After two e-commerce companies obtained large amount of financing recently, Pakistan's start-ups have raised more than 300 million dollars this year, higher than the sum of the past six years.
According to foreign media reports, Bookme, Pakistan's largest travel ticketing platform, and Bagallery, a beauty and fashion company, announced the completion of round A financing of US $7.5 million and US $4.5 million respectively this week. The financing of both companies is jointly led by Zayn Capital, Lakson Venture Capital and Hayaat Global.
Due to security concerns, insufficient infrastructure and lack of exit mechanism,Pakistan was not favored by investors in the past。 But Pakistan also has huge development potential, with 220 million people ranking fifth in the world, includingAbout 70% are under 30，There are about 109 million broadband users and 187 million mobile phone users.
With the soaring valuation of start-ups in neighboring countries such as India, many international venture capital institutions have tried to invest in Pakistan this year. For example, Kleiner Perkins led the round A financing of $17 million for Tajir, a Pakistani B2B e-commerce platform, in June, and Defy Partners in Silicon Valley and Wavemaker Partners in Singapore jointly led the round A financing of $30 million for Bazaar, a B2B e-commerce platform, in August.
In addition to international investment institutions, Pakistan has gradually developed an entrepreneurial ecology, including local investors such as Lakson Venture Capital, the incubator The National Incubation Center, etc. The Pakistani government has also set up special government departments, plans to add more science and technology parks, and provides various incentives to help the development of the IT industry. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) of Pakistan also set up Pakistan's first national investment platform "PakImpactInvest" this year.
Many of the US $300 million financing has entered e-commerce related industries. For example, Pakistan's e-commerce logistics platform Airlift completed a round B financing of US $85 million in August, setting a record for Pakistan's start-up enterprises.
Pakistan's e-commerce industry is still in its infancy, but it is growing rapidly.The scale of Pakistan's e-commerce market in the first quarter of 2021 is about 540 million dollars(Pak Rs. 96 billion), up 35% year on year. Daraz, the largest e-commerce retail platform in Pakistan, is expected to double the total retail sales every year in the next five years, and the number of SMEs on the platform is expected to reach 300000 within two years.
Daraz was invested by Rocket Internet, a German incubator, in 2012 and acquired by Alibaba in 2018. Daraz is currently operating in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mumbai and Nepal. In October, about 70 million users visited Daraz's website, half of them from Pakistan. Daraz expects that the platform will reach 100 million active users by 2030 and participate in Alibaba's goal of serving 2 billion consumers worldwide by 2036.
If the current development momentum can be maintained, perhaps in the near future, Pakistan will be the first local unicorn enterprise.
Article | Shi Yi
Editor | Zhao Xiaochun
Fig. | Unsplash
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