- Generation of sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for the country’s rapidly growing technology savvy and entrepreneurial youth.
- Conducting digital skills programs for the human resource development in current and emerging technology domains.
- Collaboration with international partners to boost innovation.
- Setting up venture capital funds to hold national level competitions on regular basis in all key emerging technologies and applications.
- Establishment and building a framework for setting-up incubation centers in provincial capitals and major secondary cities facilitating IT startups to get off the ground more quickly and smoothly by tapping into a vast network of business partners and mentors, including specialized innovation centers in thematic areas including FinTech, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics.
- Promotion and encouragement of entrepreneurship by providing incentives to IT sector and training for young professionals to become freelancers.
Pakistan has a great potential to produce quality entrepreneurs, hence it’s a perfect avenue for venture capitalists. Here are some top start-ups created in our very own homeland:
ZAMEEN.COM ($29 MILLION)
Zameen.com was founded in 2006 and it is the most well-funded start-up in Pakistan. Co-founded by two brothers, zameen.com is considered to be the best property portal of Pakistan which allows for the buying, selling, and renting the properties in major cities of Pakistan. Zameen.com has been able to secure $29 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date. During the recent funding, its value was estimated at around $80 million.
AIRLIFT ($14.2 MILLION)
It is an app-based decentralized mass transit service provider that allows users to commute on fixed routes. Founded in 2018 by Usman Gul and Ahmed Ayub, Airlift successfully captured the market niche untapped by Uber and Careem in Pakistan. Airlift has successfully secured $14.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding, most of it was raised in 2019.
ROZEE.PK ($8.5 MILLION)
Monis Rehman founded Rozee.pk in 2005 to post jobs for his existing company. In 2006, it got converted into a full-fledged employment website. Today, Rozee.pk is considered the best website for employers and job seekers in Pakistan. Rozee.pk has successfully secured $8.5 million of disclosed venture capital to date.
BYKEA ($5.7 MILLION)
Bykea is an on-demand ride hailing and parcel delivery startup founded in 2016 by MuneebMaayr. It has successfully secured $5.7 million of disclosed venture capital till date.
INOV8 ($5.4 MILLION)
Inov8 is an innovative B2B payment solution founded in 2004. It specializes in mobile banking, e-commerce, and branchless banking. Inov8 secured an investment amounting to $5.4 million from the Dubai-based Venture Capitalist Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.
FINJA ($2.5 MILLION)
Finja was founded by Monis Rahman, Qasif Shahid, and Umer Munawar in 2015. It offers both B2B and B2C payment solutions. Finja has successfully secured $2.5 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
SASTATICKET ($1.5 MILLION)
Sastaticket.pk founded in 2016, is an online travel agency. It provides convenient air travel, hotel, and holiday packages. Sastaticket.pk has secured an investment of $1.5 million from Gobi Partners, a China-based venture capital fund.
OLADOC ($1.2 MILLION)
Oladoc is a health-based tech startup that makes it easier for users in searching and booking a medical health professional. Oladoc has successfully secured $1.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
TEZ FINANCIAL SERVICES ($1.1 MILLION)
Tez Financial Services is a finance-based tech-startup which provides financial services to unbanked Pakistanis. It has successfully secured an investment of $1.1 million from Pakistan-based Planet N Group of Companies, San Francisco-based Omidyar Network and Washington, DC-based Accion Venture Lab.
WELL.PK ($1 MILLION)
Well.pk is an e-commerce retailer which deals with groceries, apparel & electronics. It successfully secured an investment of $1 million from angel investors, Noor Abid and Nadeem Hussain.
The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan