Bangladeshi EdTech startup Shikho has raised $1.3 million in seed funding from Learnstart, a US-based investor and Anchorless Bangladesh, a local firm.
Wavemaker Partners and Ankur Nagpal, founder and CEO of the online course platform Teachable, also joined the round. Shikho received $275,000 in pre-seed funding from LearnStart and strategic angel investors last year reported Tech Crunch.
Shikho, founded in April 2019, focuses on grades 9–12, with plans to expand from grades 6 up to the level of university and continuing education. Its educational materials are based on the Bangladeshi National Curriculum. Points, leaderboards, and virtual awards are used to keep students engaged.
Shikho was founded by CEO Shahir Chowdhury and COO Zeeshan Zakaria. Both grew up in Dhaka before moving to the UK to study. Chowdhury told TechCrunch that despite working in finance, he wanted to start a social enterprise in Bangladesh.
Then Chowdhury realised there were already many players focused on financial inclusion in Bangladesh, like bKash. A client report about the rise of Indian and Chinese edtech startups like Byju’s and Toppr happened by chance.
“I tried to understand what edtech was, why it worked in other markets, but not in Bangladesh,” Chowdhury told Tech Crunch. “It didn’t make sense to me that it didn’t exist in Bangladesh. You have everything you need macroeconomically. You have a huge population of 165 million people, half of whom are under 25.”
In charge of Shikho’s academic programming was Zakaria. Shikho wants to find more engaging and effective ways to teach Bangladeshi students.
To help students learn at their own pace, the company collaborates with educators to create animated videos. Each video includes smart notes, which replace the study guides many students buy, and practise questions with detailed solutions.
Most of Shikho’s video content is pre-recorded, but it will soon add live classes to its app and web portal. The new funding will help the company produce more content, including a parenting app.
The app is free for 7 days. The company intends to use the new funds to expand freemium content and increase revenue. Paying users spend 45 to 50 minutes per day on the app, according to Chowdhury. After launching its app for parents, Shikho plans to ramp up its user acquisition strategy, including offline sales teams in front of schools.
Bangladesh has one of the highest private education expenditure allocations per capita in the world, but it lags behind countries like India and Indonesia when it comes to edtech funding, according to Anchorless Bangladesh founding partner and CEO Rahat Ahmed. We believe Shikho’s team is well-suited to lead the charge and take education to the next level.”