Ignite National Technology Fund, a company with the Ministry of IT and Telecom, showcased Pakistani startups at 4YFN (4 Years From Now), the startup event of Mobile World Congress which enables startups, investors, and large corporations to connect and launch new business ventures together.
4YFN supports startups, incubators, and accelerators who want to project the creativity of their ecosystems to the tech industry, with exhibition space to showcase their best startups and opportunities for those startups to pitch to investors. Among the participating startups were Fowrry and YPay Financial Services.
Fowrry is a mobile app for delivering fresh fruits and vegetables, restaurant food, groceries, baked items, medicines, gifts, cosmetics, ﬂowers directly to the customer’s doorstep with free replacement or return, creating more than 3,000 jobs. YPay Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. is a fintech startup with a vision to have onboard 1 million ﬁrst-time capital markets investors by the end of 2023.
Both startups, which were incubated at Ignite’s National Incubation Centers, have attracted interest from the Pakistani diaspora and international investors at 4YFN. Visitors praised the steps taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan in improving the ease of business for new startups and businesses in Pakistan.
Some strategic partnerships and alignments have been made by these startups with global companies with the same focus areas. Earlier, H.E. Ambassador of Pakistan to Spain, Mr. Shujaat Ali Rathore, interacted with Pakistani companies and startups at the 4YFN conference and appreciated the innovative ideas, and affirmed to extend full support to young Pakistani entrepreneurs.
Ignite has established a network of five National Incubation Centers (NICs) across Pakistan in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, and Quetta so far and is planning more incubators in the future. NICs are providing mentorship and support to the promising vibrant entrepreneurs for planning and execution of their business ideas.
International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency for ICTs, has recognized Ignite’s National Incubation Centers as one of the Champion Projects in the Enabling Environment Category at the World Summit on the Information Society Prizes 2021 in May 2021.
Two of the Ignite-funded startups – Vceela and Knowledge Platform – are among the three Pakistani startups to have won a total grant of £668,000 from the GSMA Innovation Fund in June 2021.
CEO Ignite, Asim Shahryar Husain, stated that Pakistani startups have raised around $128 million in the first half of 2021 and forecast by December is $250 million which is a growth of more than 200% over investments of $77 million in Pakistani startups in 2020.
He said that majority of the investments in Pakistani startups have been in e-commerce, fintech, retailtech, healthtech, and transport & logistics. In June 2021, Tajir, a Pakistani startup in retailtech, has raised $17 million in a series-A round led by Kleiner Perkins, a leading VC firm of Silicon Valley.
So, the startup ecosystem is heating up in Pakistan, is attracting many renowned foreign investors because of the high growth potential of Pakistani startups, and the future looks very bright for Pakistani entrepreneurs.