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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) and its tech innovation arm, Ignite (National Technology Fund) on Tuesday launched first national investment platform, Pak Impact Invest, which is expected to open up new avenues for investment in startups.

The event was attended by Syed Aminul Haque, Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Federal Secretary of IT and Telecom, Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite, senior officials of the IT Ministry, Ignite and Accelerate Prosperity.

Accelerate Prosperity (AP) is a joint initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Industrial Promotion Services (IPS).

As a part of the MoU between the AP and Ignite, AP will assist the MoITT and Ignite as the technical advisory partner for co-designing and launching Pak Impact Invest, which will be Pakistan’s first national investment platform.

It will open up new avenues for investment in startups graduating from Ignite-Funded National Incubation Centres (NICs) as well as other startups of Pakistan in the future.

Accelerate Prosperity raises investments from public sector programmes, private sector groups, investment houses, venture funds, and philanthropists.

Speaking on the occasion, Syed Aminul Haque, Federal Minister of IT and Telecom, said that one of the key challenges of our new technology-based startups is access to early stage and growth stage capital.

“I am sure that this initiative will bridge the gap in an efficient manner. This Ignite and AP partnership looks promising to solve the financing challenge faced by our startups,” he added.

Haque said that the overall environment in the country is improving.

Bykea, one of the startups accelerated at NIC Karachi, has raised $21 million of Series B Funding.

Altogether, 122 deals worth $178 million were made from 2015-2020 in Pakistani Startup including another 19 deals with amounts that were undisclosed. This brings the total deals count up 141.

The federal minister for IT appreciated the collaborative efforts of Ignite and AP for entering into a meaningful partnership that will create the right leeway for young tech companies to scale up.

Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui also appreciated the collaborative efforts of Ignite and AP for entering into a meaningful partnership which will create the right launch pad for young tech companies to scale up.

The CEO Ignite stated that so far, 272 startups have graduated from Ignite’s National Incubation Centers with a total investment commitment of Rs8 billion and cumulative revenue of Rs3 billion.

These nascent companies have created more than 100,000 new jobs and these numbers quantify the achievements of our five incubators in a short span of time.

Ignite is planning vertical incubators and accelerators in future to boost the startup ecosystem of Pakistan, he added.

The platform will be the first of its kind in and will aim to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and national and international investors of all types including commercial and impact investors, donors and philanthropists.

The MoITT and Ignite will invite various investors, donors and other investment/financial institutions to participate in the platform to consider business opportunities for financing, investments, supply chain commitments, networking, etc.

It will be open to qualifying startups from all NICs and AP incubated and accelerated businesses across Pakistan.

Under Pak Impact Invest, first grand national pitching session of top 25-30 startups selected from all NICs and AP accelerated companies will be held in the last week of March 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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