The start-up scene in Pakistan is picking up nicely


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  1. #1
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    The start-up scene in Pakistan is picking up nicely




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    Airlift Technologies Pvt. has scored the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history ahead of plans to enter overseas markets, as the country begins to join a regional startup financing boom.

    The Lahore-based online shopping delivery firm raised $85 million in Series B financing co-led by Harry Stebbings from 20VC and Josh Buckley from Buckley Ventures Ltd., with participation from former Y Combinator president Sam Altman. That would be the largest-ever round for a Pakistani startup, according to a data tracker from venture capitalist fund Invest2Innovate.

    Pakistan is “in the very early stages, but the transformation is happening very, very quickly and we are seeing a shift in behavior,” Airlift co-founder Usman Gul said in an interview. “We have a lot of people who previously didn’t shop online.”

    The investment in Pakistan, a country of more than 200 million people -- the world’s fifth-most populous -- with a fledgling tech industry, mirrors a wave of investment across the border in India. Pakistani startups, the bulk of which are focused on e-commerce, raised a record $101 million in the first half of this year compared with $66 million in all of 2020, according to Invest2Innovate data. That’s still dwarfed by its neighbor, where technology startups scored a record $6.3 billion in the second quarter.

    For Airlift, the funding comes after the company pivoted around September into e-commerce with 30-minute shipments after the pandemic halted their main business -- selling air-conditioned bus rides. It enters a space that’s hotly competitive around the world, where grocers and e-commerce startups like Dunzo, Gorillas, Getir, and Gopuff battle to provide swift deliveries across traffic-clogged cities from Delhi to New York and London.

    Airlift’s fund raise is equal to the entire amount raised by Pakistani startups in the first half of the year. It also eclipses the largest initial public offering by the nation’s private sector, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    It now plans to expand its operations to 15 Pakistani cities by end of the year, up from a current eight. It’s also in the middle of a hiring spree with plans to double its core workforce to 400 by the end of next year, Gul said. The company is looking to enter an overseas developing market in about three months.

    “Very quickly we realized that the distribution of consumer goods was quite broken,” he said. “I ordered groceries and had to wait six hours to get that delivery. So we wanted to change that.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...commerce-booms


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    Marham, an online healthcare platform in Pakistan, has recently raised $1 million in a seed round led by Indus Valley Capital with the participation of Weihan Liew, a serial tech entrepreneur in Southeast Asia.

    WHAT IT DOES

    Marham is a mobile app and web-based platform launched in 2015. It claims to be the first health startup in Pakistan that enabled patients to book consultations with doctors online. The company now also allows users to schedule a lab test and order medicines via its platform. The startup hosts a network of around 20,000 doctors and serves about 10 million patients in the country.

    WHY IT MATTERS

    Tech news site MENAbytes said in a report that Marham will use its latest investment to offer more digital services and expand its reach to smaller cities and rural areas across Pakistan.

    It noted that the seed round represents its first capital raising event, having had to sustain its operations through personal savings.

    THE LARGER TREND

    In June, fellow Pakistani digital health platform Dawaai bagged $8.5 million in a financing round led by US-based 500 Startups. It operates an online pharmacy, as well as offers teleconsultations, nursing, physiotherapy and at-home lab testing through its mobile app and web portal.

    ON THE RECORD

    "Our vision is to build a healthcare ecosystem, for patients, doctors and hospitals to ensure faster care and better experience via technology, processes and telemedicine-enabled micro-clinics across Pakistan," Marham Co-founder and CEO Ehsan Imam reportedly said in a press statement.

    https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/...-1m-seed-round


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  4. #4
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    Bahrain-based Zayani Venture Capital and Dubai’s Tricap investments have participated in Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce startup Dastgyr’s $3.5 million Seed round, led by SOSV. Other investors participating in this round include ADB Ventures, the Asian Development Bank’s venture capital arm, Seedstars, and Edgebrook Partners.

    Launched in 2020 by Muhammad Owais Qureshi and Zohaib Ali, Dastgyr looks to serve two million retailers in Pakistan by linking them directly with wholesalers, offering next-day delivery for 2,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs). Products available for purchase on Dastgyr range from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), stationery to mobile accessories and soon clothes.

    “We started piloting the product in May 2020, at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. In September, we officially launched the app and kicked off operations. Since then, We've served 30,000 customers in Karachi and Lahore, we've fulfilled orders worth several millions of dollars,” Saif Ali, general manager and head of marketing and public relations (PR) department at Dastgyr told Wamda.

    With the fresh funding, the startup will be able to scale its sorting centre operations and grow its team. It also plans to launch its fintech-focused products in Q3 2021.

    According to Ali, Dastgyr will soon prepare for its Series A round, which will enable the startup to fuel its expansion to international markets, including Egypt and the UAE.

    https://www.wamda.com/2021/07/zayani...ion-seed-round


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    https://nation.com.pk/04-Jun-2021/pa...nt-in-planet-n

    Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (Private) Limited (PKIC) announces that it is making an equity investment of Rs500m in Planet N (Private) Limited. This is the largest equity investment by a local Financial Institution in a Tech Investment Platform in Pakistan. It was approved by the Board of PKIC in December, 2020. This investment will not only help Planet N expand its operations, but it will also motivate other investors to explore opportunities to develop and strengthen tech entrepreneurship and disruption in the country. With total assets of over Rs107b and equity of over Rs38b, PKIC is Pakistan’s leading DFI engaged in investment and development financing activities in the country.

    PKIC was established as a joint venture between the Governments of Pakistan and Kuwait in 1979. It is a “AAA” (Triple A) rated financial institution.

    Planet N has invested and nurtured tech start-ups such as Tapmad TV, Dawaai.pk, PublishEx, Tez Financial Services, Datalift, PiePie, Kashat, JinglePay, etc. spread across various jurisdictions including Pakistan, UAE, Egypt, Singapore and USA. It currently has more than 30 companies in its portfolio focusing on financial inclusion, fintech, digital media, data science & AI. This portfolio is expected to grow further after the equity investment by PKIC.

    Planet N was founded by Nadeem Hussain in 2016; with a vision to invest in growth oriented hi-tech companies.

  6. #6
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    IA from these small to big investments we develop our digital economy. The $85mn investment is amazing

  7. #7
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    good news, however paks issue is not start ups, or lack of creativity. its a non-financialised economy which makes scaling businesses virtually impossible. any good idea is likely to bought out by foreign companies and turned into the pakistan operation of a multinational operation.

    dont get me wrong, the multinationals are very important as they employ tonnes of people, however fundamentally they use the pakistani market to pay for these employees and the excess may repatriated to the parent company, if investment in another country is a better business decision than investment in Pakistan.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    IA from these small to big investments we develop our digital economy. The $85mn investment is amazing
    Its the confidence that it inspires in others which is important.


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  9. #9
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    Pakistan's Maqsad, an edtech platform, has become the latest in the string of local startups to raise multi-million dollars in financing, announcing a $2.1-million pre-seed round on Monday.

    The round was led by Indus Valley Capital. Alter Global, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and several individual founders from Pakistan and Middle East also participated in the round, stated Maqsad.

    The amount is the country's largest pre-seed funding after TAG ($5.5 million), an Islamabad-based fintech, Truck It In, a Karachi-based marketplace ($4.5 million), and equals the one raised by SadaPay.

