The startup ecosystem in Pakistan has come a long way and is finally attracting venture capitalist funds. Every year, around 500 startups emerge out of the country, placing Pakistan’s ranking at 120 out of 137 countries in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2018. Venture financing in Pakistan has grown by up to 400% in the past four years and the entrepreneurial ecosystem has improved massively.
Yet to witness a unicorn, the growing statistics indicate that Pakistan has the potential of becoming the next startup hotspot. We have compiled a list of 4 Pakistani startups that raised investment in 2019.
Founded by Ahmed Khan, Cheetay is a Pakistan-based logistics company, that offers multiple online delivery services such as delivering gifts, medicines, food, books, cosmetics, parcels, groceries, etc. Cheetay managed to raise $7.8 million in a Series A round from US-based investors, taking the total raised investment of the company to $11.5 million.
The startup is currently working on expanding its geographic outreach as well as investing in the development of market-leading logistics technology and algorithms. Founded by the former CEO of Daraz, Mr. Ahmed Khan, Cheetay is set to revolutionize the tech landscape in Pakistan by creating a platform that gathers all the local talent.
Currently operating in the major cities of Pakistan, such as Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, the company is aimed at increasing employment rate and advancement opportunities in the country.
Airlift is a transportation startup based in Pakistan that was founded by Usman Gul, Ahmed Ayub, Awaab Khaakwany, Meher Farrukh, Muhammad Owais, and Zohaib Ali. Airlift has secured $2.2 million in a seed round led by Indus Valley Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures, making it the largest-ever investment raised by a Pakistani startup.
Airlift is a marketplace that lets buses operate on fixed routes, stops and timings, giving the users the facility to book premium quality rides in Karachi and Lahore. Users can book seats and select pickup and drop off locations by logging on to the Airlift app. They can also track the buses and can make payments in cash or credit/debit cards.
Reducing both commute time and cost, it can be termed as a better alternative to Careem, Uber and public transportation services in Pakistan. Claiming to complete around 50,000 rides every month, Airlift is currently planning on expanding its outreach to other huge urban centers of developing markets such as Bangladesh and Kenya.
The first AI-powered product search engine in Pakistan, Shopsy raised an undisclosed amount of investment received from Sybrid Pvt Ltd. Co-founded by Usama Arjumand, Faraz Khalid and Sanjay Kumar, Shopsy is the first Google-like optimized product search engine to emerge out of Pakistan. It is a one-stop solution to online shoppers that are looking to purchase products from reliable and authentic online stores.
Users can search for products, compare prices as well as read the product-related description, pros, cons, reviews and watch videos to find the best deal that fits their needs and budget. Built on machine learning and artificial intelligence, the site has over 1 million products in its database and is capable of comprehending user intent and matching the consumers with the right product.
With so many online shopping stores in Pakistan, Shopsy only aggregates data from trusted online stores, helping consumers make the right selection while saving their time and hard-earned money. Shopsy only includes sites in its index that are registered businesses, who have a good reputation and provide secure modes of payments to the consumers.
Expanding its national outreach, Shopsy is set to shape the contemporary eCommerce landscape in Pakistan into a bustling and growing marketplace.
Founded by a Pakistani husband-wife duo Muhammad Mustafa and Suniya Saadullah, Mauqa Online raised a seed round by i2i Ventures and UAE based Karavan partners. Mauqa Online is a platform that provides verified and trustworthy domestic helpers for household chores like laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, babysitting, elderly care, etc. At the moment the service is limited to people in Islamabad and Rawalpindi only. Users can download the Mauqa Online app and sign up for an account. They can select their required service from the list as well as the date and time slot, enter their location on the map by turning their GPS on and complete the process by confirming the booking. As soon as the booking gets confirmed, the site will send out a helper to the user’s address to assist them in their required household chores. The service is also available via a phone call.
Pakistan is the 5th largest market in the world which comprises a rising consumer class, presenting enormous investment opportunities. The Pakistani market is ripe for startup investments and with so many startups emerging and growing every year, hopefully, Pakistan will have its own Nexicons and Unicorns in the coming years.