Pakistani startup raises $320,000 in pre-seed funding

It will provide learning solutions mostly to students unable to find teachers


Salman Siddiqui April 08, 2021

KARACHI:

A group of graduates from renowned Pakistani and global schools LUMS and Harvard are running an education-technology startup Edkasa to help students learn science subjects online.

It provides learning solutions mostly to the students unable to find teachers at schools and in their neighbourhood.

The startup founders launched a mobile app on Wednesday ahead of exams for classes 9-12 tentatively scheduled for May amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Technology remains the best tool available to gauge students’ intellectual abilities and suggest to them what to study next accordingly,” Edkasa CEO Muhammad Fahad Tanveer said while talking to The Express Tribune.

Founded in 2017, the startup has earlier raised $320,000 in pre-seed money from domestic and international investors and won funding from USAID, UK Aid and prize money in a competition in Boston.

Tanveer elaborated that there were schools, especially in remote areas, which had science students, but lacked specialised subject teachers.

The startup is providing learning solutions to over 40 schools throughout Pakistan in different localities in southern Punjab, Karachi, Muzaffarabad and Quetta. It has a user base of 55,000 students.

They have access to recorded lectures and attend online classes as well. “We recommend schools to use projectors for online learning,” he said.

“Moreover, there is a platform to connect students and teachers for five important subjects which include Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and English.”

The startup has helped thousands of students and recorded over 1.3 million hours of viewing time with over 250,000 queries answered by its teachers in 2020.

The newly launched mobile application features an initial quiz to gauge a student’s requirement and then offers customised study paths based on the student’s needs such as a specific exam, subject or exam board nationwide.

Matric and intermediate students can view over 4,500 video lectures on-demand and take quizzes based on 15,000 past paper multiple-choice questions (MCQs) to gauge their understanding of specific topics.

Students can also see how they rank on the app’s leaderboard, compared to fellow Edkasa students from across their exam board, city, or country to get a sense of where they stand.

Students sign up for the app for free and may continue with an affordable monthly subscription fee.

The mobile app aims to counter the effects of school closure and an uncertain learning environment due to Covid-19.

The company raised $320,000 in a pre-seed round led by i2i ventures, with participation of Walled City Co, Zayn Capital and strategic angels in Southeast Asia.

The investment was made to build the exam prep app and scale Edkasa’s e-learning impact with students across the country. Co

Founder Annum Sadiq added that they were working on the online education project much before the pandemic hit hard the world and badly impacted students worldwide including in Pakistan.

Some of the team members have 10 to 12 years of experience in education and technology.

“We travelled to meet 800 families to … take direction to shape up the startup.”

“Education is the biggest bridge between the world that we have and the world that we want,” she said.

“Our objective is to help students do well in exams.” They have deployed technology to connect qualified teachers with students, who want to learn and prove themselves in the field of science.

“We give two-week training to teachers on how to engage students online to help them learn,” she said.

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