Bangladesh-based Shikho, an education technology startup building a hyper-localised digital learning ecosystem for students in Bangladesh, announced today that it has raised US$ 1.3 million in a seed funding round.
Investors: The funding round was co-led by LearnStart and Anchorless Bangladesh with participation from Wavemaker Partners and Ankur Nagpal, founder and chief executive officer of the online course platform Teachable. Shikho had raised US$ 275K in its last round of pre-seed financing last year from LearnStart and strategic angel investors.
Founded in 2019 by CEO Shahir Chowdhury and COO Zeeshan Zakaria, Shikho was created to make supplementary education more accessible and affordable. The startup is focused on grades 9, 10, 11 and 12, and is also planning to introduce content for grades 6 up to the university level. The learning material is created by educators and subject experts and is based on the Bangladeshi National Curriculum. Shikho uses gamification techniques like points, leaderboards and virtual awards to keep the students engaged.
The co-founder and CEO Shahir Chowdhury has experience in finance and business. He was a director at HSBC UK’s Private Bank. The chief operating officer Zeeshan Zakaria also worked in finance before becoming a mathematics teacher. They went to university in the UK and had a goal to launch a socially impactful business in Bangladesh.
Shikho creates animated videos that break down topics into short segments of about six minutes which helps students learn at their own pace. Each video is supplemented with digital resources called smart notes to replace the guidebooks. Shikho’s main video content is pre-recorded. It plans to launch live classes for its app and web portal in about six weeks.
What the founders have to say: “I tried to understand what edtech was and why it was working in those markets and why it didn’t exist in Bangladesh. When I looked at that closely, there was no reason for it not to exist in Bangladesh. From a macroeconomic perspective, you have all the elements you need. You have a very large population, about 165 million people, and half of that is under the age of 25.” — Shahir Chowdhury.
“Not much has changed since my dad was in grade 10 in terms of the syllabus. I’m not a politician, so I can’t bring about change there, but I can change how it’s delivered. We deliver the curriculum in a way that has never been seen before in terms of the pedagogical experience.” — Zeeshan Zakaria.
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