A Pakistani edtech startup named Maqsad has raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Indus Valley Capital but also participated in by Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and several individual founders from Pakistan and the Middle East.
The startup aims to build a mobile-only platform to offer after-school academic support to “100 million” Pakistani students, says a press release by the company.
Founded by childhood friends Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz, Maqsad — which means purpose in Urdu — aims to deliver high-quality localised academic content that is in a mix of English and Urdu.
This will be supplemented by quizzes and other gamified features that will come together to provide a personalised learning experience, the company says.
Rooshan, previously a banker at BNP Paribas in London, said: “Struggles of students during the early days of the pandemic motivated us to run a pilot. With promising initial traction and user feedback, the potential to digitise the education sector became very clear.”
Maqsad says its mission is to level the playing field by offering Pakistani students the tools they need to succeed in their exams and beyond. “It’s about more than just getting students to pass their exams. We want to start a revolution in the way Pakistani students learn, moving beyond rote memorisation to a place of real comprehension” according to Taha, formerly a strategy consultant for LEK in London.
A core pillar of Maqsad’s strategy, the company says, will be to foster a high-growth environment that brings together Pakistan’s top talent to develop a world-class product. “We have been blown away by the talent we’ve seen so far and are very excited about the future of the ecosystem” says Taha.
Aatif Awan, the founder and managing partner of Indus Valley Capital, said: “We’ve been looking to invest in a startup transforming education in Pakistan since Indus Valley’s inception. Maqsad founders’ deep understanding of the problem, unique approach to solving it and passion for impact persuaded us quickly that this was the team to partner with."
The Covid-19 pandemic triggered a global education crisis, giving rise to edtech startups globally, with ventures in countries such as India and Indonesia scaling rapidly to make education more accessible for the wider population.
Ali Mukhtar, general partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures, said, “Pakistan’s Edtech opportunity is one of the largest in the world and we are excited to back Maqsad in delivering tech-powered education that levels access, quality and cost across Pakistan’s youth and creates lasting social change”
Maqsad says it will launch its mobile app later this year.