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The Best Startups of Pakistan in 2018 to Leave Mark in 2019

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Startup culture in Pakistan has grown exponentially in the past few years, but questions still remain about whether startups have what it takes to survive, mature and scale.

Finding seed funding is where many startups struggle. However, things may be set to change on the venture capital front as big names including Bakery, Golden Gate Ventures, Wadi Accelerator, and Fatima Ventures are showing interest in investing in the Pakistani market.

Here is a shortlist of startups that have already made their presence felt in 2018 expected to go bigger in 2019.

Bykea

Founded: December 2016

Bykea is a local ride hailing service which uses bikes as the primary mode of transportation. Apart from getting a ride, the app allows customers to avail multiple other services such as bill payment, and parcel collection or delivery.

Just like competitors Careem and Uber, Bykea allows its users to track rides and rate them based on the quality of service.

Why are they on this list?

Given the low maintenance and fuel consumption of a bikes, Bykea is able to offer economical rates to its users, compared to other car hailing apps.

Moreover, the app is also available in Urdu making it easier for the masses to understand and use it.

With additional services of collecting and delivering parcels, Bykea is catering to a huge local market and has already shown potential to make it big in the months to come.

CertCars

Founded: February 2017

CertCars makes buying and selling cars easier, eliminating middlemen and connecting buyers directly with sellers. All cars listed on the website get inspected by trained technicians, and they also carry out a detailed photo shoot.

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Their service is currently free until the end of 2017, but they will be charging an undisclosed amount from 2018.

Why are they on this list?

A young startup fresh out of tech incubator The Nest I/O, they recently secured investment of Rs5 million from ecommerce portal homeshopping.pk.

MicroPower Labs

Founded: 2015

MicroPower Labs is a technology innovation startup that develops tech gadgets, one of their products being Flash Pack, which claims to be the world’s fastest charging power bank with charging time of 15 minutes.

The startup also aims to launch Cooly in 2018, which they say is the world’s first solar powered wearable cooling device.

Why are they on this list?

With a customer base spread across 35 countries, MicroPower Labs has been able to secure funding from international investors in a very short period, with $100,000 in sales in 2017. The most recent push for the startup came in September 2017 when they secured an equity free grant of AUD $100,000 from the Government of Queensland Australia.

Car Chabi

Founded: December 2015

Car Chabi is a digital car key app that allows users to lock, unlock, start, and secure their car through smartphones. They have introduced many other interesting features for this digital car key as well, such as engine kill, automatically saving parking locations, and pre-heating or cooling the car.

Why are they on this list?

Within one year of operation, the startup was able to generate a revenue of over $30,000 and also secured seed funding worth $150,000 from Treet Corporation Limited in 2017. The first-of-its-kind local app has gained interest of many car owners for both security and convenience.

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Patari

Founded: September 2014

Patari claims to be Pakistan’s largest audio streaming platform that not only produces original music, but also the first Pakistani digital media platform that pays royalties to its artists. Users can stream music on the Patari website as well as on its mobile app.

Why are they on this list?

The startup raised $200,000 in seed funding in December 2016 from Sarmayacar, and has since launched many successful projects. Patari’s userbase has been consistently increasing since its launch, and according to Humayun Haroon, co-founder of Patari, they are currently attracting over a million visits and over four million streams each month.

UrduBit

Founded: August 2016

UrduBit is Pakistan’s first Bitcoin trading platform focused on safe transactions and maintaining a level of professionalism that doesn’t exist on the cryptocurrency front locally. The site functions by allowing users to trade directly with each other via the platform, charging a 0.75% trade fee.

Why are they on this list?

Urdubit continues to gain traction as awareness regarding cryptocurrency has increased in the local market. Bitcoin has gained the attention of people around the world who are now looking to invest in this largely unregulated digital currency, and Urdubit shows a lot of potential as a local platform for bitcoin trade in Pakistan.

Courtesy  Dawn.com

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Anees Shah
1 year ago

Getting funds for your start-ups or business is really a difficult job. List of Startup Investors and Firms which Invest in Pakistani Start-ups

Economy

Sania Approves Cognitive API Architecture For Ehsaas’ One Window Socioeconomic Registry

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 Islamabad: The Cognitive API architecture for Ehsaas’ National Socio-Economic Registry 2021 is one of the six main pillars of ‘One Window Ehsaas’. With the survey, which is building the registry currently 90.5% complete nationwide, Ehsaas is firming up its plans to open data sharing and data access services for all executing agencies under Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD).

Data sharing will be done through the Cognitive API Architecture approach. The deployment of Ehsaas API architecture for data sharing will allow executing agencies to access data from the unified registry in real-time to validate beneficiary information. This will empower them to ascertain eligibility of potential beneficiaries. The benefits which each family and individual is receiving from each organization will be visible to all agencies across all Ehsaas programs.

There will be two-way data sharing; agencies with whom data will be shared will also be required to update the registry with their own information, hence the registry will become more robust over time. A final presentation was made to Dr. Sania Nishtar who closely oversaw this process. She praised the technical team working on Ehsaas Cognitive API Architecture approach and congratulated them. Later, this service will be extended to provinces and other government agencies implementing Ehsaas programs as well.

