In 2018, tech startups in Pakistan secured $5.5 million in venture capital funding across 7 deals and one startup got acquired.
💰 $5,150,000 million — Total amount raised by 7 startups.
#️⃣ 7 — Number of deals during the year.
📉 61% — Year over year growth in funding.
👍 $735,000 — Average funding.
🌇 Karachi— Where 5 out of 7 startups are based.
- Sastaticket — ✈️ a travel aggregator, raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from Gobi Partners.
- Tez Financial Services — 🏦 a fintech startup providing credit to the unbanked, raised $1.1 million in seed funding from Planet N, Omidyar Network and Accion Venture Lab.
- Oladoc— 🏥 a healthcare exchange, raised $1.2 million in Series A funding from Glowfish Capital.
- Ecoenergy— ☀️a solar energy startup, raised $575,000 in seed funding from Trine.
- Sehat Kahani— 💊 a telemedicine startup, raised $500,000 in seed funding from GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator and Elahi Group of Companies.
- SimPaisa— 💸 a digital payments startup, raised $225,000 in seed funding from Sarmayacar.
- DealSmash— 👜 a loyalty based marketing app, raised $150,000 in seed funding from Al Hilal Securities Advisors.
- Slide App— 🙌 a reward based lock-screen app, was acquired by Buzzvil for an undisclosed amount. It had raised $4.8 million in funding before the acquisition.
Google Sheets: 2018 Tech Startup Investments and Acquisition in Pakistan
After a disappointing 2017, the YoY increase of 61% is encouraging. Given the uncertain geopolitical climate, new Government in power and an on-going balance of payment crisis, 2019 will see anemic growth at best.
For tech startups in Pakistan, raising money is not as easy as it is in some other parts of Southeast Asia. There are multiple factors contributing to this but at the end of the day, it all boils down dearth of smart money.
In fact, most startup founders claim that not having access to smart money is the biggest hurdle in achieving scale and solving real-world problems using tech.
On that front, this year brought some good news.
Two new VC funds were announced with cumulative commitments of $45 million.
Sarmayacar, an early-stage VC firm, closed their first $30 million fund for Pakistani startups. Following its footsteps, Invest2Innovate, known for its accelerator program for tech-enabled social impact startups, announced that it had also closed a $15 million fund dedicated to Pakistani startups.
2018 was a moonshot year for venture capital. According to Crunchbase, around $300+ billion was invested in startups globally. Yet, Pakistani startups barely made it past $5 million.
It doesn’t get any bleaker than that.
However, given the stellar reputation of Rabeel Warraich (Sarmayacar) and Kalsoom Lakhani (i2i), I am cautiously optimistic.