Note # 008

Note # 008
2020 Q1 Funding Up 54% YoY

I hope you are all doing well and getting used to the new normal.

For me, I just want to get a haircut.

Whenever I sit down to write the newsletter, I am conflicted. Some of you are in Pakistan and some of you are not in Pakistan. Just an FYI, I am not in Pakistan.

I struggle to relate because we might all be facing a different kind of normal.

Maybe you recently lost your job or a family member due to COVID19. If so, I risk sounding entitled and privileged. If you can work from home and are a lot more productive, I risk sounding gloom and doom.

Let’s do this. We are united by a common interest – Pakistani tech startups. And I hope you will give me a pass if I rub you the wrong way.

Okay, enough of maaf karo; rona dhona.

1) 2020 Q1 Funding Up 54% YoY

During 2020 Q1, Pakistani startups raised $1,265,000 in disclosed funding across 4 deals. 

Compared to 2019 Q1, that’s an increase of 54% from $820,000.

Note # 008
2020 Q1 Funding Up 54% YoY

To understand things better and uncover if VCs are open for business, I reached out to Kalsoom Lakhani — Partner at i2i Ventures and Aatif Awan — Founder and Managing Partner at Indus Valley Capital.

I asked them the following questions:

1. Given the current pandemic, are you still open for business?
2. How long do you think before things get back to normal?
3. What have you learned from your current portfolio companies about how they plan to work with uncertainty?

Read their responses and learn more about the 2020 Q1 funding. It’s a friend link, no login required.

2) News and Views

🚀 President Alvi approves amendments to companies law to facilitate startups (DAWN)

🚗 Uber subsidiary Careem to slash workforce by 31%, suspends bus transport app (Techcrunch)

🏠 Bayut & Zameen parent EMPG raises $150 million at a valuation of over $1 billion, announces merger with OLX in a few markets (MENAbytes)

🎙️ Karavan Launches a Podcast about Pakistan’s startup ecosystem (

📣 Finja – A tale of cowardice, shamelessness & selfishness (LinkedIn)

👟 Advice For Entrepreneurs From Atoms Founder Sidra Qasim (Forbes)

🔮 Covid-19 & Startups in Pakistan: Pivots, Partnerships & Future Positioning (MENAbytes)

3) Now Hiring

Careem, KeepTruckin, Netsol, Cubix, FINJA, etc. have already laid-off employees. This is a sad and unfortunate reality. But there are companies still hiring.

Aatir Abdul Rauf, Director of Product Management & Marketing (B2B) at, has created a list of 350+ jobs currently open in Pakistan. Check it out and spread the word.

One more thing.

Sarmayacar is looking for an Analyst and Indus Valley Capital is looking for Head of Community, VC Associate, and a Full Stack Software Engineer.

4) Arifa Siddiqui or Shehnaz Sheikh?

This tweet brought back too many memories. Yes, I am old.

I think the lady in red is Arifa Siddiqui even though she looks like Shehnaz Sheikh.

What do you think?

And Moin Akhtar. I still can’t believe he is gone.

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