Indonesian education technology platform Pahamify has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A round led by Shunwei Capital, the company has announced.
The round also saw the participation of Lien Family Office (Wah Hin) and return backer Insignia Venture Partners.
While a part of the corpus will be used by the startup to develop learning material for students at elementary, junior and high school level, the other part will be deployed to spruce up innovations, both in the technology and education space, besides strengthening its presence as the leader in the digital test prep segment.
Launched in 2019, Pahamify is an online learning platform for K-12 students in Indonesia that offers online test-prep and tutoring services. It periodically provides live practice test sessions where students can get personalized feedback on their preparation, thereby taking care of the concepts they need to improve on, their test-taking habits, and how their test scores stack up against their peers.
In addition to live practice tests, Pahamify also provides online tutoring in the form of pre-recorded video subscriptions and live classes. Students can get access to thousands of videos spanning subjects in mathematics, science, social sciences, languages, and college entrance exams. Daily live classes allow students to engage directly with Pahamify’s teachers to deepen their understanding of selected topics and solve doubts they may have.
The funding comes at a time when edtech players in Indonesia have been witnessing a significant surge in demand, driven by COVID-19 pandemic that has forced students nationwide to study from home and adopt the digital wave.
Pahamify claims to have recorded a 10 times growth in its paid subscription users in the first five months of this new academic year, compared to the previous full academic year.
In the last academic year, the platform administered close to 1 million test sessions that were taken by a third of the students preparing for Indonesia’s centralized college entry exam.
“The pandemic has undoubtedly been a big tailwind for our business as it has accelerated the digitization of online learning, but we are confident that the behavior will stick amongst students as they have first-hand felt the benefits from learning online,” said Syarif Rousyan Fikri, co-founder at Pahamify.
This notable uptick, however, is something many edtech players also claim to be seeing, setting stage for an interesting battle in Indonesia’s edtech space.
“We believe that the edtech market in Indonesia is just getting started as most companies are still figuring out the right model that works in Indonesia,” Fikri added.
Among edtech platforms serving the K-12 market in Indonesia are Ruangguru and Zenius, who have raised significant amounts of capital to expand their operations. Ruangguru secured a $150 million Series C funding in December 2019 led by General Atlantic and GGV Capital, while Zenius bagged a $20 million Series A round led by Northstar Group in February 2020.
Despite the stiff competition, Dannis Muhammad, an early investor of Pahamify and a former Traveloka CMO, believes Pahamify has the right mix of founders to grow a business in the education space.
“They are the type of founders who not only can bring a company off the ground but also scale it to be a potential powerhouse,” said Muhammad.
Fikri and his college friends Mohammad Ikhsan and Edria Albert, come with prior experience in academia, online content creation, and game development that has helped Pahamify combine the science of learning, film-making, animation, and gamification.
Prior to building Pahamify, the founders had also created educational videos for their Hujan Tanda Tanya Youtube channel – an education-focused station in Indonesia created four years ago that is understood to have garnered over 400,000 subscribers.