Pakistan can be the Next center in region for Start-ups and VCs
Pakistan is one of the most attractive markets for start-ups and early Venture Capital (VC) investments today with its youth constituting around 115 million individuals. Just the online spending pattern for Pakistan in a Google report revealed that Pakistanis spent more than $1 billion in e-commerce while the overall spending for 2018 was around $257 billion. With (i) an incredibly young population, (ii) Federal government’s keen interest in making Pakistan a digital economy with new Digital Policy 2019 and (iii) increasing penetration of internet and smart phones among the masses, Pakistan is already an established destination for VCs around the globe.
A study by Oglivy and Mather in 2019 estimated that Pakistan working middle class will reach around 125 million by 2025 which means creation of multi-billion-dollar market. A report by GSMA intelligence in Pakistan indicated the high rise in penetration level of 4G and smart phones in Pakistan with now local production of smart phones on rise.
Several start-ups in Pakistan are already on their way with great VCs globally investing in them and should encourage other start-ups to continue with their ventures online for attracting global investments. With more than 10,000 Pakistanis already working in Silicon Valley and several of them giving their input in Pakistan as well, we see a bright and high tech set up of businesses in Pakistan soon.
10 Highest Valued Pakistani Tech Start-ups
Afiniti — $1.6 billion Valuation
Afiniti is an Artificial Intelligence based company in Lahore that provides services and products with Behavioral Pattern and Pairing Technology for both individuals and enterprises. The AI based solutions are easily configurable and can be compatible with any type of business including Telecom, Health and Insurance, Finance, Architecture, Consumer and Retail. The optimization metrics are used for business modeling, forecasting, and performance tracking.
Hasnain Aslam, Founder of The Resource Group (TRG) is one of the Board Members at global Afiniti while Ali Jehangir Siddique, Pakistan’s former Minister of State and son of Jehangir Siddique is on Advisory Board of Afiniti. Afiniti employs over 350 personnel in Lahore and Karachi.
KeepTruckin — $1.4 billion Valuation
KeepTruckin is another Artificial Intelligence based venture that provides services of Video Safety, Real-time GPS tracking, ELD Compliance, Maintenance and Fuel with tracking and reducing operating costs and integrated platform for daily tasks. The main aim of KeepTruckin is to modernize the truck industry with fleet maintenance and changing the way freight is moved on road. The head office of KeepTruckin is in San Francisco while Pakistan’s office is in Lahore.
EMPG — $1 billion Valuation
Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) is the parent company of Zameen.com in Pakistan and Bayut.com in UAE. Founded by Zeeshan Ali Khan and Imran Ali Khan, EMPG has grown substantially through continuous VC investments in the firm. The company has expanded to 40 cities in Pakistan, UAE, Bangladesh, Morocco, Spain and Romania. Zameen.com provides real estate services for Pakistan and is number one online platform for real estate search in Pakistan.
Easy Paisa — $410 million Valuation
EasyPaisa is a fintech venture that started in an incubator and has been growing exponentially in Pakistan due to the ease of transaction it provides to far flung areas of Pakistan where traditional bank setups are missing. The EasyPaisa application provides banking services such as mobile accounts, ATM cards, bill payment system for Electricity, Gas, Telephone, Water and Internet, mobile banking services, money transfer services, NFC payment, donations and merchant information. The main investors for EasyPaisa are Telenor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GSMA and Spring Accelerator.
Daraz — $150-$200 million Valuation
Daraz is another success story from National Incubation Center of Pakistan that started biggest retail e-commerce in Pakistan in 2012. The company since then expanded to other countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Recently, Daraz Pakistan was acquired by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba though the head office remains in Pakistan. Daraz will continue to service Pakistani market with its new management from Alibaba.
Knowledge Platform — $35 million Valuation
Founded in 2000, Singapore-based Knowledge Platform is a leading start-up offering next-generation learning e-solutions to educational, corporate and government sectors. The company offers creation and design of curriculum, development of learning taxonomy, games and simulations and content aggregation. The company also offers teacher and instructor training programs with its head office in Islamabad. Beacon house Group and Lakson Group are also included in major VCs of the startup.
Rozee — $32 million Valuation
Rozee.pk was established in 2007 by Monis Rahman and since has become one of the most successful online venture in field of Human resource of Pakistan. The company has revamped itself in terms of logo, interface and algorithms after getting more VCs on board since 2016 and now stands at great valuation by global VCs. Rozee.pk has further acquired Saudi employment website Mihanti.com and has attracted global investors like Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital.
Bookme — $24 million Valuation
Bookme Tickets Pvt Limited is another great startup in Pakistan that has gainedstrong base among VCs and investors since 2015. Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC)is one of the main VCs for Bookme. The startup is now a leader in Pakistan in online ticketing for cinemas, buses, concerts, events using fintech platforms of JazzCash, EasyPaisa and commercial banks’ online apps. The growing smartphone penetration in Pakistan has further expanded the company.
Bykea — $22 million Valuation
Bykea is a Karachi-based ride hailing application that from start raised several millions in Series A VC fund. The Bykea app is an affordable and easy to use solution for middle and lower middle class of Pakistan that offers great challenge to Uber and Careem. Bykea currently connects around 200,000 motorcycle riders to more than 2 million Pakistanis in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Airlift — $14 million Valuation
Airlift is a revolutionary tech-based mass transit startup in Pakistan that offers app-based bus services to major cities of Pakistan. Setup in Lahore, Airlift then expanded to Karachi offering premium vans and buses with fixed times and routes. The project plans on expanding to whole Pakistan with Fatima Group, China’s Gobi Ventures and Indus Valley Capital as its seed VCs. Like Bykea, Airlift has also targeted a very different segment of tech consumers which is providing additional challenges to Uber and Careem.