Venture Capital in Pakistan: Startup Funding Rises in Q1 2023 After Hitting Lows in Q4 2022

Pakistani startups raised  $23.1 million in the first quarter of this year after hitting a low of $15.2 million in the last quarter of 2022, according to Data Darbar. The amount of money raised by Pakistani startups increased in each of the first 3 months of 2023, bringing the total funding amount to $945.4 million across 321 deals since 2015. It started out slow with just $1.5 million raised in January, followed by $8.7 million in February and $12.9 million in March. Most of the money went for seed or pre-seed stage companies. 

Pakistan Startup Funding Trend. Source: Data Darbar

Six of the eight deals in Q1/2023 involved seed stage. The pre-seed and accelerator rounds were never disclosed and aren’t, therefore, reflected in the numbers. The lion's share of the investments this year went to logistics ($10.1 million) and fintech ($9 million) startups with the two sectors drawing about $10 million each. Education technology (Edtech) startup Maqsad raised $2.8 million. 

Deal Flow in Q1/2023. Source: I2I Ventures

In terms of gender, a little over 70% of the money raised in Q1/2023 went to male-founded startups and about 30% to female-founded companies.  In Q1 2022, international angels accounted only for 9% (8 investors out of 89) of total investors across disclosed deals. In Q1 2023 they made up 26% (7 investors out of 27), according to Shehryar Hydri, a managing partner at Deosai Ventures. Here are the details of the Q1/2023 deals:  

Pakistan Deal Flow. Source: Data Darbar

There has been a global slowdown in venture funding of startups amid concerns about uncertain economic conditions due to the Ukraine War, high inflation and rising interest rates. Pakistan, too, is heavily impacted. The nation is dealing with political instability and economic uncertainty. 

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Siddiqui said…
Who will invest in the Banana Republic of duffers Fauji. IK's PTI govt. was incentivizing this sector and with the good business sentiments as well, all the hardwork gone to nought. Most of the investment was from overseas, now the situation is hopeless.

Huge decrease from a healthy 172. 8 million USD in the first quarter of 2022 to 23.1 million USD in the first qaurter of 2023, a meagre increase after a 9 fold decrease means nothing.
Mayraj F. said…
Gulf region has money to burn.
Riaz Haq said…
Siddiqui: "Who will invest in the Banana Republic of duffers Fauji....Huge decrease from a healthy 172. 8 million USD in the first quarter of 2022 to 23.1 million USD in the first qaurter of 2023, a meagre increase after a 9 fold decrease means nothing"

Venture money is risk capital. VCs generally look at the long term prospects for return on their investments. They know they'll come out ahead even if just one of 10 investments succeeds in producing blockbuster returns.

Please read this:

"The Odds of Succeeding for a Startup Funded by a Top VC:

Since there are 4,000 companies looking for funding, that translates to odds of 5.0%. Of the 200 that are funded by top VCs, 15 of those startups will generate nearly all of the economic return"
Riaz Haq said…
EIB backs $150mln Middle East venture capital initiative to accelerate digital transformation, create 8,000 jobs

The new venture capital fund launched by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) will increase targeted equity investment in high-growth e-commerce, health and education technology companies across the Middle East and Pakistan

The European Investment Bank (EIB), through its new dedicated development finance arm EIB Global, will provide $27m participation in the $150m Middle East Venture Fund IV.

The new venture capital fund launched by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) will increase targeted equity investment in high-growth e-commerce, health and education technology companies across the Middle East and Pakistan.

“The European Investment Bank has a unique global experience of ensuring that entrepreneurs and growth companies access finance. We welcome EIB Global’s $27m anchor investment in the $150m Middle East Venture Fund IV that will ensure that growth companies across the Middle East can grow, harness new business opportunities and create thousands of skilled jobs,” said Walid Hanna, Founder and co-CEO of MEVP.

“The European Investment Bank recognises the unique role of venture capital and works with leading venture capital partners to unlock high-impact targeted investment that boosts economic growth and ensures that entrepreneurs benefit from growth and innovation best practices. EIB Global is pleased to be the first anchor investor in the Middle East Venture Fund IV. New equity investment backed by the fund will enable local companies to grow, build on new opportunities for digital commerce, education and healthcare services highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver thousands of high-skilled jobs across the region.” said Gelsomina Vigliotti, Vice President of the EIB.

“The European Union is committed to private sector development in Egypt and across the region. This new cooperation between EIB Global and Middle East Venture Partners will accelerate skilled job creation and increase the role of technology-driven business in the years ahead,” said Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt.

The $27m European Investment Bank backing for the $150m Middle East Venture Fund IV represents the largest-ever venture capital engagement by the EIB in the Middle East.

Investing in local growth companies to strengthen regional economic resilience

Venture capital investment backed by the new fund will enable local companies across the Middle East and Pakistan to harness digital business opportunities unlocked by the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to support the creation of more than 8,000 skilled jobs.

Local innovation companies will benefit from 12 years of successful technical and sector investment and hands-on guidance shared by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and the new initiative will scale up long-term investment in early and growth-stage companies across the region.

Enabling Middle Eastern consumers to benefit from global digital trends

Equity investment backed in the new fund will accelerate innovation and expansion of digital services across the region to reflect global lifestyle changes, including increased access to online health services, education, entertainment and services.

Over the last 12 years Middle East Venture Partners has successfully backed more than 60 technology start-up companies across the Middle East. These include Anghami, the first legal music streaming platform and digital distribution company in the Arab world that has listed on NASDAQ, grocery and food delivery firms Nana and Toters.

Riaz Haq said…
Daftarkhwan partners with PAF to launch Daftarkhwan Alpha in Islamabad, Pakistan

Daftarkhwan is launching its newest coworking space- Alpha, in the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP), in partnership with Aviation City Pakistan, a project spearheaded by the Pakistan Air Force.

Alpha opened its doors this December, 2022- Situated in the Old Islamabad International Airport, Alpha provides a unique chance for enterprising tech companies to engage with the innovation ecosystem focused on Aerospace, IT and Cyber Tech domains.

Adjacent to Alpha, NASTP also boasts Pakistan’s very first National Incubation Centre with an aerospace vertical and a specialized focus on deep tech, funded by Ignite, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Information Technology. Daftarkhwan Alpha has a 450+ member capacity and brings you Daftarkhwan’s signature design and vibrant workspaces including amenities such as military-grade security, secure parking, a 10,000 sq. ft. cafe and a podcast room. Furthermore an on-site daycare facility, banking centers, ATMs and one-window legal and regulatory support facilities are planned to launch this January.

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