Philip Bahoshy on MAGNiTT's expansion to Pakistan

At MAGNiTT, we believe that data is the foundation of thriving ecosystems, and despite this, it has been visibly absent in many emerging markets. Earlier this week, we expanded beyond our MENA startup borders for the very first time, as we embark upon building the first venture data platform for emerging markets. 

We're kicking off with Pakistan - a country with a long-standing history of technology and talent synergies with the MENA region, and potential to become the next big South Asian entrepreneurial hotspot.

The expansion was marked with the launch of our H1 2020 Pakistan Venture Investment Report. MAGNiTT CEO and Founder, Philip Bahoshy reflects on why the decision to expand was made, why we started with Pakistan, and why data is the key to MAGNiTT's vision.  

In MAGNiTT’s vision of the future, ‘inaccessibility of data’ is no longer a barrier to entry. For decision-makers, data is the foundation of thriving ecosystems. We believe entrepreneurship ecosystems across emerging markets can benefit from more data transparency which will drive increased collaboration, investment, and market access.

Scale should not be constrained

There is no better time for founders to explore and develop an understanding of new markets to identify opportunities beyond ‘usual-suspect’ regional clusters. Against the backdrop of this, we have explored many neighbouring countries. Pakistan, with its strong ties to the region, existing history of technology and talent synergies, and expanding digital economy is an exciting and natural next step for us.

I am incredibly excited to launch the first Pakistan venture report, as we look to scale beyond MENA. Accuracy and comprehensiveness of data is key to our vision. As the startup ecosystem continues to evolve in Pakistan, we will continue to track developments in the venture space and provide insights and analysis using frameworks already used in the MENA region.

Know-how is key to growth in both directions

Pakistan is an exciting space, with key signals that its tech startup space is about to get much more exciting. In the last decade, investments in startups have seen continued growth, with a few notable exits and success stories resulting in an increased appetite from regional and international investors.

As internet penetration increases and local tech clusters continue to develop, the market in Pakistan looks ever-more promising as a launchpad for technologies that solve problems in big markets, like infrastructure and logistics, that are also felt in similar emerging markets. Cross-pollination in emerging markets is key to the success of developing emerging ecosystems, with intellectual capital transfer at the core of this proposition.

In this together

As we expand to new markets I would like to thank all the investors, entrepreneurs, and enablers who generously shared their data and insights with me and the team - we are incredibly grateful for this. I would also like to personally thank Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem, for his guidance and support, as well as introductions to key stakeholders. Careem as a success story in itself shows the strength of exploring new markets, not only for market access but for talent as well. Our hope is that by breaking down some of these psychological barriers through sharing know-how and data, we can see more of this cross-pollination take place.

The data that underpins our research is a living, breathing thing. You can find a full list of all Pakistani startups and investors in the report on MAGNiTT.

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.