    In the edtech space, Maqsad's funding follows that of Lahore-based Edkasa that announced earlier this year that it raised $320,000 in pre-seed funding.

    About Maqsad

    Maqsad, founded by Taha Ahmed and Rooshan Aziz, is a mobile-only platform that delivers localised academic content in both English and Urdu.

    Maqsad will be launching its mobile app in Q4 2021 and currently has a wait-list in place for early-access, according to the company. The amount would be used to expand its workforce, and build technology/content as it looks to scale up.

    “We’ve been looking to invest in a startup transforming education in Pakistan since Indus Valley’s inception,” Aatif Awan, the founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, was quoted as saying in the press release sent by Maqsad.

    Pakistan’s BridgeLinx, a digital freight platform, raises $10mn in seed round

    The Covid-19 pandemic has added to Pakistan's education woes with a online-only model troubling the country's schools just as much.

    “Struggles of students during the early days of the pandemic motivated us to run a pilot. With promising initial traction and user feedback, the potential to digitise the education sector became very clear," said Rooshan, previously a banker at BNP Paribas in London.

    Ali Mukhtar, General Partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures, said, Pakistan’s edtech opportunity is one of the largest in the world.

    Startup craze

    Pakistan's startup landscape has been in the news every other week with several companies announcing sizable funding from both series and seed funding rounds.

    Pakistan’s Truck It In raises $3 million, closes pre-seed at $4.5 million

    Just days ago, BridgeLinx, the Lahore-based company that commenced operation nine months ago as a digital freight network, marketplace, and solutions provider, managed to raise $10 million, the country's largest seed capital investment that beat the previous $7.2 million raised by Sada Pay earlier this year.

    Last month, Airlift, a transportation platform, announced it secured $85 million in the largest Series B financing in Pakistan’s startup history. The financing was about twice the size of the largest private company IPO in Pakistan’s history and the highest in the MENA region, bringing a number of implications for the country.

    Based on Emerging Venture Markets (EVM) E-commerce Venture Investment Report by Magnitt, Pakistan's ecommerce startups in just the first half of 2021 raised double the capital they did in FY2020, accounting for 17% of funding deployed across Emerging Venture Markets.

    Amongst Emerging Venture Markets, Pakistan was the only one to see a YoY increase in ecommerce deals in H1 2021, added the report.

    https://www.brecorder.com/news/40121...e-seed-funding


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  10. #10
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    Name:  59835258-eff1-4bad-9b12-017281969c6c.jpg
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  11. #11
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    The startup scene in the world’s fifth-largest nation is having a breakout year.

    More money has flowed into Pakistan’s nascent technology sector during 2021 than in the previous six years combined, with investors from the U.S., Singapore and the United Arab Emirates joining the rush. And one former Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn Corp. employee has been involved in about half the fundraising deals.

    Until 2018, Pakistan-born Aatif Awan was living the dream in Silicon Valley. After more than a decade working for tech heavyweights, he’d become an angel investor for American startups and bought a house in San Francisco. Then he went to visit his parents in Lodhran — a small town known for growing mangoes and cotton — and new opportunities became clear.

    Multiple local entrepreneurs got in touch, seeking advice on funding and how to accelerate their startups. That’s when Awan, 41, saw the possibilities in Pakistan’s startup space. He moved back in February last year and started his early-stage venture capital fund, Indus Valley Capital.

    “The law and order situation is so good, mobile penetration is there, everything seems right for this to happen,” he said.

    While neighboring India has long had a vibrant startup scene, foreign investors have traditionally viewed Pakistan with trepidation: Security concerns, power shortages and poor digital infrastructure have all counted against it in the past. But by other measures, the potential in fintech and retail is huge. Two thirds of the 200 million population are under 30, most shopping is still done in cash and relatively few people have a bank account. Internet users have more than tripled in the past five years, to about 110 million.

    By global standards, the sum poured into the country’s startups this year — about $300 million, according to Crunchbase and Invest2Innovate data — is tiny. But it’s a record for Pakistan and the funding surge is expected to continue.

    Silicon Valley-based Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., made its first investment there this year. Defy Partners Management LLC, Singapore’s Wavemaker Partners LLC and UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. are also on the list of investors.

    Pakistan “has all the necessary ingredients to be a large market that is growing rapidly,” said Mamoon Hamid, a partner at Kleiner Perkins. “Just given the youth of the population, we believe that they will adopt the new way of doing things much faster than most countries on the globe.''

    The venture industry is enjoying something of a boom everywhere.

    Global deals this year surged to $524.1 billion by the end of October, according to research firm Preqin — 66% higher than last year’s total and more than double the amount invested in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has made some things easier for international investors, as Zoom meetings and exchanging documents by email have replaced in-person meetings. Meanwhile, China’s tech crackdown has also prompted investors to hunt for new opportunities, with startups from Southeast Asia to India seeing increased interest from venture capital and private equity firms. To some, the capital flowing into Pakistan is yet another sign of frothiness in the market; to others, it’s the logical next step in a global race to invest.

    “The Internet economy has exploded over the last five to seven years, and I think that is the main catalyst,” said Ali Mukhtar, general partner at Fatima Gobi Ventures, whose portfolio companies have been involved in about 40% of Pakistan’s fundraising this year. The large diaspora in places like Silicon Valley, London and New York has also helped to provide a talent base and funding, he added.


    Many young nationals have left high-paying overseas jobs at places like Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & Co. and BNP Paribas SA to become entrepreneurs back home. The opportunity has also seen a few foreigners moving to Pakistan.

    The country has “the last large population that hasn’t been tapped,” said U.S. citizen Jordan Olivas, 32, co-founder of QisstPay Inc. The Islamabad-based startup is modeled on Klarna Bank AB, a buy-now, pay-later fintech firm and Olivas’s former employer.

    “Just the population size and the average age of the consumer alone creates a good market,” he said. “Up until this year there hasn’t been any big VC money coming in.”

    In addition to rising interest from global venture capital companies, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is also benefiting from a growing network of local investors, incubators and shared working spaces. Pakistan’s government has also increased support for the tech sector after realizing its potential for exports.


    The startup scene’s atmosphere is encapsulated at the Karachi offices of e-commerce startup Bazaar Technologies Pvt., which in August raised $30 million in the nation’s largest series A fundraising. Of more than a dozen investors, only one met with the company in person.

    Tucked away in an old office building, it’s a modern workspace with gleaming floors and furniture that buzzes with casually dressed young workers. Co-founders Hamza Jawaid and Saad Jangda, both 28, respectively worked in Dubai for McKinsey and ride-hailing company Careem Inc. before returning home last year to start Bazaar, which operates a business-to-business marketplace for grocery stores.

    Just a few years ago, startups in Pakistan struggled to raise funding. Risk-averse banks routinely turned down loan applications from entrepreneurs, while most cash-rich businesses and other private investors were not even willing to speak with them.

    “In 2012, there were zero significant funding sources,” said Kalsoom Lakhani, co-founder of investment fund i2i Ventures. “You really had to have the network in Pakistan to raise your funds for business.”

    “If you fast forward, there has been a support system that has been growing in speed around the startups,” she said.

