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ISLAMABAD: 2021 has been a remarkable year for Pakistani startups as far as investments are concerned. In whole of 2020, Pakistani startups had received investment of $77 million whereas in just 8 months of 2021, investments in Pakistani startups have crossed $258 million, according to Ignite. That is a growth of more than three times over 2020 with another four months still to go. If the momentum continues like this for the next couple of years, annual investments in Pakistani startups can reach billion dollars by 2025.

Speaking at the International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship which had been organized by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), CEO Ignite, Asim Shahryar Hussain stated, “Over the last five years or more, government, academia, and industry have launched many incubators which have produced more than a thousand startups in different verticals. Many of these startups are generating revenue and are ready for acceleration. When you have leading VCs like Kleiner Perkins and 20 VCs investing in Pakistani startups, then it means that you are getting ready for the global stage. Pakistani startups are the next big thing and many are ready for acceleration and lift off now.”

Ignite is a technology fund under Ministry of IT & Telecom which is focused on funding and promoting technology innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Ignite is planning both horizontal and vertical expansion of its flagship National Incubation Centers (NICs) in future. Presently, Ignite has launched NICs in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, and Quetta. In future, Ignite will be launching new incubators in Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Multan and other cities of Pakistan. Also, Ignite will launch specialized incubators in verticals such as gaming & animation, aerospace, health tech, etc for incubation of startups in these areas.

Sectors which are attracting investment include ecommerce, transport/logistics, Fintech, Healthech, Retailtech, and Edtech. So far, 37 Pakistani startups have raised funding of $228 million this year. Six of them have raised more than $10 million dollars each including Airlift (ecommerce), Bazaar (retailtech), Cheetay (logistics), Tajir (retailtech), Educative (Edtech), and Finja (Fintech) in series A and series B funding this year. A shift towards series A and B funding by many startups shows that they are growing and planning national and international expansion of their operations.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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