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

According to Aziz, Maqsad would utilize the revenues to build in-house content, such as a production studio, academics, and animators, as well as to strengthen R&D and engineering.

Main Highlights

Maqsad launched a $2.1 million pre-seed financing today to expand its content platform and invest in R&D. Indus Valley Capital led the pre-seed round, which was completed in three weeks via virtual meetings, with participation from Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and other angel investors from Pakistan, the Middle East, and Europe.

According to Aziz, Maqsad would utilize the revenues to build in-house content, such as a production studio, academics, and animators, as well as to strengthen R&D and engineering. For the next one to two years, the firm will focus on K-12 education in Pakistan, including 11th and 12th-grade math, with ambitions to expand into other STEM disciplines, Aziz said.

Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz quit their careers in strategy consulting and investment banking in London earlier this year to launch Maqsad, a mobile-only education platform company in Pakistan with the objective of “making education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students.”

Growing up in Karachi, childhood friends Ahmed and Aziz are aware of the problems with Pakistan’s education system, which is particularly harsher for people who do not live in big cities (the country’s student-teacher ratio is 44:1). Pakistani children are four times less likely to attend school for every kilometer between school and home, according to Maqsad co-founder Aziz.

Benefits of using Maqsad

Maqsad’s platform, which offers a one-stop-shop for after-school academic content in English and Urdu, will be augmented by quizzes and other gamified elements that will work together to give individuals a tailored education. According to Aziz, one of the platform’s features is adaptive testing, which changes the difficulty level of a question based on user replies.

In Urdu, the term “maqsad” signifies “purpose.” “We think that everyone has a purpose in life. Maqsad’s objective is to help Pakistani students achieve this goal, whether they are from an urban center like Lahore or a rural hamlet in Sindh. “Maqsad believes in equal opportunity for all,” Aziz added. Given that mobile accounts for 95 percent of broadband users in Pakistan, they are developing a mobile-first platform. Aziz noted that most other platforms are not mobile-optimized.

“It is much more than just ensuring that kids pass their examinations. We aim to initiate a revolution in the way Pakistani kids learn, moving away from rote memorization and toward true comprehension,” said co-founder Taha Ahmed, a former strategy consultant at LEK.

Maqsad team

According to Aziz, the firm performed short tests in April and May before launching full-scale operations on July 26. Maqsad will deploy its mobile app, which is presently in development, in the coming months in Q4 2021 and has a waitlist for early access. Students’ struggles in the early days of the epidemic inspired us to launch a pilot. Aziz continued, “With encouraging early momentum and user input, the enormity of the possibility to digitize the education industry became extremely obvious.”

The COVID-19 epidemic changed the education sector, igniting global edtech firms that made online education more accessible to a larger audience, such as in India and Indonesia, according to Aziz. According to Aziz, the education sector in Pakistan is about $12 billion and is expected to grow to $30 billion by 2030.

Maqsad’s Long term goals

Aziz stated that the firm’s long-term ambitions include establishing the company as a hybrid center offering online and offline courses like Byju’s and Aakash, as well as expanding adult classes like MasterClass.

“Maqsad founders’ profound grasp of the problem, innovative strategy to tackle it, and passion for impact immediately persuaded us,” said Aatif Awan, founder and managing partner of Indus Valley Capital.

“Pakistan’s edtech potential is one of the world’s largest, and we are delighted to support Maqsad in delivering tech-powered education that levels access, quality, and across Pakistan’s youth and generates long-term social change,” said Ali Mukhtar, general partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures.

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