In 2016, Pakistani tech startups raised a record $28.7 million in funding — from Seed to Series C — and one startup got acquired.
$28.7 million? A record?
Yes and Yes. More on that later.
- $28,698,000 million — Total amount raised by 11 startups.
- 12 — Number of deals during the year.
- 15% — Year over year growth in funding.
- $2.6 million — Average funding.
- Lahore — Where 7 out of 10 startups are based.
1 — Zameen raised $22.1 million in Series C
Founded in 2006, Zameen is the largest Real Estate marketplace in Pakistan. Frontier Digital Ventures invested $2.1 million in March and $20 million came from an undisclosed investor in June. After its recent funding round, Zameen is now the most well-funded startup in Pakistan with $31.1 million in total venture funding.
2 — Slide raised $3.6 million in Series A
A lock-screen app for content distribution, Slide raised an eye-popping Series A round given it’s short lifespan from South Korea based Songhyun Investment. Having raised a Seed round of $1.2 million in 2015, Slide’s total funding is now at $4.8 million.
3 — Well.pk raised $1 million in Seed
Well.pk, an E-commerce site that sells general merchandise, raised its first round of funding from angels Nadeem Hussain and Noor Abid.
4 — Finja raised $1 million in Seed
A FinTech startup tackling payments, Finja raised its first round of funding from Vostok Emerging Finance.
5 — Beauty Hooked raised $280,000 in Seed
An E-commerce marketplace for salons, Beauty Hooked raised its first round of funding from Fatima Ventures.
6 — Travly raised $200,000 in Seed
An on-demand transportation service provider, Travly raised its first round of funding from CresVentures.
7 — Patari raised $200,000 in Seed
Pakistan’s version of Spotify, Patari raised its first round of funding from Sarmayacar.
8. Perkup raised $140,000 in Seed
A customer loyalty program based on rewards, Perkup raised its first round of funding from CresVentures and DotZero Ventures.
9. MangoBaaz raised $115,000 in Seed
Mostly regarded as the BuzzFeed with local flavor, MangoBaaz raised its first round of financing from Fatima Ventures.
10. RepairDesk raised $43,000 in Seed
Creator of a SaaS solution for mobile phone repair shops, RepairDesk raised its first round of funding from Anant Handa, a satisfied customer.
11 — KarloCompare raised $20,000 in Seed
Comparison engine for personal financial products, KarloCompare raised its first round of funding from angels Hina Khawaja Bayat and Roger Dawood Bayat.
Want more details? Check out the Google Sheet.
There are two opportunities for startups to exit in Pakistan; sudden death and acquisition for talent. Savaree, after struggling for the entirety of its short existence, was acquired for talent by Careem for an undisclosed amount.
If you are thinking $29 million is peanuts, you are right.
But it’s better than ZERO.
That’s where Pakistan was in 2012, the birth year of the ecosystem. Startup investment picked up in 2014 for the first time with $5 million, got really heated in 2015 with $23 million and kept pace in 2016 with $28.7 million.
Given that Angel and VC activity is limited in Pakistan, not to mention the image problem, it’s remarkable that the ecosystem has sustained funding growth since 2014.
To Sum Up
2016 was the best year (yet) for Pakistan’s startup ecosystem in terms of dollars invested.
P.S. I don’t think I missed an investment. In case I did, please let me know.