    A number of risks could slow the funding momentum. Investors may lose faith if Pakistan’s pace of digital adoption is slower than expected — and banks with big pockets have been failing for decades to convince most of the population to take up bank accounts. An abrupt change of government policy — such as a more punishing tax regime or stricter regulation — would be a real threat to the fledgling tech sector. Investors may also find it difficult to exit through Pakistan’s stock market since startup valuations are high relative to listed companies, according to Suleman Rafiq Maniya, head of advisory at Vector Securities Pvt. Pakistan being on the monitoring list of the Financial Action Task Force, a financial watchdog, is also a concern for investors and has created extra hurdles for startups.

    For now though, there’s a lot of venture capital funding to be scooped up. “People realized this is a much larger force,” said Awan.

    Several startups have found themselves attracting more money than they had initially sought, while ideas and the results of a small test-run can be enough to raise funds, according to people who asked not to be named since the matter is private. Some are also hiring staff at double or triple their current salary as they have money to spend, two of the people said.

    “If you have a good team and a good idea, you’d come in and just revolutionize,” said Olivas. “There’s so much white space.”

    Early-stage success stories include Airlift Technologies Pvt., a Lahore-based online shopping delivery platform, which in August raised $85 million in the nation’s largest single private funding round ahead of overseas expansion plans. Digital payments startup TAG Innovation Pvt. is now valued at $100 million after raising funds in September, while competitor SadaPay is projected to be the fastest-growing mobile wallet in the world in the five years to 2025, according to London-based fintech company Boku Inc. Neither company has begun fully fledged operations yet.

    “What happened in China, India and Indonesia has started to happen in Pakistan, only faster,” said Awan. “The wheel has started turning now.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...tech-crackdown


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  12. #12
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    The startup scene in the world’s fifth-largest nation is having a breakout year.

    More money has flowed into Pakistan’s nascent technology sector during 2021 than in the previous six years combined, with investors from the U.S., Singapore and the United Arab Emirates joining the rush. And one former Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn Corp. employee has been involved in about half the fundraising deals.

    Until 2018, Pakistan-born Aatif Awan was living the dream in Silicon Valley. After more than a decade working for tech heavyweights, he’d become an angel investor for American startups and bought a house in San Francisco. Then he went to visit his parents in Lodhran — a small town known for growing mangoes and cotton — and new opportunities became clear.

    Multiple local entrepreneurs got in touch, seeking advice on funding and how to accelerate their startups. That’s when Awan, 41, saw the possibilities in Pakistan’s startup space. He moved back in February last year and started his early-stage venture capital fund, Indus Valley Capital.

    “The law and order situation is so good, mobile penetration is there, everything seems right for this to happen,” he said.

    While neighboring India has long had a vibrant startup scene, foreign investors have traditionally viewed Pakistan with trepidation: Security concerns, power shortages and poor digital infrastructure have all counted against it in the past. But by other measures, the potential in fintech and retail is huge. Two thirds of the 200 million population are under 30, most shopping is still done in cash and relatively few people have a bank account. Internet users have more than tripled in the past five years, to about 110 million.

    By global standards, the sum poured into the country’s startups this year — about $300 million, according to Crunchbase and Invest2Innovate data — is tiny. But it’s a record for Pakistan and the funding surge is expected to continue.

    Silicon Valley-based Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., made its first investment there this year. Defy Partners Management LLC, Singapore’s Wavemaker Partners LLC and UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. are also on the list of investors.

    Pakistan “has all the necessary ingredients to be a large market that is growing rapidly,” said Mamoon Hamid, a partner at Kleiner Perkins. “Just given the youth of the population, we believe that they will adopt the new way of doing things much faster than most countries on the globe.''

    The venture industry is enjoying something of a boom everywhere.

    Global deals this year surged to $524.1 billion by the end of October, according to research firm Preqin — 66% higher than last year’s total and more than double the amount invested in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has made some things easier for international investors, as Zoom meetings and exchanging documents by email have replaced in-person meetings. Meanwhile, China’s tech crackdown has also prompted investors to hunt for new opportunities, with startups from Southeast Asia to India seeing increased interest from venture capital and private equity firms. To some, the capital flowing into Pakistan is yet another sign of frothiness in the market; to others, it’s the logical next step in a global race to invest.

    “The Internet economy has exploded over the last five to seven years, and I think that is the main catalyst,” said Ali Mukhtar, general partner at Fatima Gobi Ventures, whose portfolio companies have been involved in about 40% of Pakistan’s fundraising this year. The large diaspora in places like Silicon Valley, London and New York has also helped to provide a talent base and funding, he added.


    Many young nationals have left high-paying overseas jobs at places like Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & Co. and BNP Paribas SA to become entrepreneurs back home. The opportunity has also seen a few foreigners moving to Pakistan.

    The country has “the last large population that hasn’t been tapped,” said U.S. citizen Jordan Olivas, 32, co-founder of QisstPay Inc. The Islamabad-based startup is modeled on Klarna Bank AB, a buy-now, pay-later fintech firm and Olivas’s former employer.

    “Just the population size and the average age of the consumer alone creates a good market,” he said. “Up until this year there hasn’t been any big VC money coming in.”

    In addition to rising interest from global venture capital companies, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is also benefiting from a growing network of local investors, incubators and shared working spaces. Pakistan’s government has also increased support for the tech sector after realizing its potential for exports.


    The startup scene’s atmosphere is encapsulated at the Karachi offices of e-commerce startup Bazaar Technologies Pvt., which in August raised $30 million in the nation’s largest series A fundraising. Of more than a dozen investors, only one met with the company in person.

    Tucked away in an old office building, it’s a modern workspace with gleaming floors and furniture that buzzes with casually dressed young workers. Co-founders Hamza Jawaid and Saad Jangda, both 28, respectively worked in Dubai for McKinsey and ride-hailing company Careem Inc. before returning home last year to start Bazaar, which operates a business-to-business marketplace for grocery stores.

    Just a few years ago, startups in Pakistan struggled to raise funding. Risk-averse banks routinely turned down loan applications from entrepreneurs, while most cash-rich businesses and other private investors were not even willing to speak with them.

    “In 2012, there were zero significant funding sources,” said Kalsoom Lakhani, co-founder of investment fund i2i Ventures. “You really had to have the network in Pakistan to raise your funds for business.”

    “If you fast forward, there has been a support system that has been growing in speed around the startups,” she said.

    A number of risks could slow the funding momentum. Investors may lose faith if Pakistan’s pace of digital adoption is slower than expected — and banks with big pockets have been failing for decades to convince most of the population to take up bank accounts. An abrupt change of government policy — such as a more punishing tax regime or stricter regulation — would be a real threat to the fledgling tech sector. Investors may also find it difficult to exit through Pakistan’s stock market since startup valuations are high relative to listed companies, according to Suleman Rafiq Maniya, head of advisory at Vector Securities Pvt. Pakistan being on the monitoring list of the Financial Action Task Force, a financial watchdog, is also a concern for investors and has created extra hurdles for startups.

    For now though, there’s a lot of venture capital funding to be scooped up. “People realized this is a much larger force,” said Awan.

    Several startups have found themselves attracting more money than they had initially sought, while ideas and the results of a small test-run can be enough to raise funds, according to people who asked not to be named since the matter is private. Some are also hiring staff at double or triple their current salary as they have money to spend, two of the people said.

