Karachi-based edtech startup ‘Dot and Line’ has raised six-figure (US Dollar) seed funding from Pakistan’s leading VC Sarmayacar, the investor announced yesterday without disclosing the exact size of deal. The round was also joined by Silicon Valley-based private investor and technology industry veteran Hasan Rizvi, former Executive Vice President of Oracle in California.
Founded in 2015 by two LSE (London School of Economics) alums; Maheen Adamjee and Lina Ahmed, Dot and Line is a tech-based network of female Math tutors who deliver an after-school mathematics program built (for Dot and Line) by subject specialists including PhDs from leading universities and top schools, to children in grades 2 to 7.
Dot and Line helps the tutors or Teaching Partners (as they like to call them) delivery the program through its blended learning product which includes paper-based worksheets and an app that the parents can use to track the progress of their child and receive assessment results. The program is delivered in small classes (at homes of tutors) which means that every child receives individualized attention. The classes also cover exam preparation and homework help.
The startup on its website claims that its learning process ensures that children develop a conceptual understanding in mathematics, through real-world application and hands-on activities and that’s one of the things that make Dot and Line centers different from the regular tuition centers, “Our after-school program enriches your child’s learning experience, helping them fall in love with math beyond what math tuition can do for them.”
Dot and Line also follows a rigorous selection process to select its Teacher Partners who then receive specialized training and certification before they could start delivering the program.
The startup currently has over 50 centers in three cities across Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore & Faisalabad, and claims to have helped hundreds of children achieve 40 percent improvement in their grades within 4 months of program.
For Teaching Partners, Dot and Line offers an opportunity to earn PKR 24,000 ($150) to PKR 72,000 ($450) every month by delivering the program without leaving their home. That’s pretty decent money considering the fact that Pakistani fresh graduates earn an average salary of PKR 26,000 per month and Dot and Line’s Teaching Partners don’t even have to be graduates. Even those who are currently pursuing a college degree could apply to become a Teaching Partner with them.
More importantly, the startup is creating opportunities for women in Pakistan many of whom, unfortunately (due to cultural and family constraints) still don’t pursue professional careers in spite of having education and skills to join country’s workforce. According to some estimates, Pakistan’s labor underutilization rate for women workers stands at 80 percent. Services like Dot and Line can help bring it down.
Dot and Line makes money by charging 20 to 40 percent commission on the revenue made by its Teacher Partners.
Started with Mathematics (only), Dot and Line is now preparing to launch an English program in August this year that will target 4 to 10-year-olds helping them improve their reading fluency, comprehension, writing and vocabulary.
Lina Ahmed, the co-founder of Dot and Line, commenting on the occasion, said, “We believe children have immense potential. The next world-renowned scientist, engineer, inventor, and leader is amongst us and our mission is to equip them with quality learning experiences to unleash that talent nationwide. With our Math program showing strong results, we are now excited to launch English.”
Dr. Bernhard Klemen, Partner at Sarmayacar, who’s joining the board of Dot and Line, said, “Dot & Line offers a high-quality curriculum in the attractive and sizeable education space; we at Sarmayacar are convinced that the team headed by two exceptional female founders and supported by us will scale across Pakistan for supporting and fostering the young talent of the country.”
Maheen Adamjee, co-Founder of Dot and Line added, “We aim to bridge the gap in quality education across the country because we believe every child can achieve their maximum potential given the right resources and teacher. Dot and Line will change the future of an entire generation.”
Correction – Jun 24, 2019 – 9:10 AM GMT: The story was updated with the correct commission percentage after receiving information from Dot and Line’s team.