Hold on to that chai.
In 2015, Pakistani tech startups raised $23 million, and 3 startups got acquired.
In fact, the precise amount is $23,415,000.
Startup ecosystem in Pakistan traces its roots back to 2012, the launch of Plan9 — the first startup incubator. This doesn’t mean there were no startups before, it just means that it is widely used as a reference point.
Since then, lack of VCs and Angels interested in investing in Pakistan is seen as a challenge in the ecosystem. Slowly but surely, that trend is changing, as witnessed in 2015 by the spurt in funding.
To put things in context, in 2014, just 5 tech startups raised less than $4 million in funding. But just during the first 6-months of 2015, 10 startups raised $8.5 million, and 3 got acquired. To end the year, in the past 6 months, 9 startups raised $14.6 million in funding.
Here’s a list of investments and acquisitions involving Pakistani tech startups in 2015:
- Vivid Technologies Ltd. raised $350,000 in seed investment.
- Wifigen raised an undisclosed amount of seed investment at $1 million valuation.
- H&O Services raised $35,000 in an angel round.
- Rozee.pk raised $6.5 million in Series C financing.
- Bookme.pk raised $50,000 from Etohum and $250,000 from Element Ventures.
- InteraCta raised $220,000 in seed financing.
- MySmacEd raised an undisclosed amount of seed financing at a valuation of $2 million.
- Mezaaj raised an undisclosed amount of seed financing at a valuation of $500,000.
- Extregy raised $140,000 in seed financing.
- Predictify.me raised $1.25 million in seed funding.
- Markhor raised $120,000 from Y Combinator.
- Inov8 raised Series A funding of $5.4 million at a valuation $100 million.
- Autogenie.pk raised $100,000 in seed funding.
- Zameen.com raised $9 million in Series B funding.
- Sheops raised an undisclosed amount of funding.
- Investor Lounge raised an undisclosed amount of funding.
- Cleanry raised an undisclosed amount of funding.
- Autoxpert raised an undisclosed amount of funding.
- Checkin.pk raised an undisclosed amount of funding.
Criteria: Pakistani founder and the majority of employees in Pakistan.
For other details, take a peek at the spreadsheet.
- FoodPanda acquired restaurant delivery and reservation startup EatOye.
- Urbanite.pk was acquired by EatOye.
- Forrun, an on-demand delivery startup, was acquired by Arpatech.
Disclosed vs. Undisclosed
I don’t understand why a startup wouldn’t disclose the investment amount. 9 startups out of 19 didn’t disclose the amount of investment. And similarly, when it comes to acquisition, it’s the same story — no data.
I really hope this changes soon. It’s not a good long-term trend. For a growing startup ecosystem, data is everything.
To Sum Up
2015 was the best year for Pakistan’s startup ecosystem regarding investor interest. If some (hopefully all) of the startups can keep up the traction and show growth, 2016 will be even better.
Capital plays an important role in the startup ecosystem, and it’s a challenge in Pakistan. Nevertheless, startups are picking up steam, and investors are taking note.