    “If you have a good team and a good idea, you’d come in and just revolutionize,” said Olivas. “There’s so much white space.”

    Early-stage success stories include Airlift Technologies Pvt., a Lahore-based online shopping delivery platform, which in August raised $85 million in the nation’s largest single private funding round ahead of overseas expansion plans. Digital payments startup TAG Innovation Pvt. is now valued at $100 million after raising funds in September, while competitor SadaPay is projected to be the fastest-growing mobile wallet in the world in the five years to 2025, according to London-based fintech company Boku Inc. Neither company has begun fully fledged operations yet.

    “What happened in China, India and Indonesia has started to happen in Pakistan, only faster,” said Awan. “The wheel has started turning now.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...tech-crackdown


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    The startup scene in the world’s fifth-largest nation is having a breakout year.

    More money has flowed into Pakistan’s nascent technology sector during 2021 than in the previous six years combined, with investors from the U.S., Singapore and the United Arab Emirates joining the rush. And one former Microsoft Corp. and LinkedIn Corp. employee has been involved in about half the fundraising deals.

    Until 2018, Pakistan-born Aatif Awan was living the dream in Silicon Valley. After more than a decade working for tech heavyweights, he’d become an angel investor for American startups and bought a house in San Francisco. Then he went to visit his parents in Lodhran — a small town known for growing mangoes and cotton — and new opportunities became clear.

    Multiple local entrepreneurs got in touch, seeking advice on funding and how to accelerate their startups. That’s when Awan, 41, saw the possibilities in Pakistan’s startup space. He moved back in February last year and started his early-stage venture capital fund, Indus Valley Capital.

    “The law and order situation is so good, mobile penetration is there, everything seems right for this to happen,” he said.

    While neighboring India has long had a vibrant startup scene, foreign investors have traditionally viewed Pakistan with trepidation: Security concerns, power shortages and poor digital infrastructure have all counted against it in the past. But by other measures, the potential in fintech and retail is huge. Two thirds of the 200 million population are under 30, most shopping is still done in cash and relatively few people have a bank account. Internet users have more than tripled in the past five years, to about 110 million.

    By global standards, the sum poured into the country’s startups this year — about $300 million, according to Crunchbase and Invest2Innovate data — is tiny. But it’s a record for Pakistan and the funding surge is expected to continue.

    Silicon Valley-based Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., made its first investment there this year. Defy Partners Management LLC, Singapore’s Wavemaker Partners LLC and UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. are also on the list of investors.

    Pakistan “has all the necessary ingredients to be a large market that is growing rapidly,” said Mamoon Hamid, a partner at Kleiner Perkins. “Just given the youth of the population, we believe that they will adopt the new way of doing things much faster than most countries on the globe.''

    The venture industry is enjoying something of a boom everywhere.

    Global deals this year surged to $524.1 billion by the end of October, according to research firm Preqin — 66% higher than last year’s total and more than double the amount invested in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has made some things easier for international investors, as Zoom meetings and exchanging documents by email have replaced in-person meetings. Meanwhile, China’s tech crackdown has also prompted investors to hunt for new opportunities, with startups from Southeast Asia to India seeing increased interest from venture capital and private equity firms. To some, the capital flowing into Pakistan is yet another sign of frothiness in the market; to others, it’s the logical next step in a global race to invest.

    “The Internet economy has exploded over the last five to seven years, and I think that is the main catalyst,” said Ali Mukhtar, general partner at Fatima Gobi Ventures, whose portfolio companies have been involved in about 40% of Pakistan’s fundraising this year. The large diaspora in places like Silicon Valley, London and New York has also helped to provide a talent base and funding, he added.


    Many young nationals have left high-paying overseas jobs at places like Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & Co. and BNP Paribas SA to become entrepreneurs back home. The opportunity has also seen a few foreigners moving to Pakistan.

    The country has “the last large population that hasn’t been tapped,” said U.S. citizen Jordan Olivas, 32, co-founder of QisstPay Inc. The Islamabad-based startup is modeled on Klarna Bank AB, a buy-now, pay-later fintech firm and Olivas’s former employer.

    “Just the population size and the average age of the consumer alone creates a good market,” he said. “Up until this year there hasn’t been any big VC money coming in.”

    In addition to rising interest from global venture capital companies, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is also benefiting from a growing network of local investors, incubators and shared working spaces. Pakistan’s government has also increased support for the tech sector after realizing its potential for exports.


    The startup scene’s atmosphere is encapsulated at the Karachi offices of e-commerce startup Bazaar Technologies Pvt., which in August raised $30 million in the nation’s largest series A fundraising. Of more than a dozen investors, only one met with the company in person.

    Tucked away in an old office building, it’s a modern workspace with gleaming floors and furniture that buzzes with casually dressed young workers. Co-founders Hamza Jawaid and Saad Jangda, both 28, respectively worked in Dubai for McKinsey and ride-hailing company Careem Inc. before returning home last year to start Bazaar, which operates a business-to-business marketplace for grocery stores.

    Just a few years ago, startups in Pakistan struggled to raise funding. Risk-averse banks routinely turned down loan applications from entrepreneurs, while most cash-rich businesses and other private investors were not even willing to speak with them.

    “In 2012, there were zero significant funding sources,” said Kalsoom Lakhani, co-founder of investment fund i2i Ventures. “You really had to have the network in Pakistan to raise your funds for business.”

    “If you fast forward, there has been a support system that has been growing in speed around the startups,” she said.

    A number of risks could slow the funding momentum. Investors may lose faith if Pakistan’s pace of digital adoption is slower than expected — and banks with big pockets have been failing for decades to convince most of the population to take up bank accounts. An abrupt change of government policy — such as a more punishing tax regime or stricter regulation — would be a real threat to the fledgling tech sector. Investors may also find it difficult to exit through Pakistan’s stock market since startup valuations are high relative to listed companies, according to Suleman Rafiq Maniya, head of advisory at Vector Securities Pvt. Pakistan being on the monitoring list of the Financial Action Task Force, a financial watchdog, is also a concern for investors and has created extra hurdles for startups.

    For now though, there’s a lot of venture capital funding to be scooped up. “People realized this is a much larger force,” said Awan.

    Several startups have found themselves attracting more money than they had initially sought, while ideas and the results of a small test-run can be enough to raise funds, according to people who asked not to be named since the matter is private. Some are also hiring staff at double or triple their current salary as they have money to spend, two of the people said.

    “If you have a good team and a good idea, you’d come in and just revolutionize,” said Olivas. “There’s so much white space.”

    Early-stage success stories include Airlift Technologies Pvt., a Lahore-based online shopping delivery platform, which in August raised $85 million in the nation’s largest single private funding round ahead of overseas expansion plans. Digital payments startup TAG Innovation Pvt. is now valued at $100 million after raising funds in September, while competitor SadaPay is projected to be the fastest-growing mobile wallet in the world in the five years to 2025, according to London-based fintech company Boku Inc. Neither company has begun fully fledged operations yet.

    “What happened in China, India and Indonesia has started to happen in Pakistan, only faster,” said Awan. “The wheel has started turning now.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...tech-crackdown
    World’s fifth largest nation? Are these guys not checking the articles before posting? I’m guessing fifth most populous one?

