Reelae race: Papua New Guinean start-up rushes onto world stage


Papua New Guinean entrepreneur Samson Korawali aims to revolutionise online learning with the timely launch of online learning platform, Reelae. He tells Business Advantage PNG how the platform has attracted the attention of Silicon Valley.

From left: Justin from Microsoft, Reelae’s CTO Stuart Ryan,  Reelae’s CEO Samson Korawali, Reelae’s Angel Investor. Credit: Microsoft

The Reelae online learning platform is a business whose time has come. With schools around the world closed and companies of every size relying on remote-working practices due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, both business and government are turning to online connection tools.

‘The world has no choice to but to operate this way and with schools closing, my learning app is much suited for this reason,’ says Samson Korawali, Founder and CEO of Reelae. The product takes its name from a computer ‘relay’ and the city of Lae, where Korawali was born and raised.

‘I have a vision to set up an office of Reelae in PNG … in Lae, to provide employment and training for my people both technically and in sales.’

The serial tech entrepreneur, now based in Sydney, Australia, says that the difference between Reelae and its competition is its simplicity, modernity and ability to scale.

‘Now that people are staying at home, they want to do coaching and want to deliver their own content,’ Korawali says. ‘We are not just for a school or university – we allow tutors of all types, or people who are delivering their own content, to use Reelae so that they can create business opportunities for themselves. The bigger software providers don’t allow entry points for smaller providers.’

Another key difference is the analytics and real-time reporting – where administrators and teachers can gauge student activity and group work contribution within Reelae.

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‘You can do assessments, you can do real-time tracking of activities so teachers can see the real-time engagement rate of the students; whether they have participated or not you can share resources together and instant chat if you need to.’

Backing from Microsoft

Reelae’s Samson Korawali. Credit: Reelae

Launching into the market only a few months ago, Reelae already has paying customers, including a pilot class from a school in Newcastle, New South Wales. The school is now looking at the possibility of rolling Reelae out across its entire campus within the next few months due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

And help is at hand with tech giant Microsoft taking an interest in Reelae by providing Microsoft engineers, significant server infrastructure funding through credits and the opportunity to sell Reelae globally on the Microsoft Store within the next year.

‘In the past 18 months, we have raised pre-seed funding of approximately K600,000 in addition to the Microsoft backing,’ Korawali says. ‘We are in the Microsoft Startup Program and are one of the few startups in Australia and the world to get access to Microsoft technical and sales staff to help us scale this year across PNG, Australia and the rest of the globe.’

Expansion plans

Korawali has big plans for Reelae to extend the number of users who can use the platform, build new features and give back to developing communities for sustainable growth.

‘I have a vision to set up an office of Reelae in PNG,’ he says. ‘In Lae, to provide employment and training for my people, both technically and in sales, and to have PNG be the Asia-Pacific headquarters, then have Australia to be the global HQ.’

For Korawali, this will not only help to upskill PNG workers but also bring remote learning options into the country.

‘The internet has really opened up the opportunity for people to learn and once the young people understand the value of technology and software they will be able to self-learn,’ he says. ‘Because it is great to see other Papua New Guineans putting great value and time into learning and building solutions that push forward our country.’


  1. Ishrael Kongona says

    Congratulations Samson Korawali and your Team. That’s a milestone for a Papua New Guinean.

  2. Mary Abau says

    congratulation on your idea to help PNG ians

  3. Roboam Kakap says

    Congratulation to you Samson for the innovative business idea. Hope it would be launched in Port Moresby as well.

  4. Irianny Beauchamp says

    Well done and congratulations

  5. Duncan Mela says

    Congratulation Mr Samson Korawali – You a vissionary, hope to have you could introduce it here in East Sepik Province.

  6. Joseph Oibi says

    Way forward.. Reelae

  7. Philemon Hoikawa says

    Great initiative during this COVID 19 crises to push our education system going. Cheers

  8. Tanu Irau says

    Great work. Truly inspiring.

  9. Congratulations to Reelae – and to Samson for making this visionary PNG business a reality

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