Pakistan’s startup ecosystem getting ready to roar

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I am delightfully amazed and happy to discover the fast growing start-up ecosystem in Pakistan whose decades long political unstablity and one of the lowest literacy rate (57%) in the world didn’t marred the entrepreneurial spirit of the country. The literacy rate in Pakistan can vary from 20% in Kohlu district to 87% in Islamabad (its capital). Even though it has world third largest English speaking population and produces over 450,000 graduates every year.
The world class start-up like convo by Faizan Buzdar, which got notable mention in recent speech of US President Barrack Obama, was started in Pakistan and not in silicon valley.

Pakistan with 180 million population (126 millions below 30 yrs) with considerably high internet penetration rate of 11% and over 8 million Facebook users indicates huge opportunities for investment and start-ups. The investment opportunities didn’t go unnoticed by international investors and venture capitalists like Rocket Internet, DFJ, Google Ventures, ePlanet Capital and local private equity fund and venture capitalist like mini ventures, cloud9, cyan, Pasha Fund, invest2innovate have invested in local start-ups. Various incubators like KITE( Karachi Institute of Technology & Entrepreneurship), Plan 9 (intake start-ups on a six month’s fast track incubation) are incubating scalable start-ups.

Some notable start-ups of Pakistan are :
Rozee.pk (No. 1 job portal) with 22 million applications( 6 million active users) and 54,000 registered employers.
daraz.pk (Pakistan’s answer to Amazon) largest e-commerce store less than 1 year old with 3.5 million unique visitors and over 150 employees.
Pakwheels.com( biggest automotive website of Pakistan) with 18 million annual visitors and 225,000 forum members.

In the internet domain opportunities in Pakistan are immense.

Some business area where its industry in infancy state or not saturated are as follows:
Dinning & restaurant related business idea currently in infant state with Urbanite and foodpanda.
Real Estate notable Zameen.com
Freelancing – Odesk, Elance
Music – Soundcloud
e-Payments – Easypaisa and UBL Omni

Area where almost non-existence of any market leading start-ups
Travel – chutti.pk
Events – None
Subscription – Readers Club
Rental – None
Microwork – None
E-ticketing – ticket Master

Start-up scene is changing and growing in Pakistan as we can see startup weekend are getting regularly held in major cities in Pakistan like Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi. Hackathon’s are also getting conducted regularly.

This is the right time for local entrepreneurs as well as international investors to tap this new and upcoming start-up market. Gone will be the days when start-up like Facebook, Twitter, etc. will start in silicon valley, soon we will see they will start in Pakistan and in Asia.
(Data: Wikipedia & infographic series techinasia)

 

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