Taha Ahmed and Roshan Aziz quit their professions in strategy consulting and investment banking in London earlier this year to launch Maqsad, a mobile-only education platform with the purpose of “making education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students.”
Ahmed and Aziz, childhood friends who grew up in Karachi, are well aware of the issues facing Pakistan’s education system, which is particularly difficult for people who do not live in large cities (the country’s student-teacher ratio is 44:1). According to Maqsad co-founder Aziz, for every kilometer of the distance between school and home, Pakistani children are four times less likely to attend school.
Maqsad raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round today to expand its content platform and engage in R&D. Indus Valley Capital led the pre-seed round, which was completed in only three weeks via virtual meetings, with Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and many angel investors from Pakistan, the Middle East, and Europe participating.
According to Aziz, Maqsad would use the funds to build in-house content, such as a production studio, academics, and animators, as well as strengthen R&D and engineering. For the next one to two years, the company will focus on K-12 education in Pakistan, including 11th and 12th-grade math, with ambitions to expand into other STEM courses, according to Aziz.
Massad’s platform, which offers a one-stop-shop for after-school academic content in a mix of English and Urdu, will be augmented by quizzes and other gamified features, all of which will work together to provide individuals with a personalized education.
Adaptive testing, which changes the complexity of a question based on the responses of users, is one of the platform’s capabilities, according to Aziz. In Urdu, the word “maqsad” signifies “purpose.” “We believe everyone has a purpose. Massad’s mission is to help Pakistani students achieve this goal; whether you’re from a major city like Lahore or a small village in Sindh, Maqsad believes in an equal chance for everyone,” Aziz remarked.
“Given that mobile is used by 95 percent of broadband users in Pakistan, we’re designing a mobile-first platform. The majority of other platforms aren’t mobile-friendly,” Aziz noted. “It’s about more than just encouraging pupils to pass their exams,” says the professor. We want to spark a revolution in the way Pakistani kids learn, moving away from rote memorization and toward true comprehension,” said co-founder and former LEK strategic consultant Taha Ahmed.