    Irrespective otherwise it’s a good thing, tech is way forward for all 3rd world countries.

  14. #14
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    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...o-next-quarter

    Pakistan’s Coeus Solutions Ltd., which develops and manages software for mostly German clients, plans an initial public offer next quarter as appetite for technology stocks in the South Asian country grows.

    The Lahore-based company plans to raise $5 million by listing on the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s Growth Enterprise Market Board, Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Ahsan Naseem said. The company, which has a second office in Berlin, caters to 30,000 businesses in Germany including Audi AG and Allianz SE.

    The offering comes as Pakistan is seeing record investments in its startups. The nation has seen its IT exports grow during the pandemic and is looking to double them in two years by setting up dedicated technology zones and giving incentives, after missing out on earlier tech booms in nations like India.

    Pakistan’s appetite for tech stocks is increasing as well. Software company Systems Ltd. is the top performer on the benchmark KSE-100 Index this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Octopus Digital Ltd.’s IPO was subscribed within 30 minutes and received offers for 27 times the shares on sale, the highest in the nation’s history.

    Coeus Solutions plans to use the proceeds to fund acquisitions and expand its products in the remote-working space, said Naseem. “We believe the Pakistani tech scene is ripe for a consolidation play,” he said.

    KTrade KASB Securities Ltd. is the financial adviser to the transaction.

  15. #15
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    Pakistani startups have continued to remain high on the global investors' radar, with global investments crossing $300 million this year.

    Travel and ticketing startup Bookme and beauty and fashion startup Bagallery have attracted a combined $12 million in an advanced round of fundraising.

    Bookme, the largest online travel and ticketing platform in the country, has raised $7.5 million in its Series A round, according to its founder Faizan Aslam, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

    Bagallery, a beauty and fashion startup, raised $4.5 million in a similar round, co-founder Salman Sattar told the international media outlet.

    Both rounds were co-led by Zayn Capital, Lakson Venture Capital and Hayaat Global.

    With this, global investment has reached $310 million.

    The investment is a record high for the country, more than what Pakistan attracted cumulatively over the past six years.

    Pakistan has huge potential to attract foreign funding since it has largely remained untapped.

    The country adopted technology-driven solutions at an accelerated pace during the Covid pandemic, and the required infrastructure, including 4G internet is available, as authorities are already making efforts in this regard.

    The combined international funding of around $310 million in domestic startups is more than what companies raised at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) during the year.

    Many global venture capital firms have invested in Pakistani startups for the first time, including Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in Google and Amazon Inc.

    Pakistan’s e-commerce industry is picking up with online retail accounting for about 2% of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 20% in Indonesia, Bloomberg added.

    Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Daraz Group, the largest e-commerce company in Pakistan, expects to double its retail volume every year over the next five years, sustaining the pace of the past four years.


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  16. #16
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    Dawn: Pakistani q-commerce startup Krave Mart raises $6m in pre-seed funding

    Krave Mart, a quick-commerce (q-commerce) startup offering the delivery of groceries and other products in 10 minutes, has raised $6 million in a pre-seed funding round less than four months after its establishment, the company said on Wednesday.

    According to a statement issued by the startup, the investment was led by China's MSA Capital and Russia’s ru-Net while German Global Founders Capital and Islamabad-based Zayn Capital co-led the deal. Other participating investors included Saison Capital, +92Ventures, 2AM, Mehta Ventures, Jeddar Capital, Lakson Investment and multiple strategic angel investors.

    Krave Mart was co-founded towards the end of August by a team of former executives of Daraz, Foodpanda and Swvl, the statement said.

    “The Krave team consists of rockstars from Daraz, FoodPanda and Swvl. We feel that the collective experience of this team will allow them to scale rapidly as they have no learning curve in the quick commerce vertical," the statement quoted Zayn Frontier Fund Co-Founder and Managing Partner Faisal Aftab as saying.

    "We’re really excited to be a part of their journey to create the next generation of e-commerce & delivery in Pakistan,” he said.

    According to the statement, Krave Mart, which launched its services in November, currently covers 25 per cent of Karachi’s population and aims to bring that number to 100pc by January 2022, before expanding to other cities.

    At the moment, the company's product catalogue includes groceries, personal care products, health and beauty products and other everyday essentials, "promised to be delivered in 10 minutes through a network of dark stores".

    “Pakistan has the potential for 500+ dark stores with high population density areas," Krave Mart COO Haziq Ahmed noted in the statement, adding that "our teams are lean, agile and efficient, which is helping us in scaling faster than any q-commerce player in the world."

    "We aspire to build a sustainable business model starting with groceries and eventually incorporating fashion, beauty, electronics and other categories super customised as per the locality and consumer," he further said. "The 10-minute delivery model is going to be the game-changer for this industry and will set a bar for all the players to come in the q-commerce landscape."

    Meanwhile, MSA Capital said in a statement that “Quick commerce will redefine how users shop for groceries in Pakistan, which today is a hyper-fragmented and inefficient [in terms of] experience. We've benchmarked and invested in similar models globally and believe Pakistan is a market ripe for disruption."

  17. #17
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    Tazah, a B2B agriculture marketplace in Pakistan, announced on Wednesday that it has raised another $4.5 million in a pre-seed round after last raising $2m in October.

    A statement issued by the startup said it was "Pakistan’s largest pre-seed round extension" and brought the total amount raised to $6.5m.

    It added that the extension was co-led by Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV) and Vibe Capital, with participation from Shorooq Partners, Nuwa Capital, Ru-net, Alter Global, Julian.Capital, Venture for Pakistan, Early Grey Capital and K3 Fund. The round also had participation from prolific Silicon Valley-based angel investors including Sahil Bloom, Siqi Chen, Matt Brezina, among others.

    Existing investors including Global Founders Capital, Zayn Capital, i2i Ventures and notable angels also followed on in the round, the statement said.

    Co-founder Abrar Bajwa told Dawn.com that with the new proceeds, the startup was aiming to offer working capital financing to fresh produce sellers and streamline the fresh produce supply by reducing the time between harvest and sale.

    "We are excited to have the confidence of some of the most active investors in Pakistan. We are also grateful for all the value added by our existing investors and their continuous backing of Tazah.

    "The new investments will help us accelerate our market dominance and execute some exciting projects that will help us improve our margins as we scale," the statement quoted him as saying.

    Co-founder Mohsin Zaka said that the duo's experience leading large national teams and growing complex marketplaces helped them in rapidly scaling the business and build the capability to manage multi-city operations.

    "We have also built a very strong founding team by acquiring the best talent from different industries," he said.

    The two co-founders have previously held leadership positions at ride-hailing giants such as Careem and Swvl. They founded Tazah in August, basing its headquarters in Lahore and have already expanded operations into Karachi with another city launch on the agenda.

    "Tazah has scaled operations to an annualised gross merchandise value of $7m in a little more than four months of operations," the statement said.

    Ali Mukhtar, a general partner for FGV, said: "At FGV, we constantly envision Pakistan’s tomorrow, today — and that is the essence of Tazah, which is revolutionising Pakistan’s massive yet incredibly complex agricultural sector to solve inefficiencies in food and agri supply chains."

    He added that what Tazah set out to achieve was "incredibly ambitious" but FGV couldn't wait to see what the startup did next.

