Gearing yourself up for a start up? Well, there is no better time than now! How, you may ask? Well, here is how! An encyclopedia of the country’s startup culture, the document, along with its wiki, has been compiled by the World Startup Report, a Silicon Valley-based organization that builds community-driven entrepreneurial guides for every part of the world.
The World Startup Wiki is a World Startup Report project that maps out business opportunities worldwide and has recently released its Pakistan chapter on its website.
Pakistan Startup Report concluded while noting, “Pakistan will grow, the only uncertainty is the speed at which it does, now is a very interesting time for both entrepreneurs and investors to bet their money on startups in the Pakistan”. The project went live from Monday, July 7, as the officials provided the latest updates on Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. This is an ongoing work-in-progress as the data and insights are continuously being subjected to change, they say about the Pakistan Startup Wiki. The World Startup Wiki was launched by Bowei Gai, SV-based serial entrepreneur and founder of CardMunch (acquired by LinkedIn in 2011). The Pakistan chapter was co-authored by Gai and Adam Dawood of DYL Ventures Pakistan with contributions from the country’s startup community. Dawood told that 10 other local experts contributed along with more than 20 people, who gathered data for the Wiki. He also stated:
The purpose of the report is to document Pakistan’s startup ecosystem as a chapter of the World Startup Report through detailed analyses and reports based on the local culture, trends, key players and challenges. The document says, “We wish to share this report pro bono to encourage investors to take advantage of current opportunities.” The report is loaded with statistics about the country’s Information Communication Technology sector and demographic details. According to the report, there are 12,500 Pakistanis working in Silicon Valley, and many Pakistanis who have studied and worked abroad are returning to start their own ventures.
“Recent investments are testament to the increasing interest and confidence of investors in local startups. Investors can see beyond the short-term issues in Pakistan and have foresight to capitalize on the long-term future potential,” the report said, quoting an official that went by @Kayzafar.
Some Interesting Facts:
- Of Pakistan’s 180 million people, 68 percent are under 30 (compared to 63 percent in India, 40 percent in the US).
- Pakistan expects to have 110 million 3G or 4G subscribers by 2019.
- Pakistan has the fourth largest middle class population in developing Asia.
- Despite a 16% internet penetration, about half of its 30 million internet users access internet through mobile phones – the country’s mobile penetration stands at 74% or 136.5 million subscriptions
- The list of investors includes Mindstorm Studios, Pakwheels.com, Cricout, Rozee.pk, Sofizar, Symbios.pk, Solotech, Groopic, Homeshopping.pk, Convo, Zameen.com, EatOye along with some international investors like Rocket internet and Naspers .
The report also states that “Pakistan lays claim to some of the world’s best IT engineers and designers many of whom choose to go into freelancing. There are approximately 1 million freelancers working online in the country”. Besides data and statistics, the report also highlights the country’s pro-investor policies. According to the report, Pakistan has one of the most liberal policies in the region. For instance, foreign investors are allowed to hold 100% equity and full repatriation of capital.
Challenges faced by Pakistani Startups:
The report would not have been complete if it hadn’t mentioned the challenges entrepreneurs are likely to face in the country.
“Due to the sensitive nature of certain religious and cultural issues social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter have been banned at various points in the last five years,” it said, adding, “YouTube is still offline, and recently Twitter has been blocking certain tweets.”
Lack of basic infrastructure is another challenge facing Pakistani startups. “Low penetration of credit and debit cards means most orders are via Cash-on-Delivery,” it said – Pakistan is also the second highest country for credit card fraud. Beside this, poor transport infrastructure makes logistics suffer at times while power outages add to cost of business.
However, despite these challenges the authors are optimistic about the country’s growth and advise investors accordingly.
Here is the full report: