Edtech Edkasa, based in Lahore, has raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding led by i2i Venture. The round ended a few months ago, but the results were just announced today. Walled City Co, Zayn Capital, and ‘strategic angel investors’ from Southeast Asia are among the participants. Edkasa has also revealed the release of its exam preparation software for high school (matric and intermediate) students, which was released earlier this week on the Google Play Store.
Fahad Tanveer and Annum Sadiq, a husband and wife team, founded the company after realising that half of the students who enter high school in Pakistan do not perform well on standardised tests and exams. To fix this, they began Edkasa. “We understand that parents, teachers, colleges, and community at large invest a significant amount of money, time, and effort in high-school students. We want to see students earn high grades, continue their education, and contribute to the development of our country’s knowledge-based economy,” said Edkasa’s education delivery leader, Annum.
“We set expectations for what success will look like and when we knew enough to actively go after our dream of helping millions of high school students study and do well on their exams,” said Fahad, the CEO of Edkasa. The two founded Edkasa in 2017 with low-fidelity, extremely focused products (including a YouTube channel) to learn how students interact with them.
They began developing the technology last year, and the exam prep app is the first product. Edkasa was able to attract tens of thousands of students and work directly with over 40 schools without providing a software product, and create a sustainable company in the process. They hope to meet millions of students in Pakistan with their app.
The Android app assists high school students (Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12) in preparing for uniform Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) exams. It includes all twenty of the country’s exam boards. As a result, Edkasa is effectively providing a digital alternative to private tutoring, which students typically rely on to do well in these exams.
The app contains over 4,500 video clips covering all aspects of physics, chemistry, math, biology, and English grammar. The videos show ‘highly trained instructors’ discussing various concepts related to these subjects (mainly in Urdu). Each video includes a multiple-choice quiz that students can use to practice and receive immediate feedback on their results. Edkasa also plans to introduce leaderboards that will list the top performers in various subjects to make the experience more gamified. Over 15,000 questions have been created by Edkasa’s educators using past papers for the app.
We had a chance to check out the app before it went online, and it’s awesome (and easy-to-use). Students must choose their grade, exam form, group, and examination board. They’re then given a short quiz to help Edkasa determine their learning level and configure the video feed for them (at the moment, it doesn’t appear that the feed is tailored based on videos, so that’s possibly work-in-progress). Students will begin watching the video lessons after completing the quiz.
A large portion of the videos and quizzes available on the app are free, but students have two choices for full access: an Exam Bundle that allows them to access all of the subjects available on the app for PKR 3,599 per month, or a Single Subject package that allows them to access anything from one particular subject for PKR 899 per month.
“We’ve known Annum and Fahad since Edkasa was a part of the i2i Accelerator, and they are exactly the kind of founders we like to back at i2i Ventures — focused on solving a large problem in a thoughtful and innovative way, learning from their large student user base which ha,” said Kalsoom Lakhani, co-founder and General Partner of i2i Ventures.
“We are optimistic about the edtech opportunity in Pakistan, especially in the exam prep space, as evidenced by the pandemic’s effect on students’ move to online learning and the growth of edtech in neighbouring markets like India and Indonesia,” she added.
Pakistan’s edtech landscape is rapidly changing. Edkasa is one of many local and regional players competing for the attention of millions of Pakistani students. “Our students are engaged with our work and keep coming back to us because we believe in building with them rather than for them,” Fahad said when asked what sets them apart. We agree that using a growth mentality to inspire students to learn and not be afraid to make mistakes is a good idea. For example, when offering grade input, we make sure that students are motivated and that the learning process is humanized, since education is a relationship.”