    Ankur Nagpal, founder of Vibe Capital, said they were most excited about the ability to build additional products — particularly financial products — for this market.

    "Tazah is in a great position to start extending lines of credit to their business buyers that they pay off after reselling the inventory," he was quoted by the statement as saying.

    DAWN


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  18. #18
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    Funding of Pakistani Startups Crosses $300 Million This Year

    A funding frenzy in Pakistan’s startup scene this year has seen investments cross $300 million after two e-commerce companies raised fresh funds.

    Bookme, the largest online travel and ticketing platform in the country, raised $7.5 million in its Series A round, according to its founder Faizan Aslam. Bagallery, a beauty and fashion startup, separately raised $4.5 million in a similar round, co-founder Salman Sattar said. Both rounds were co-led by Zayn Capital, Lakson Venture Capital and Hayaat Global.

    The South Asian nation has seen more money flow into its nascent technology sector during 2021 than in the previous six years combined. Many global venture capital firms have invested in Pakistan for the first time in the current wave including Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in Google and Amazon.com Inc.

    Lift Off
    Pakistan's startups raise record $310 million in 2021

    Pakistan’s e-commerce industry is just picking up with online retail accounting for about 2% of gross domestic product, compared with 20% in Indonesia. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Daraz Group, the largest e-commerce company in Pakistan, expects to double its retail volume every year over the next five years, sustaining the pace of the past four years.

    Startup Fever Grips Pakistan, World’s Last Big Untapped Nation

    Fashion is the largest segment within e-commerce and Bagallery founders believe there will be as many as four unicorns in Pakistan in the next seven years. The country has none so far.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/technology

  19. #19
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    Very encouraging progress but a long way to go.


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  20. #20
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    Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq has said that the IT sector contributes $3.5 billion to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    He said this during a ceremony held to sign a contract for the establishment of an incubation centre in Hyderabad.

    The Ministry of IT & Telecommunication will launch its 7th National Incubation Centre (NIC) in Hyderabad by summer of this year. The federal minister was the chief guest on the occasion.

    The agreement was signed by Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar Husain and University of Sindh Jamshoro Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro.

    The ceremony was attended by MQM Member National Assembly Engineer Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani, Federal Secretary for IT & Telecom Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, officials from IT Ministry, Ignite, University of Sindh, academia, business communities and others personalities from to IT Industries.

    Speaking on the occasion, Haque said that the Ministry of IT & Telecom through its Organisation Ignite-National Technology Fund has already established five NICs, one each at Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar, while the 6th NIC is being established in Faisalabad which will focus the agri-tech. In accordance with the government’s vision for 'digital Pakistan' and provision of an enabling environment for potential entrepreneurs, more NICs are being established in second tier cities and incubators in health-tech, gaming & animation and electronics, he added Therefore, to move forward, NIC is being established at Hyderabad to improve the effectiveness of variety of industries, including agriculture, livestock, ornamental industrial products, textile, sugar and cement, located at Hyderabad & its adjacent areas, he further said.

    “Establishment of National Incubation Center at Hyderabad (13000 Sq Feet Area) has become a dire need for youth of Hyderabad and its surrounding rural Nd urban areas to transform traditional business approach into an innovative tech-oriented form,” Haque said.

    He said that according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global crises report 2021, the world could face many risks and threats pertaining to price instability, debt crises, commodity shocks, digital power concentration, and digital inequality. The good news is that Pakistan achieved decent economic growth in 2021 despite those risks, he added. This is due to the effective implementation of government policies and vision of the present government for prosperous Pakistan, he further said.

    “During the outgoing year, an increase was observed not only in the yield of major crops but also in IT & ITeS exports. The IT Sector of Pakistan is contributing almost 1 percent of the GDP or almost around $3.5 billion,” he added.

    Haque further stated that, Federal Ministry of IT & Telecom has been providing an enabling environment for all stakeholders of startup ecosystem to promote startup culture and attract foreign investments. Moreover, State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have also relaxed rules for attracting investment in technology-based business solutions, he added.

    “As a result of these steps, investments in Pakistani startups have been at skyrocketing during 2021 and almost $373 million have been raised by Pakistani startup, which is almost five times higher than last year’s investment of $75 million," he further said.

    VC Dr Siddique stated that the establishment of NIC is highly a praiseworthy step of the government to fill-up this need.

    Earlier, in his welcome address, the Ignite CEO stated that Hyderabad has always maintained its identity in all walks of life despite being the closest district near Karachi and is the agricultural hub of Sindh. Hence the city will maintain the same identity while having its own NIC, he added.

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/2338165...o-gdp-minister


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  21. #21
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    https://www.dawn.com/news/1669408/pa...ries-a-funding

    Oladoc, a Pakistani platform for booking doctors' appointments and healthcare teleconsultation, has raised $1.8 million in a Pre-Series A round, the company said on Friday.

    The round was led by Sarmayacar Ventures along with participation from Doha Tech Angels and other angel investors, Oaldoc said in a statement, adding that while the round was closed in 2021, the official confirmation of it securing the funding was made today (Friday).

    The statement quoted Sarmayacar founder and Chief Executive Officer Rabeel Warraich as saying: "We are excited to partner with Oladoc on their journey to provide quality healthcare to everyone in Pakistan. Oladoc’s team has demonstrated strong on the ground execution, helping establish Oladoc as the number one doctor-booking platform in Pakistan."

    "We look forward to working with the founders to accelerate Oladoc’s growth and unlock the full market potential," he added.

    According to the statement, Oaldoc, which was founded by Abid Zuberi and Atif Zuberi, has a network of 8,000 doctors spread across 10 cities in Pakistan.

    "The platform puts the power in the hands of patients (versus doctors), by giving them the ability to search, book, rate and review healthcare providers. In addition, the platform also provides its users the ability to order lab tests [and] save their medical history in the application," the statement read.

    It added that Oladoc had served more than 15m users in the last three years and currently had more than 300,000 verified patient reviews online.

    "Oladoc is on a mission to empower patients by making healthcare accessible, transparent and affordable for the masses," the statement quoted Abid as saying.

    The platform's founder said the company had seen "phenomenal growth" in the past 12 months and "with a fresh funding round, [it] aims to evolve into a digital health mall that serves patients’ needs across the complete lifecycle."

    Oladoc planned to scale its current value proposition along with bringing in seasoned C-level leadership, which comprises executive-level managers, to help scale the organisation faster, he added.

  22. #22
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    Extolling the importance of startups and export-oriented small businesses to the country’s economic growth, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday he wanted to emulate the success of Silicon Valley and make Pakistan a hub for new businesses.

    Addressing the launch of the National Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) policy on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to take stern action against government departments and officials who created hurdles in the setting up of new startups and export-oriented businesses.

    Saying that fresh incentives would be extended to such businesses, which he claimed had been ignored in the past, the PM said: “We are giving SMEs bank credit facility, land for their businesses on lease and [are committed to] eradicating red tapism.”

    PM Khan said the SME sector was the biggest source of employment and had a considerable share in wealth creation.

    Unveils incentives for small export-oriented businesses, launches policy to encourage new ideas

    Giving the example of Silicon Valley — the hub of startups and global technology companies in the US — he said youngsters around the world had become billionaires thanks to IT-related startups.

