Maqsad Startup: Mobile Learning Platform for 100mln Pakistani Students

Through a learning platform made available through a mobile app, Maqsad startup hopes to increase the accessibility of education for 100 million Pakistani students.

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Through a learning platform made available through a mobile app, Maqsad startup hopes to increase the accessibility of education for 100 million Pakistani students.

The platform can answer inquiries and provides testing and instruction. It aims to upend the nation’s out-of-school education market, which is predominately made up of pricey tuition services that the majority of families cannot afford.

High school friends and the co-founders of edtech startup Maqsad, Rooshan Aziz and Taha Ahmed, were acutely aware of their good fortune while growing up in Pakistan. Aziz had dyslexia issues, but his parents were able to pay for after-school academic support, which allowed him to finish school. Ahmed, on the other hand, benefited from numerous academic scholarships that gave him a leg up in life.

Aziz and Ahmed were both working in London when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. They watched in horror as Pakistan tried to transition to online learning but was unable to scale up a technology platform capable of supporting many students. The crisis served as a catalyst for the creation of Maqsad, which today announced a $2.8 million funding round as it reached 1 million users just six months after its debut.

According to Ahmed, “Maqsad provides students with an exceptional after-school learning experience at a fraction of the cost of other options.” Our mission is to focus on student problems, and to make sure that learning objectives are being met, we have gathered feedback from more than 20,000 students and teachers across Pakistan.

Undoubtedly, the business has expanded remarkably quickly. The Maqsad app has more than 1 million downloads since its release last year and is consistently ranked as Pakistan’s top education app on the Google Play Store. The app makes expertly crafted content available to users while also personalising learning through the use of artificial intelligence tools.

The mobile learning platform hopes to make a significant impact in a market where student-teacher ratios, at 44:1, are among the highest in the world. It is initially targeted at students aged 15 to 19 who are frequently preparing for board or university entrance exams.

Students can access a variety of features and services through Maqsad’s freemium model, which uses the Urdu word for “purpose” as its name. It intends to provide more material geared towards younger students in the future.

From an investment standpoint, the company provides access to Pakistan’s $37 billion education market. While Abwaab and Nearpeer, two other technology-enabled providers, are also vying for customers, Maqsad sees physical tutoring centres as its main rivals.

It notes that many students cannot afford these or are simply unable to access them because they do not reside in urban areas where such facilities are located.

For students, this “can change their lives,” says Ahmed. Many students have found it difficult to receive any individualised assistance with their education because their families cannot afford after-school programmes or they are unable to travel to tutoring facilities.

The company’s supporters see a chance to create social impact through an alluring business model. Leading this round, which will bring the company’s total funding raised to $4.9 million, are current investor Indus Valley Capital and Speedinvest.

Additionally, it has the support of several business angel investors as well as venture capitalists Stellar Capital and Alter Global.

Aatif Awan, the founder of Indus Valley Capital, explains that they made their initial investment in Maqsad 18 months ago, before they had a team or a product. “We were moved by Rooshan and Taha’s vision for Pakistani education. With one of the best start-up teams in Pakistan assembled to create a market-leading product that has benefited over a million students, investing in Maqsad once more is a no-brainer.

A partner at Speedinvest, one of the biggest seed funds in Europe, Philip Specht is also thrilled about the chance to promote social change. We invested in Maqsad because we believe it has the potential to impact the lives of millions of students and upend the status quo in the educational system, the man claims.

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