Pakistan’s economy has been on a ventilator. Our imports are manifold compared to exports, hence a great trade deficit exists. To handle this dilemma, we need short-term as well as long-term measures. One of the most important long-term measures that we must pursue, is to establish and support local businesses. Attracting international investments is also imperative to make the Pakistani Rupee stronger.
Fortunately, in the last few years, many incubators and accelerators have been working to support start-ups and to promote businesses. Though often considered synonyms, incubators and accelerators actually function differently. The entrepreneurs must first determine whether they need an incubator or an accelerator at the respective stage of a business’s life cycle.
Incubators give start-ups the support to establish their businesses right at the beginning. Most start-ups have unrefined ideas and lack the business acumen to execute. Incubators enable them in the transition from an innovative idea to a reality. A mature idea with an organized business model enables the startup in making a better pitch to venture capitalists.
Accelerators, on the other hand, work as a catalyst in accelerating the growth of existing companies who have streamlined their ideas. These progressive programs build upon the start-up’s foundation to catapult them towards to the venture capitalists and investors. The dream of every start-up is to obtain capital by pitching to the investors and venture capitalists. The venture capitalist invests in a business with positive future prospects, against a share in equity.
Pakistan has a great potential to produce quality entrepreneurs, hence it’s a perfect hotbed for venture capitalists. Here are some top start-ups created in our very own homeland.
1) Zameen.com ($29 million)
Zameen.com was founded in 2006, it’s the most well-funded startup of Pakistan. Co-founded by two brothers, zameen.com is considered to be the best property portal of Pakistan which allows for the buying, selling, and renting the properties in major cities of Pakistan. Zameen.com has been able to secure $29 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date. During the recent funding, its value was estimated at around $80 Million.
2) Airlift ($14.2 million)
It’s an app-based decentralized mass transit service provider that allows users to commute on fixed routes. Founded in 2018 by Usman Gul and Ahmed Ayub, Airlift successfully captured the market niche untapped by Uber and Careem in Pakistan. Airlift has successfully secured $14.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding, most of it was raised in 2019.
3) Rozee.pk ($8.5 million)
Monis Rehman founded Rozee.pk in 2005 to post jobs for his existing company. In 2006, it got converted into a full-fledged employment website. Today, Rozee.pk is considered the best website for employers and job seekers in Pakistan. Rozee.pk has successfully secured $8.5 million of disclosed venture capital to date.
4) Bykea ($5.7 million)
Bykea is an on-demand ride hailing and parcel delivery startup founded in 2016 by Muneeb Maayr. It has successfully secured $5.7 million of disclosed venture capital till date.
5) Inov8 ($5.4 million)
Inov8 is an innovative B2B payment solution founded in 2004. It specializes in mobile banking, e-commerce, and branchless banking. Inov8 secured an investment amounting to $5.4 million from the Dubai-based Venture Capitalist Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.
6) Finja ($2.5 million)
Finja was founded by Monis Rahman, Qasif Shahid, and Umer Munawar in 2015. It offers both B2B and B2C payment solutions. Finja has successfully secured $2.5 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
7) Sastaticket ($1.5 million)
Sastaticket.pk founded in 2016, is an online travel agency. It provides convenient air travel, hotel, and holiday packages. Sastaticket.pk has secured an investment of $1.5 million from Gobi Partners, a China-based venture capital fund.
8) Oladoc ($1.2 million)
Oladoc is a Health based tech startup that makes it easier for users in searching and booking a medical health professional. Oladoc has successfully secured $1.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
9) Tez Financial Services ($1.1 million)
Tez Financial Services is a finance based Tech-startup which provides financial services to unbanked Pakistanis. It has successfully secured an investment of $1.1 million from Pakistan-based Planet N Group of Companies, San Francisco-based Omidyar Network and Washington, DC-based Accion Venture Lab.
10) Well.pk ($1 million)
Well.pk is an e-commerce retailer which deals with groceries, apparel & electronics. It successfully secured an investment of $1 million from angel investors, Noor Abid and Nadeem Hussain.