    He said the government was facilitating young people in obtaining credit and other facilities and said he was happy that “$500 million investment in Pakistani startups is coming in from abroad”. This, he said, meant the country was heading in the right direction.

    Talking about exports, the prime minister said that small countries like Singapore, which had a much smaller population than Pakistan, had surpassed us in terms of exports. “Singapore with a 5 million population has over $300 billion in exports, while Malaysia has $220 billion,” he said.

    The PM said the government was trying to reduce regulations for SMEs to facilitate them. He particularly spoke about the no-objection certificate (NOC) regime, adding that inspections of businesses would be streamlined by using the latest computerised methods.

    He recalled that the government had inherited multiple economic problems but said that despite challenges, the country saw a record rise in exports, remittances and tax collection figures.

    He vowed to reach his aim of generating Rs8,000 billion in taxes during his five-year tenure, saying that work was being carried out with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority to develop a system to identify persons and entities that didn’t pay taxes.

    The PM also announced that the government would not close down businesses or impose blanket lockdowns during the fresh wave of Covid-19, adding that this wave would be countered through smart lockdowns.

    He called on the people to observe all standard operating procedures (SOPs) but said that the economy would not be shutdown.

    In another meeting on the master plans of large cities, PM Khan said the government was placing special focus on their development as the real engines of growth.

    The prime minister directed the concerned authorities to take all possible measures to clear hurdles to the completion of various development schemes on priority basis to provide maximum relief to their residents.

    “Due to rural to urban migration, cities are facing multiple challenges and housing, job opportunities and civic amenities are scarce. It is necessary to work on special development packages for these big cities and they must be accelerated,” the prime minister said during the meeting.

    He also directed the authorities to work in close coordination and launch a concerted campaign for the uplift of cities like Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalsbad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala.

    The meeting was attended by Information Minister Ch Fawad Hussain, Industries Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar and Planning Minister Asad Umar.

    Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar joined the meeting via video link.

    In a separate sitting convened to discuss the urea shortage, PM Khan said the government had devised a comprehensive mechanism for the distribution of fertiliser and would enlist the assistance of the district administration to ensure the availability of urea fertilizer to farmers at controlled rates.

    The meeting was told that urea production during the three-year tenure of the current government surpassed 6.1 million tonnes, which had never crossed 5.5 million tones prior to 2018.

    Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022


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  23. #23
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    Fintech NayaPay secures $13m as it rolls out digital payments revolution in Pakistan

    Platform aims to address needs of underbanked citizens, SMBs, enabling them to create accounts and start transacting

    NayaPay, a Pakistan-based fintech platform, has raised $13 million in one of the largest seed rounds in South Asia. Bringing together a diverse mix of leading global institutional and angel investors, the round was led by Zayn Capital, global fund manager MSA Novo and early-stage VC Graph Ventures from Silicon Valley.

    Singapore-based Saison Capital, Waleed Saigol’s Maple Leaf Capital and Warren Hogarth, CEO Empower Finance, also participated in the round, alongside a major investment from the sponsors of the Lakson Group – a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in media, telecom, industrials, financial services as well as controlling stake in Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan and McDonalds Pakistan.

    NayaPay is the first fintech of its kind in Pakistan having recently secured the first E-Money Institution license from the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan. It is on a mission to make financial services simpler and accessible to millions of Pakistani users. NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitisation of Pakistan with its two-sided platform for the underbanked.

    Pakistan presents a significant market opportunity for NayaPay, where over 50 million adults are unbanked and only 33% of women have a bank account. With 70% of the population under 35 years old, there is a significant mobile-first generation. Almost $4tn payments are made each year but only 1% of these are made digitally currently. On the merchant side, the majority of SMBs in Pakistan are unregistered, have traditionally dealt primarily in cash and have very limited access to business banking.

    The fintech has launched its chat-led super app targeted primarily at students and freelancers; and is building a SaaS based platform called NayaPay Arc offering universal payment acceptance and financial management tools for SMBs. NayaPay’s platform strategy will harness the network effects between consumers and merchants, as seen in platforms, such as, Square Cash/Square, WeChat Pay, AliPay and Venmo in their native markets.

    NayaPay CEO and founder Danish A Lakhani commented: “NayaPay is empowering young Pakistani adults starting their financial journey, from students stepping into adulthood to freelancers and entrepreneurs taking an active role in managing their finances. In many senses, it’s a coming-of-age moment for many and our goal is to continue to innovate and build functionality to become a part of their daily lives, for the rest of their lives.”

    Danish A Lakhani added: “Micro, small and medium businesses make up 90% of the merchant-base in Pakistan and yet they are underserved when it comes to access to basic financial services. NayaPay Arc will provide universal payments acceptance and a range of business financial management tools to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners. The tools are intended to give business owners the visibility of their cash flows, pay suppliers and grow sales. Our goal is to enable them to focus on growth while we take care of the rest. By helping small businesses harness the power of technology, we believe we can transform the Pakistani economy.”

    Faisal Aftab, managing partner and co-founder at Zayn Capital Fronteir, said: “We are very bullish on fintech in Pakistan. While just beginning to emerge, Pakistani fintechs have the advantage of learning from peers and placing better informed strategic bets. We were impressed by the completeness of the vision of the founding team at NayaPay, and their differentiated platform-based strategy-- first focused on servicing the needs of underbanked consumers and SMBs with specific use cases and building out from there. With a proven ability to execute on the ground, the founder has an impressive track record of building and scaling businesses in Pakistan, including the country’s largest fiber broadband service (StormFiber).”

    Omar Siddiqui, general partner at Graph Ventures, added, “We are excited to partner with Danish and the NayaPay team as they scale their leading digital payments platform for consumers and merchants in Pakistan. We have been early-stage investors in 300+ companies over the past decade in the United States, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and we are excited to see the mobile and fintech technology trends that have empowered consumers in these markets also emerge in Pakistan. NayaPay already offers the most robust solution for consumers to access next-generation financial conveniences in Pakistan, and we look forward to working with the team as they roll out new products and grow their consumer base."

    Danish A Lakhani concluded: “Customer trust is a key pillar of any platform’s success. At NayaPay, we are consumed by our obsession to simplify the lives of both consumers and merchants with our app and NayaPay Arc while supporting our customers with robust and scalable technology and fanatic customer service. We are also partnering with leading banks to provide additional value and convenience to our mutual customers, eventually leading to a full digital banking experience.”

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/2345055...on-in-pakistan

  24. #24
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    https://thewomenjournal.com/2022/03/...-in-the-world/

    Pakistani girl Ayesha Fatima breaks all the records and made her country proud after she achieved the title of youngest-ever Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) professional in the world. Ayesha Fatima is only 7 years old, and she already cleared the certification with flying colors.

    She has broken the record set by an Indian girl named K. Visalini in 2015 when she was only 11 years old. Visalini had beaten a Pakistani boy’s record, which he had set when he was 12 years old in 2008. There are six sections in the CCNA certification. Network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability are all covered in this certification.

    ———

    congratulations to her, seems Pakistani media is itself not interested in the news lol

  25. #25
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    Lahore-based startup COLABS, which provides small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs and freelancers with spaces and a tech platform to build and grow businesses, has raised $3 million in a seed round.

    The round was led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures, a press release issued by the startup said, adding that it was the first time that three leading Pakistan-focused venture capitalists (VC) were investing together in a startup.

