Insights on Pakistan's Startup Ecosystem Potential

Fresh off MAGNiTT's expansion to Pakistan and the launch of our H1 2020 Pakistan Venture Investment Report, tune into our latest webinar with MAGNiTT CEO and Founder, Philip Bahoshy, and some of the local startup ecosystem's key stakeholders. The session deep-dives into the Pakistani startup scene's potential and how some of the key trends from the report align with the growth prospects of the ecosystem. 

We spoke to Ali Mukhtar - Founder & GP of Fatima Gobi Ventures, Aatif Awan - Founder & Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, Meenah Tariq - Partner of Karavan, Rabeel Warraich - Founder & CEO of Sarmayacar.

Check out the full discussion, and watch the Webinar below:

They explored several topics, including the opportunities that the country can leverage to come out stronger, what the catalyst to driving more capital in the region is, the top 3 challenges that Pakistani founders are facing, what the government should be focusing on to help grow infrastructure for entrepreneurship, and much more.

Key takeaways shared:

- Until 3 years ago, venture capital was not on the radar in Pakistan
- The ecosystem in Pakistan is still very nascent
- There was investment activity in the first half of the year and it’s only likely to increase in the second half 
- $10M invested across 17 deals in H1 is a fairly low number
- Limited capital can go a longer way in comparison to other ecosystems due to cheap labour and unit economics
- Consumer spending in Pakistan is larger than the UAE and Egypt, so if you build a service in the country, it can grow very fast
- There is growing interest from MENA VCs in Pakistan
- If you are looking to raise a substantial round, you have to get several VCs in Pakistan in on the deal because of the low capital in the ecosystem
- Follow on funding is a challenge
- Talent in Pakistan needs guidance 
- There is increasing interest from the South East Asian market in Pakistan 
- MENA has invested large amounts in Pakistan’s telecom and banking space, and it is now being carried over into the startup space
- Fintech accounted for 60% of all deals in MENA, but in Pakistan, Fintech is not even in the top 5, potentially due to the availability of cash

Pakistani startups saw $18M invested in H1 2020, with the overall number of deals increasing by 13% to 17 deals from H1 2019, illustrating the potential of Pakistan to become the next big South Asian entrepreneurial hotspot. Discover more trends in our H1 2020 Pakistan Venture Investment Report.