Pakistan's Maqsad, an edtech platform, has become the latest in the string of local startups to raise multi-million dollars in financing, announcing a $2.1-million pre-seed round on Monday.
The round was led by Indus Valley Capital. Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and several individual founders from Pakistan and Middle East also participated in the round, stated Maqsad.
The amount is the country's largest pre-seed funding after TAG ($5.5 million), an Islamabad-based fintech, Truck It In, a Karachi-based marketplace ($4.5 million), and equals the one raised by SadaPay.
In the edtech space, Maqsad's funding follows that of Lahore-based Edkasa that announced earlier this year that it raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding.
Maqsad, founded by Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz, is a mobile-only platform that delivers localised academic content in both English and Urdu.
Maqsad will be launching its mobile app in Q4 2021 and currently has a wait-list in place for early-access, according to the company. The amount would be used to expand its workforce, and build technology/content as it looks to scale up.
“We’ve been looking to invest in a startup transforming education in Pakistan since Indus Valley’s inception,” Aatif Awan, the founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, was quoted as saying in the press release sent by Maqsad.
The Covid-19 pandemic has added to Pakistan's education woes with a online-only model troubling the country's schools just as much.
“Struggles of students during the early days of the pandemic motivated us to run a pilot. With promising initial traction and user feedback, the potential to digitise the education sector became very clear," said Rooshan, previously a banker at BNP Paribas in London.
Ali Mukhtar, General Partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures, said, Pakistan’s edtech opportunity is one of the largest in the world.
Pakistan's startup landscape has been in the news every other week with several companies announcing sizable funding from both series and seed funding rounds.
Just days ago, BridgeLinx, the Lahore-based company that commenced operation nine months ago as a digital freight network, marketplace, and solutions provider, managed to raise $10 million, the country's largest seed capital investment that beat the previous $7.2 million raised by Sada Pay earlier this year.
Last month, Airlift, a transportation platform, announced it secured $85 million in the largest Series B financing in Pakistan’s startup history. The financing was about twice the size of the largest private company IPO in Pakistan’s history and the highest in the MENA region, bringing a number of implications for the country.
Based on Emerging Venture Markets (EVM) E-commerce Venture Investment Report by Magnitt, Pakistan's ecommerce startups in just the first half of 2021 raised double the capital they did in FY2020, accounting for 17% of funding deployed across Emerging Venture Markets.
Amongst Emerging Venture Markets, Pakistan was the only one to see a YoY increase in ecommerce deals in H1 2021, added the report.