    The round was also joined by Shorooq Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Sai Ventures, and some key angels, including Turner Novak, William Hockey, and Teddy Himler, according to the press release.

    COLABS was founded in 2019 by Omar Shah, a former private equity and venture investor, and his twin brother Ali Shah, who operates a long-established family-run real estate and development firm SABCON, which designs and builds out COLABS' facilities.
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    Its leadership team also includes Fatima Mazhar in the role of the chief operating officer. Mazhar was one of the early executives at Careem and had helped the company scale in many international markets.

    The press release said COLABS was started as a coworking platform with a "state-of-the-art facility in Lahore but has since evolved to offer several additional services and tools to entrepreneurs and freelancers, including educational boot camps and a SaaS platform for back-office solutions such as business incorporation, talent sourcing and management, payroll processing and legal and tax compliance".

    "From the very beginning, COLABS has taken a different direction from conventional coworking spaces by creating a unique proposition in the market. Today, COLABS has a partner network of 100+ organisations involved in taking initiatives to boost the Pakistani startup ecosystem’s growth," the press release said.

    It added that "COLABS has placed itself at the heart of the startup agenda in Pakistan through its events, networking forums and startup facilitation."

    "One of the many ways COLABS creates impact is by hosting 250+ startup community-relevant events annually with an aggregate attendance of over 200,000 significant visitors to date. The facility has seen community members grow, hire the right talent, raise investment and thrive with the support provided by COLABS," the press release stated.

    Moreover, it quoted co-founder Omar Shah as saying, "We had founded COLABS to help accelerate the Pakistani startup ecosystem and we’re very proud of what we have achieved in a little over three years."

    "Even though we’re mainly seen as a coworking operator, what we have built is a solid foundation to make it easy for freelancers, startups, and even international companies entering Pakistan, start and manage their businesses.

    "Today anyone looking to start a company in Pakistan could use COLABS not only as a place where they work but also as a partner that manages their different back-office functions,” Omar said.

    With regards to the funding raised in the seed round, he said: "With the capital we have raised from leading investors today, we’re now looking to turn our offerings into software-based solutions and productise services that could also be extended to people and institutions outside of our network, in addition to bringing on world-class talent to our existing team of rockstars.”

    According to the press release, "With this investment, COLABS aims to knit together a community of 100,000 entrepreneurs and freelancers in Pakistan, starting with 10,000 members within the next two years."

    "This ambition will be realised through the national expansion across major cities in Pakistan like Karachi and Islamabad," the press release said, adding, "The strong foundation built over the last two years will enable COLABS to reach their envisioned goal."

    The press release further quoted investor Aatif Awan, founder and managing partner of Indus Valley Capital as saying: “The first time I visited COLABS, I found the community and energy to be a microcosm of the fast-growing Pakistani tech ecosystem.

    "We’re thrilled to partner with the COLABS team to help them build the leading platform and community that will power the growth of Pakistani tech across startups, freelancers and global companies expanding into Pakistan,” he added.

    Similarly, Faisal Aftab, co-founder and managing partner of Zayn Capital said, “I have closely watched COLABS grow into one of the key players in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. We were fortunate enough to have met some of the startups we invested in, at their spaces."

    "Omar and his team continue to do excellent work to accelerate the growth of the startup ecosystem here and we are excited to join their journey in serving tens of thousands of founders and freelancers across Pakistan,” Aftab said.


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  26. #26
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    Karachi-based fintech startup, Abhi Pvt., has raised funding at a $90 million valuation, within a year of starting its business, reported Bloomberg. In the latest Series A round led by Speedinvest, the startup raised $17 million in funding.

    The investment marks the venture capital firm’s first investment in Pakistan. Other investors included Global Ventures, VentureSouq, VEF, Sturgeon Capital, Rallycap, FJ Labs, Fatima Gobi, Sarmayacar, and i2i Ventures.

    In recent years, Pakistani startups have attracted both local and international investors looking to explore their untapped potential. In 2021 alone, startups were able to raise over $350 million, an amount larger than the past six years collectively.

    Abhi offers people an alternative solution to asking their employer, family, or friends for cash until their next salary to help make ends meet. The company also gives small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) financing solutions for their working capital needs.

    Chief Executive Officer Abhi, Omair Ansari, stated:

    This is the first time you’re able to get this access in the country. As people and smaller companies get this access then it becomes something they want to keep using.

    For registered users, the app only takes a few seconds to access funds at a flat 2 percent transaction fee. Once the user’s next paycheck arrives, the funds are deducted automatically.

    Since its previous round in November, the company went from mere 200,000 users to a remarkable 650,000 and has registered more than 150 companies. Ansari claims that individuals are now accessing 15 percent to 20 percent of their monthly wage through the app.

    Regarding the investment, the Abhi founders remarked:

    We are on a mission to financially empower salaried individuals in Pakistan and this is just the beginning! ABHI is looking forward to partnering with more companies to help empower them and their employees with the range of financial wellness products we have to offer.

    On the latest investment, General Partner at Speedinvest, Stefan Klestil, told Bloomberg:

    Abhi has the potential to change millions of lives across MENA and South Asia. It’s no wonder they have been able to establish themselves as one of the fastest-growing Pakistani startups.

    https://propakistani.pk/2022/04/19/a...within-a-year/


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  27. #27
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    (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s SadaPay raised additional funds to become the nation’s highest-funded fintech as it received permission for full-fledged operations that will allow it to add millions of new users. The Islamabad-based startup scored $10.7 million in a seed-extension round, according to Chief Executive Officer Brandon Timinsky. The funding announcement comes a day after the central bank

    https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb...f-mass-rollout


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  28. #28
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    Healthtech company MedznMore raises over $11.5m in investment

    It is Pakistan’s largest investment in a pre-series A round to date

    MedznMore, a tech-based health care company, has raised more than $11.5m in investment in a pre-series A round, according to a press release issued by the company.

    It is the largest investment in health tech to date. The company was founded by Babar Lakhani, Asad Khan, and Saad Khawar in 2020.

    It is a B2X pharma delivery platform that is transforming healthcare in Pakistan, which is tackling fundamental problems that have persisted for decades in buying medicines and wellness products for consumers and retail pharmacies alike.

    “We built MedznMore with the core focus of making quality healthcare affordable and accessible for the 5th largest population in the world. Today we have seven cold chain enabled warehouses in 3 cities and over the course of the year, we will be opening a new city each month, giving us a presence in 9 cities across the country by the end of the year. On the product side we are laser-focused on the user experience for both shopkeepers and consumers, for whom we will be adding new value add services and offerings in the coming months,” said Co-founder Babar Lakhani

    The start-up works directly with pharmaceutical companies and authorized distributors to sell products at competitive prices. It also ensures that medicines are always available to pharmacies and consumers by doing same day and next day deliveries.

    “In a market of over 220m people, where public healthcare spending is only 1.2% of GDP, and where 55% of all healthcare spending is out-of-pocket, people generally rely on medicines to alleviate their suffering rather than spend on unaffordable medical procedures. Ensuring the accessibility of affordable and authentic medicines is essential. At MedznMore our aim is to make health and wellness products available in all corners of the country,” said Co-founder Asad Khan.
    https://tribune.com.pk/story/2356260...-in-investment

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