For Bangladeshi Kids, 10 Minute School Seeks To Democratise Education

For Bangladeshi Kids, 10 Minute School Seeks To Democratise Education | Future Education Magazine


According to the creators of edtech 10 Minute School, there are many disparities in education access in Bangladesh. Since many rural areas lack quality educational facilities, students must go to the capital Dhaka to study for their university entrance exams. However, only households with sufficient funds have access to that alternative.

The mission of 10 Minute School, also known as 10MS, is to democratise access to further education for K–12 students across the nation. 10 Minute School was first launched as a YouTube channel. The startup, which claims to be the biggest edtech business in Bangladesh, revealed today that it had secured a pre-Series A round of funding for $5.5 million, the highest seed round of funding ever received by a Bangladeshi startup. The total amount raised for 10MS is now $7.5 million.

In addition to additional information that can be accessed through a smartphone app, 10MS provides live-streamed classrooms for K12 students, pre-recorded lessons, university admission test preparation, and personalised quizzes. It currently includes 35,000 recorded video courses, over 82,000 quizzes, sample tests, ebooks, and lecture notes that cover the whole federal curriculum. 34% of its students are female, and 52% of them are from semi-urban and rural areas outside of Dhaka (one of 10MS’s objectives is to eliminate gender inequities in education).

The fresh round of funding for 10MS was provided by both private and public investors. Conjunction Capital served as the funding’s primary investor, with support from previous backer Peak XV’s Surge (formerly Sequoia Capital India), Startup Bangladesh Limited, the sovereign venture fund of Bangladesh’s government, CRED founder and CEO Kunal Shah, MyAsiaVC managing partner Sajid Rahman, and a number of regional angel investors.

2015 saw the launch of 10MS as a YouTube channel by co-founder Ayman Sadiq. Sadiq, a teacher since 2012, was formerly employed by a renowned tutoring facility in Dhaka. At that time, he became aware that many of his students had to go to Dhaka from their hometowns, which lacked coaching facilities, and pay tuition.

That’s when the foolish notion struck me that I could film all the recordings and post them on YouTube for free, so no one had to travel to the capital or pay anything, claims Sadiq. He also drew a lot of inspiration from websites for online education like Khan Academy and edX. When he reached a YouTube following of 100,000 subscribers, according to Sadiq, he understood the notion could grow.

More than 25,000 films covering the complete K12 curriculum were produced by the YouTube channel thanks to sponsorships from telecom providers, electronics manufacturers, and FMCG firms between 2015 and 2019. Then the pandemic struck, and sponsors started quitting. Sadiq understood that he would need to produce a paid version of his project in order to make it viable. So 10MS created its first paid book and course as its first premium offering.

He noted that the paid course and book each had more than 100,000 paying customers. This immediately made us realise that we could truly monetize some of our services and solutions and build a long-lasting business around them.

The startup company started looking for investors, and in 2022 it secured $2 million in seed capital from Surge, the scale-up programme of Sequoia India (now Peak XV).

According to co-founder and COO Mirza Salman Hossain Beg, 10MS now that it has raised its pre-Series A, aims to invest in its tech skills, content, and operations. He stated that 10MS will hire more engineers and product managers to support its goal of giving students personalised learning experiences through the use of AI.

Content that is compatible with Bangladesh’s expanding K12 curriculum is another significant area of commitment for 10MS. There will be a lot of new content needed to support the new curriculum, according to Beg. “The government in Bangladesh is currently undergoing a lot of massive changes in the national curriculum,” he says.

Additionally, 10MS is investigating a hybrid online/offline approach with centres for after-school teaching and developing a new sales channel for its English content.

It’s interesting to note that the most recent edtech business in Bangladesh to secure the highest seed-stage funding in the nation. As of March 2022, Shikho, which targets students in primary schools, had raised a total of $5.3 million in seed money. Shikho is one of 10MS’s rivals, although according to Beg, 10MS has an edge due to its age, size, and ability to teach a wider range of grades.

Beg responded that the educational system in Bangladesh suffers several difficulties when asked what is stoking interest in edtech in that nation. “We have a huge student base with 42 million students enrolled in the K12 system, and the majority of students don’t have access to quality teachers, quality content, because those who are actually living outside the capital city don’t have good teachers in their area,” he claimed. The basic issue that needs to be resolved is how to provide extremely affordable access to high-quality teachers and content. With the ability to reach students wherever they are on their phones, edtech has the potential to democratise access to education.

Kirill Kozhevnikov, managing partner of Conjunction Capital, was quoted by an investor as saying, “This marks our first venture into the Bangladesh market, and we are confident that this partnership will redefine the education landscape in the country.”

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