Pakistan edtech startup Maqsad gets $2.1M pre-seed to make education more accessible – TechCrunch

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Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz left their jobs in strategy consulting and funding banking in London earlier this 12 months so as to discovered a mobile-only education platform startup, Maqsad, in Pakistan, with a objective “to make education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani college students.”

Having grown up in Karachi, childhood mates Ahmed and Aziz are conscious of the challenges in regards to the Pakistani education system, which is notably worse for these not dwelling in giant city areas (the nation’s student-teacher ratio is 44:1). Pakistani youngsters are much less seemingly to go to faculty for every kilometer of distance between faculty and their residence — with ladies being 4 occasions affected, Maqsad co-founder Aziz mentioned.

Maqsad introduced at this time its $2.1 million pre-seed spherical to improve its content material platform progress and put money into R&D.

The pre-seed spherical, which was accomplished in simply three weeks by way of digital conferences, was led by Indus Valley Capital, with participation from Alter International, Fatima Gobi Ventures and a number of other angel buyers from Pakistan, the Center East and Europe.

Maqsad will use the proceeds for growing in-house content material, corresponding to manufacturing studio, lecturers and animators, in addition to bolstering R&D and engineering, Aziz advised TechCrunch. The corporate will focus on the Ok-12 education in Pakistan, together with 11th and 12th grade math, with plans to develop into different STEM topics for the subsequent one-two years, Aziz mentioned.

Maqsad’s platform, which gives a one-stop store for after-school tutorial content material in a mixture of English and Urdu, shall be supplemented by quizzes and different gamified features that may come collectively to supply a customized education to people. Its platform features embrace adaptive testing that alter a query’s degree of issue relying on customers’ responses, Aziz defined.

The phrase “maqsad” means function in Urdu.

“We consider everybody has a function. Maqsad’s mission is to enable Pakistani college students to understand this function; whether or not you're a scholar from an city centre, corresponding to Lahore, or from a distant village in Sindh: Maqsad believes in equal alternative for all,” Aziz mentioned.

“We're constructing a mobile-first platform, provided that 95% of broadband customers in Pakistan are by way of mobile. Most different platforms usually are not mobile optimized,” Aziz added.

“It’s about more than simply getting college students to go their exams. We would like to begin a revolution in the best way Pakistani college students be taught, transferring past rote memorization to a spot of actual comprehension,” mentioned co-founder Taha Ahmed, who was a former strategy advisor at LEK.

The corporate ran small pilots in April and Could and began full-scale operations on 26 July, Aziz mentioned, including that Maqsad will launch its mobile app, presently below improvement, within the coming months in This fall 2021 and has a waitlist for early entry.

“Struggles of scholars through the early days of the pandemic motivated us to run a pilot. With promising preliminary traction and consumer suggestions, the scale of the chance to digitize the education sector grew to become very clear,” Aziz mentioned.

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the education business, heating up the worldwide edtech startups that made online education more accessible for a wider inhabitants, for instance in nations like India and Indonesia, Aziz talked about.

The education market measurement in Pakistan is estimated at $12 billion and is projected to improve to $30 billion by 2030, in accordance to Aziz.

It plans to construct the corporate as a hybrid middle providing online and offline programs like Byju’s and Aakash, and develop lessons for adults corresponding to MasterClass, the U.S.-based online lessons for adults, as its long-term plans, Aziz mentioned.

“Maqsad founders’ deep understanding of the issue, distinctive strategy to fixing it and fervour for affect persuaded us rapidly,” the founder and managing accomplice of Indus Valley Capital, Aatif Awan, mentioned.

“Pakistan’s edtech alternative is among the largest on the planet and we're excited to again Maqsad in delivering tech-powered education that ranges entry, high quality and throughout Pakistan’s youth and creates lasting social change,” Ali Mukhtar, normal accomplice of Fatima Gobi Ventures mentioned.

Source : TechCrunch

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