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Dhaka Tribune

Shikho becomes the first startup with $5.3M funding in Bangladesh

By digitizing Bangla learning content, Shikho aspires to improve educational outcomes for students through accessible and affordable online learning solutions

Update : 29 Mar 2022, 04:48 PM

Bangladeshi education technology (EdTech) startup Shikho, a company dedicated to making high-quality education accessible and affordable, announced on Tuesday that it raised $4 million in new seed funding. 

This is in addition to the $1.3 million it raised in August 2021, bringing its total round to $5.3 million, the largest seed funding a Bangladeshi startup has raised to date, reads a press release.

The investment was led by Wavemaker Partners, a leading venture capital firm in Southeast Asia, with participation from seven other global investors. These include returning investors LearnStart, the seed fund of Learn Capital, Anchorless Bangladesh, and Vibe Capital. The company has also added new backers in DSG Consumer Partners, Black Kite Capital, Ratio Ventures, and Julian Shapiro, the Founder of Demand Curve.

Shikho launched the first version of its mobile learning app in November 2020 and already has over 350,000 users spread across all 64 districts of Bangladesh, with paid subscribers currently spending an average of 68 minutes on the app daily.

Shikho provides academic courses for the Bangladeshi National Curriculum Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC), and competitive University Entrance Exams. 

The company plans to use the fresh funding to now cover classes 6, 7, and 8, as well as add a more comprehensive and enhanced offering for vocational and language skill-building. In addition, Shikho is already working on relaunching Bohubrihi, a well-known Bangladeshi professional courses platform it had acquired, with new and improved features.

Co-Founder and CEO of Shikho Shahir Chowdhury said: "Shikho is a purpose-driven company focused on enabling access to exceptionally high-quality learning content and instruction and transforming how Bangladesh learns by leveraging modern technology. We are very proud to have pioneered the introduction of animated video content to aid visual learning and for launching the first and only personalized, data-driven learning app available in Bangladesh."

Using Shikho, a student is able to access unique on-demand animated video lessons; learn by solving a large bank of in-app questions with detailed solutions; track performance and progress using data analytics on a real-time basis; review summarized 'smart notes' that include definitions, formulae, proofs and 'hacks'; and finally, attend live classes with expert tutors. 

Students can learn at their own pace with Bengali learning content accessible anytime and anywhere at a fraction of the cost of traditional tutoring services.

"Since August 2021, the team has grown from 60 to over 300 strong spread across four different locations and we plan to continue strengthening several departments. It is truly humbling to have the support of such an established and experienced group of global investors who believe in our mission and purpose as much as we do. We have incredibly exciting and ambitious plans for 2022 and look forward to working with all our strategic partners," Shahir said.

Regarding the investment, Managing Partner at Wavemaker Partners Paul Santos said: "Not all Bangladeshi students have equal access to remote learning tools or high-quality education. Many feel they have to pay for expensive private tutoring to pass highly-competitive national examinations. With Shikho, students can access high-quality educational content from top teachers on their phones and computers at a reasonable price. We're inspired by Shikho's mission and excited to continue supporting them to democratize access to quality education for students across Bangladesh."

Prior to this round of financing, Shikho raised $275,000 in a pre-seed financing from LearnStart and strategic angel investors, including Zubair Siddiky and Ambareen Reza, the Managing Directors of Foodpanda Bangladesh, and Adeeba Khan, Director of Summit Power International Limited.

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