Note # 012

Zahid Lilani
Note # 012

🏆 Two Pakistani Startups Graduated from YC’s Summer Batch

Y Combinator, commonly referred to as YC, is the world’s most well know accelerator program. YC has produced many household names such as Reddit, Stripe, Airbnb, DoorDash, Dropbox, etc.

It’s like Harvard for startups.

Every startup that is accepted into YC receives $150,000 ($125,000 starting 2021) in seed investment in exchange for 7% equity and relocates to San Francisco for the 3-month program. After 3 months, graduating startups from the program attend a demo day where they get to pitch their startups to hundreds of investors.

However, this year due to COVID, the program and the demo day were fully remote.

The Summer 2020 batch of YC had 192 startups. Over 2 days, founders and co-founders pitched their startups and were given only 60 seconds to do so.

On day one, there were no Pakistani startups. On day two, there were two Pakistani startups that pitched:

  • Safepay: Stripe for Pakistan.
  • Byte: CloudKitchens for Pakistan.

Safepay is a Karachi-based FinTech startup that is positioning itself as Stripe for Pakistan. It was founded by Ziyad Parekh and Raza Naqvi in 2019. Quick stats about Safepay:

  • 270 merchants.
  • 5,000 transactions in July; $200,000 in value.
  • 40% month-over-month growth.

Byte is a Lahore-based food delivery startup based on the cloud kitchen concept. A cloud kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant, with no dine-in facility. It was founded in 2019 by Ex-Uber General Manager in Pakistan Safee Shah.

After Uber Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted, he started CloudKitchens. After Safee Shah left Uber, he started the same thing in Pakistan.

To date, 5 Pakistan-based startups have graduated from YC:

  • Markhor (2015)
  • Cowlar (2017)
  • Tajir (2020)
  • Safepay (2020)
  • Byte (2020)

There isn’t much information available about follow on funding for Markhor and Cowlar but Tajir was able to raise $1.8 million after graduating from YC in March of this year. It’s probable that both Safepay and Byte are currently negotiating big funding rounds.


📊 Invest2Innovate’s Deal Flow Report

Invest2Innovate (i2i) released its Deal Flow Tracker one day after my last month’s newsletter. Some of you might have already looked at the deal flow tracker and the slide deck highlighting investments made in Pakistani startups between 2015-2020. In case you haven’t, do check it out. It’s the most comprehensive data set on Pakistani startup funding.


💰 Funding (amount disclosed)

$1,000,000
GrocerApp, the Lahore-based grocery delivery startup, raised $1,000,000 in Seed investment from Jabbar Internet Group, Karavan, Nama Ventures, Nader Group, 7Vals, Walled City Co, LeanBricks, Sheharyar Ali, and Asif Keshodia.

$250,000
Baby Planet, the Lahore-based e-commerce startup in the baby products niche, raised $250,000 in Seed investment from High Output Ventures, Karavan, and Virtual Force.

$150,000
Safepay, the Karachi-based FinTech startup in the payment processing niche, raised $150,000 in Seed investment from YC.

$150,000
Byte, the Lahore-based food delivery startup based on the cloud kitchen concept, raised $150,000 in Seed investment from YC.


📰 Learn

This startup can detect breast cancer better than the naked eye. WonderTree is UNICEF’s pick for funding grant under Innovative Fund 2020. High Output Ventures is the new kid on the block providing early-stage startups with seed funding. App publishers looking to monetize and advertise have a new friend. Trukkin expands amid lockdowns to enter Pakistan and the founder explains why the lockdown is the best time to enter. Mailmunch now has over 100,000 active users. A dialysis machine for use at home called Robo-Kidney is being developed by a startup in Lahore. Tello Talk, Pakistan ka apna messenger, reaches 1,000,000 million downloads.


📜 Read

Nadeem Hussain attempts to bust some myths about the future of digital banking. An open letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan by the Freelancing Community. And Furqan Kidwai, Founder and CEO of Dawaai, explains that the pandemic has “leapfrogged the digital space in Pakistan by a good 9 to 12 months.”


👀 One more thing…

Found this gem by Waseem Khan on Unsplash. Don’t know what’s about this photo but I love it.

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