Indus Valley Capital raises $17.5M for its debut Pakistan-focused fund
Pakistani VC Indus Valley Capital (IVC) has raised $17.5M for its debut fund to invest in early-stage Pakistan-based startups, it has been announced today.
Instead of pursuing family offices or development finance institutions to become an anchor limited partner, the oversubscribed fund includes a network of 75 individual investors who have backgrounds in tech and finance in Silicon Valley and around the world. For most of them, it is their first time investing in the emerging Pakistani startup ecosystem.
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The fund is sector-agnostic and has already made five investments in Pakistani startups targeting a variety of industries, including transportation, grocery delivery, B2B retail, fitness, Fintech, and remote work. These investments include leading rounds into Airlift, Bazaar, and AimFit.
Its LPs include several successful founders including Reddit’s founder Alexis Ohanian, executives with experience at top technology companies including Facebook, Google, Stripe, Coinbase, Uber, Careem, InstaCart, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Atlassian, and Oracle. Early investors in Careem and Souq, two of the MENA region’s largest successful startup exits, are also among the limited partners.
IVC was created by Aatif Awan, former VP of Growth, International, and Data products at LinkedIn where he spent seven years helping the company grow to half a billion members. Aatif commented, “I had no plans of moving back to Pakistan or building a VC fund focused on Pakistan when I left LinkedIn in 2018. But after meeting some Pakistani founders, I realized that the country was at the cusp of a once-in-a-lifetime transformation that other large economies were going through. I knew I had to play my part and the best way to do that was to enable founders to build transformational companies in Pakistan”
As a new entrant to the Pakistani VC ecosystem, Indus Valley Capital helps its portfolio companies with product strategy and growth, as well as raising follow-on capital.
Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit said, “Aatif and I were first introduced on the board of Atoms, an innovative shoe company I invested in, started by two incredible Pakastani founders Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali. Through our shared passion for the brand, I learned about Aatif’s love of Pakistan and his plans to establish a fund that would nurture the country’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. Aatif is ahead of the curve and has positioned Indus Valley Capital at the forefront of what promises to be an exciting moment in the global investment landscape.”
Airlift, IVC’s first investment, raised a $12M Series A round, the largest in the country, led by First Round Capital. Usman Gul, Co-Founder and CEO of Airlift said, “Raising capital from IVC is a lot more than just a cash injection, it’s about getting partners onboard that will truly support the business at every stage. They invested when Airlift was a small operation, doing 80 rides/day. We haven’t had any experiences of IVC not being able to deliver on what we needed or expected of them.”
IVC’s second investment, Bazaar, raised a $6.5M Seed round, co-led by Global Founders Capital, an investor in Facebook, Slack, and DeliveryHero. Both Airlift and Bazaar raised their follow-on rounds in 8 months of IVC’s initial investment.
With the fund close behind it, Indus Valley Capital is aiming to make more investments and create a community of ambitious and passionate founders who are building transformational companies in Pakistan.
Image credit: 021Disrupt
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