Karachi-headquartered edtech company Maqsad has raised USD 2.1 million in a pre-seed round led by Indus Valley Capital. The investment included participation from Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and founders of different startups in the Middle East and Pakistan.
Founded earlier this year by childhood friends Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz, Maqsad (which means “purpose” in Urdu) is building a mobile-only platform to offer after-school academic support to “100 million” Pakistani students (across K–-12, including grades nine to 12 of local educational boards).
The team has already run two pilots in the first half of 2021 and aims to launch the platform later this year. It will feature localized content in English and Urdu and enable students to learn at their own pace through video-based content and then test their knowledge through quizzes and other tools on the app. All content featured on the app will be produced in-house.
Rooshan Aziz, who was previously a banker at BNP Paribas in London, said, “We believe everyone has a purpose. Maqsad’s mission is to enable Pakistani students to realize this purpose; whether you are a student from an urban center, such as Lahore, or from a remote village in Sindh: Maqsad believes in equal opportunity for all.”
Aziz added that the struggles of students during the early days of the pandemic motivated the founders to run a pilot. “With promising initial traction and user feedback, the potential to digitize the education sector became very clear.”
Commenting on the occasion, Taha Ahmed said, “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 memorization to a place of real comprehension.” He was previously a strategy consultant at L.E.K. Consulting.
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’s 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. We are thrilled about helping Maqsad become the platform for Pakistan’s youth to realize its potential.”
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.”
This article first appeared in MENAbytes.