to bridge the gap in equality in emerging regions. It also offers a unique hybrid model for accessing content to meet the consumption needs of academic and non-academic professionals whilst offering publishers a share of the subscriptions’ revenue.

It offers users two options to access content: Zendy Plus and Zendy Open. The former is a subscription-based solution that provides individuals and organisations unlimited access to premium journals from major publishers, whilst the latter is a global open-access solution that features millions of OA resources from leading academic publishers.

Zendy Plus offers unlimited access to research for an average monthly cost of $15, whilst Zendy Open is free and available from anywhere around the world.

Zendy’s monthly user growth rate is 11%, with a sign-up projection of 35,000 by Q4 2022.
Zendy is also an avid supporter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relating to equality and inclusivity in education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone.

“We’re delighted to be recognised amongst leaders in the technology sector in MENA. What started as a simple concept of creating an affordable and accessible digital library, has now developed into a meaningful platform that empowers individuals to leverage research. The best part is that we’re just getting started. Our recent launch in Nigeria and soon-to-be-released feature updates are all designed to continue our mission to support lifelong learning opportunities for everyone, everywhere,” said Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan.

It has won the Startup – Education category in the recently held Middle East Technology Excellence Awards for this innovation.

The prestigious awards programme honours outstanding companies in the region that have made exceptional contributions in the pursuit of technological innovation in their respective industries.

This article orginally appeared on Asian Business Review.