The API architecture for data sharing will facilitate adoption of the Ehsaas One Window targeting Policy. The objective of this policy is to make targeting predictable, evidence based, transparent and effective in the Ehsaas ecosystem. Under the same architecture, the Utility Stores Corporation has also been linked with the Ehsaas database, which will underpin execution of a commodity subsidies program. This approach is being adopted for the first time and will usher in transparency. Previously, there was no way of one government agency knowing what support an individual or a family was getting from another government agency.

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Some families with connections and influence were getting multiple benefits and other more deserving ones were getting none. Now, with the data integration, Ehsaas agencies will be able to see what benefits an individual or the households is getting. But more importantly, it will also reflect their entitlement in terms of various Ehsaas programmes and initiatives, because the data sharing is pegged with the Ehsaas One Window targeting Policy.

The integrated registry and the cognitive API Architecture for the registry is one pillar of the One Window Ehsaas, which will be launched this week. It has six main components: one-stop-shop centers; an integrated digital interface facing the office; a digital information and services platform; a mobile app; an integrated database comprising of cognitive API architecture; and the standardized beneficiary targeting policy.

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Digital

Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup, CreditBook raises $1.5 million in seed funding

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The Karachi-based digital bookkeeping startup CreditBook, which is trying to ensure that tracking of transactions goes digital, has announced that it has raised US$1.5 million in seed funding from international and local investors.

Key investors included Pakistan’s BitRate Venture Capital, VentureSouq from the United Arab Emirates, US-based Better Tomorrow Ventures, Ratio Ventures, Quiet Capital, Toy Ventures, and i2i Ventures.

Established in June 2020 by Hasib Malik, Iman Jamall, and Hisham Adamjee, CreditBook strives to help microentrepreneurs digitalize and track their transactions.

CreditBook aims to utilize the funding to scale its user base and diversify its product offerings. As indicated by the startup, its registered client base grew 5x in the last six months to reach 500,000.

“Before the launch in June 2020, we had planned to use a mix of digital marketing and offline acquisition. But with lockdown restrictions, we pivoted to a purely digital strategy. We were surprised when we saw thousands of users come onto the platform in the first month with less than $1,000 in total spend,” Malik told Tech in Asia. Via TechinAsia

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Digital

Pakistan Moves Closer to Train One Million Youth with Digital Skills

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Enabling people to bring at least an additional US$1 billion each year into the Pakistani economy through E-Commerce skills by 2025.

Pakistan Moves Closer to Train One Million Youth with 100+ eCommerce and Digital Skills

Karachi, Pakistan, February 05, 2021  ………Pakistan has a large labour force that stands among the top 10 largest labour forces in the world, and it’s growing day by day. To create adequate employment opportunities for them is a huge challenge. On the other hand, employers frequently keep saying that they are unable to find workers with the appropriate skills necessary for their businesses. This obviously shows that there is a mismatch between the demand and supply of skills.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has shown that skills development can play a major role in the alleviation of poverty, when carefully planned and implemented in the context of the available and emerging employment and income-generation opportunities. This multiplies many folds when the skills are acquired in the digital spheres. It not only widens the work opportunities but also opens up avenues for entrepreneurial ventures as well.

Extreme Commerce, Pakistan’s largest and renowned E-Commerce capacity building platform has excelled in its mission of making Pakistan a hub of entrepreneurial opportunities. Under the guidance of Sunny Ali, thousands of aspiring individuals from Pakistan have successfully initiated global e-commerce businesses.

Extreme Commerce, Pakistan’s largest e-commerce skill development and the entrepreneurial platform has achieved yet another milestone with the expansion of 100+ skills training courses through the “Video Boot Camp (VBC).” The Video Boot Camp includes virtual sessions and videos encompassing around 100 essential e-commerce and digital skills required to excel in the spheres of online businesses. The Video Boot Camp training program is specifically tailored to facilitate the budding entrepreneurs and businessmen and freelancers.

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According to Ali, “E-commerce has skyrocketed after the pandemic and is estimated to grow to a whopping $4.3 trillion within this year.” He further adds, “There is a huge potential for growth in eCommerce both domestic and international, and that is why Extreme Commerce has pledged to enable people to bring at least an additional $1 billion each year into the Pakistani economy through E-Commerce skills by 2025.”

The Video Boot Camp includes over a 100 plus income generating E-Commerce skills (income streams) which an entrepreneur needs to skyrocket their businesses. Some skills offered through the VBC include: Selling through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) model, Virtual Assistant and FBA Freelancing, online store management of international and local E-Commerce marketplaces, bookkeeping account management services, digital and social media marketing, content writing and graphic designing, 3D designing & modelling, data science and analytics and more.

This initiative of Extreme Commerce will be immensely fruitful in helping their trainees become leading entrepreneurs of the country. Ali, contented with his vision states, “At Extreme Commerce, we offer a multitude of digital skills that are categorized into 100+ courses/income streams under the umbrella of Video Boot Camp (VBC 2021). These skills are pivotal to reducing unemployment and enhancing the capital of our country.” Sharing his focus and goals, he adds, “Skills that actually help you succeed as an online freelancer and even in the real-life environment plus increase your income thereby, are our prime focus right now.”

Earlier, Extreme Commerce and Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the World Economic Forum had signed a partnership to mainstream e-commerce in Pakistan, this includes capacity building initiatives for the media and industry players, including trainings, seminars and workshops.

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The government of Pakistan has estimated digital skills global industry, often referred to as online outsourcing, is expected to generate gross service revenue between $15 billion and $25 billion in 2021.

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