Pakistan’s Maqsad raises $2.8 million seed to grow its edtech platform

Maqsad, a Karachi-headquartered edtech startup has raised $2.8 million in a seed round, it announced today. The round was led by Speedinvest, one of Europe’s largest seed funds, and included participation from returning investor Indus Valley Capital, Stellar Capital, Alter Global, Johann Jenson (SVP Product at GoStudent), and other strategic angels. The startup said that the round was oversubscribed and took its total capital raised to date to $4.9 million. Maqsad had previously raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round in late 2021.

Founded in 2021 by Rooshan Aziz and Taha Ahmed, Maqsad wants to make education accessible for 100 million Pakistani students through an end-to-end learning mobile platform that offers teaching, testing, and query resolution for grades 9 to 12. In the last six months, Maqsad’s mobile app has been downloaded over a million times, answered 4 million student queries, and has consistently ranked as the #1 education app in Pakistan on the Google Play Store, claimed the startup in a statement.

The edtech platform wants to disrupt the local education ecosystem by offering an exceptional learning experience to students at a fraction of the cost. The company has collected feedback from over 20,000 students and teachers across Pakistan to ensure learning outcomes are being achieved. Maqsad’s query-solving technology (“DoubtSolve”) and interactive testing resolve a key problem for students who lack ready access to quality instructors.

With only one teacher for every 44 students, Pakistan has one of the highest student-teacher ratios in the world, noted a statement by the Karachi-based startup. The edtech ecosystem could play a big role in addressing different issues faced by the education sector of the country – including the high student-teacher ratio problem.

“We recently enhanced our assessment feature, which allows students to confidently self-evaluate, and witnessed consistent 150%+ month-on-month growth in questions attempted,” noted company’s co-founder Rooshan in a statement.

Maqsad directly competes with local startups like Edkasa, and Middle Eastern edtech platforms Noon and Abwaab, which have expanded into Pakistan, in the recent years. With the latest investment, Maqsad has become the best-funded local startup focused on the Pakistani startup. It plans to use these funds to expand the subject offerings and to supercharge the technology behind the platform. Additionally, Maqsad’s long-term vision is to embed itself across the education ecosystem, with the company already receiving interest from private and public sector institutions for potential partnerships. Pakistan is an untapped market for edtech, with a forecasted annual spend of $37 billion by 2032. A quarter of this goes towards after-school academic support that is often expensive and difficult to access.

Incoming investor Speedinvest is an experienced edtech investor, with Vienna-based GoStudent, an edtech unicorn, already in its portfolio. The investment in Maqsad reflects its potential to touch the lives of millions of students and disrupt the education ecosystem. Philip Specht, Partner at Speedinvest, said in a statement: “We are incredibly impressed by Rooshan and Taha as team builders and believe Maqsad is on track to be one of the most successful businesses in Pakistan.”

Indus Valley Capital, a returning investor, doubled down on its investment, highlighting the vision that Rooshan and Taha had for education in Pakistan. Indus Valley Capital’s founder Aatif Awan explained, “Investing again in Maqsad is a no-brainer as we have seen them bring together one of the best startup teams in Pakistan to build a category-leading product that has helped over a million students.”

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