Insights from a VC and Founder on bridging the Pakistani and MENA startup ecosystems

Amad Mian of Karavan VC hosts our Founder and CEO Philip Bahoshy on his podcast, for a deep-dive discussion into Pakistan's nascent and emerging startup ecosystem. Philip talks about MAGNiTT's first foray into Pakistan, the learnings and similarities he has seen in Pakistan's ecosystem when compared to MENA's regional ecosystems, why and what Pakistan can learn from MENA, how to build on international awareness, and much more. 

Listen to the podcast below for expert, data-focused insights on Pakistan and MENA's startup ecosystems: 

Some notable takeaways shared between Philip and Amad:

- There is a lack of transparency and legal information on how an international startup can enter Pakistan and set up in the market.
- There isn't a sense of clarity as there haven't been people looking in within the ecosystem e.g. the government hasn't looked at legal entities, safe agreements etc. There are conversations that are happening, but they will take time. 
- If Pakistan wants to bring people over from outside markets, it's important to take an understanding from MENA and other markets that have had a burst of startup activity, to understand what the pain points are that need to be solved in order to flourish faster.
- You can't import ecosystems and you cannot duplicate Silicon Valley or other ecosystems from abroad where there have been years of learnings.
- Successful Pakistani entrepreneurs need to be involved in the conversations.
 - Gaining advice/learning from those with external experiences will educate on challenges and localise to Pakistan, which will further help develop the ecosystem.
- One of the biggest advantages/headstarts in Pakistan is the size of the population and having one government, whereby you are then only dealing with one entity to help solve issues. However, in MENA, you will be speaking with 17 regulators, 17 governments, and several legal frameworks that need to be addressed.
- Historically, we have seen few MENA VCs participate in Pakistan, but there are hopes that through transparency, this will increase.

Download MAGNiTT's recently released H1 2020 Pakistan Venture Investment Report for further insights driven by numbers on the country's startup space. 

Karavan podcast focuses on Pakistan's startup ecosystem where intimate conversations are had with founders and investors driven to catapult Pakistan into the digital age. You can also check out the episode on Karavan VC's website.


2020 YTD has seen $803M invested in MENA-based startups, matching total funding of full-year 2019. Discover more trends and insights in our Q3 2020 MENA Venture Investment Report.