This blog is a part 2 of the “All you need to know about Pakistans startup eco-system” series. To read part 1, click here.
While our eco-system is developing, we’re still far behind in terms of many things: financing opportunities is one of them! Angel investors, venture capitalists and equity firms are few and far in between and Pakistani startups will usually struggle to raise investment in our eco-system. If you want to know how investment is raised globally, here’s a good resource to figure it out: https://www.cloudways.com/blog/startup-funding-stages/
Recent players to look out for: i2i ventures headed by Kalsoom Lakhani, Sarmayacar managed by Rabeel Warraich and Aatif Awans ‘Indus Valley Capital.’
Startups can also look towards organizations that provide domain specific grants such as Karandaaz, Aman Foundation, USAID etc.
While there’s been much in the news about the government’s support for startups and the IT sector in Pakistan, we’re still lagging in terms of policy as well as initiatives that will truly push the eco-system forward.
“Instead of encouraging locally manufactured goods, government policy discouraged it when it came to our product. Apart from that, heavy custom duties on e-transportation made it ichallenging for us as a startup to execute. A lack of green banking initiatives, a lack of tax reductions on eco-friendly products, lack of university supported financing etc. were all factors that heavily affected Cykiq when it came to scaling up.” says Ammara Tariq, co-founder of CYKIQ, a bike sharing startup that emerged from NUST.
While there are huge gaps when it comes to policy, The Youth Business Loan Scheme, development of the National Incubation Centres and the recent announcement of “Startup Pakistan Program” by the Prime Minister Youth Program are positive signs that we may see some government initiatives in the coming few years.
We’ve covered all the important ones but there’s a wide breadth of eco-system enablers apart from what we’ve mentioned already! These include organizations working to help founders build their skills, organizations that provide training, networks that connect startups to opportunities globally, and mentors/advisors etc.
All good startups tend to have great mentors and advisors throughout their startup journeys. The best way to find these is by cultivating a strong network and reaching out to people who have either worked for several years in the domain you’re working in or have extensive experience already working with startups!
P@sha, OPEN, TIE, Google Developers Group, Women In Tech, Impact Dynamics etc are all organizations that are helping build the eco-system in Pakistan. Co-working spaces such as LaunchPad, The Hive, BaseCamp, WeCreate etc are also good spaces for startups looking to build great networks.
It’s a little difficult to fit our eco-system into one blogpost but we’ve done our best! If you have questions, feedback, comments or suggestions comment away! If you have things to add we’d love to hear from you.
Image Source: www.cloudways.com/blog/australian-incubators-leading-startup-revolution