SAJIDA Foundation Investing In Shikho- A Strategic Gamechanger?3 min read

Op-Ed: This is an independent editorial from our esteemed opinion contributor. By any means, this op-ed content doesn’t reflect any of Markedium’s in-house opinions.

Shikho, a leading education technology startup from Bangladesh, recently announced that it had raised $900,000 in investment from three new and one existing investor in a strategic funding round making it the highest-funded ed-tech startup in the country. So far, Shikho has raised a total of USD 6.5 million.

shikho pr pic

In this recent funding round, a total of four investors took part which includes three international venture capital funds: Goodwater, Sturgeon Capital, Black Kite Capital, and the local philanthropic organization SAJIDA Foundation. Previous investors include Learn Capital, Wavemaker Partners, Anchorless Bangladesh, etc.

This piece aims to analyze how the SAJIDA Foundation investment makes a lot of sense for Shikho’s company vision.

What Is SAJIDA Foundation?

A lot of us probably are not aware of SAJIDA Foundation- a prominent value-driven, non-government organization (NGO) in the country and what they do!

SAJIDA Foundation owns 51% of Renata Limited, previously known as Pfizer Bangladesh, one of the top Pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh, was born in 1993 when Pfizer transferred its ownership to local shareholders. In the same year, Renata Limited initially sold and subsequently donated 51% of its shareholding to SAJIDA Foundation. 

As of February 16, 2023, Renata Limited is the fourth largest pharma company in Bangladesh and a market leader in animal health products with a market capitalization of BDT 139 billion ( USD 1.3 Billion) in the Dhaka Stock Exchange. 

SAJIDA Foundation works in 36 districts in Bangladesh and has 399 unit offices with a microfinance portfolio of USD 273 Million and a USD 13 Million Annual Development Programme Budget. They focus on areas around catalyzing entrepreneurship, empowering communities, fostering equity, and enterprises for good.

Where Does Shikho Come In?

Shikho, since 2019 has been able to make significant strides in advancing the quality of education in Bangladesh. They claim to have reached over 2.5 million students last year and its learning platforms currently offer a personalized and engaging learning experience to its students, using content from some of the best teachers in the country.

In its massive strides forward, Shikho has also acquired Bohubrihi, one of the leading online professional skill development organizations in 2021, and Mainly Coding, a platform that focuses on the practical aspects of learning how to code in early 2022. 

Read more: Renaissance Of Ed-Tech Industry In Bangladesh.

This particular investment from SAJIDA might help Shikho tap into SAJIDA’s existing network in the country to make its courses available to the most marginalized of communities. It would align directly with SAJIDA’s goal of Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

Hence, Shikho probably now will have better access to not only provide quality education from the city center right into the palms of the marginalized communities but also provide professional skill development opportunities and technical skills like training for coding to those untapped areas of Bangladesh. 

How Does This Help SAJIDA Foundation?

SAJIDA’s Impact Partners program under their capitalizing entrepreneurship thematic area provides early-stage startups or social enterprises the much-needed financial and business development support to scale up with social impact in mind.

Impact Partners helps to capitalize on greater social impact by providing the support needed to raise more investment from donors/investors and to deliver social returns in a sustainable manner.

As we can see, this particular investment seems to be a very strategic match for both SAJIDA Foundation and Shikho- both organizations involved have a lot to gain in terms of social impact which can only bode well for Bangladesh as a whole!

So, what do you think? Let us know your opinion and for more updates, be with Markedium.

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