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2015 was a breakout year for start-ups in Pakistan. One company was accepted into YCombinator, two raised multi-million dollar investment rounds, and a local competitor was acquired by Rocket Internet. Add that to the mushroom growth of start-up incubators and accelerators across the country, as well as much more hype and buzz around tech entrepreneurship in general. The future seems bright.
There are still challenges to overcome. Payments is a niggling problem – unwieldy financial regulations mean fintech start-ups aren’t able to address this need and e-commerce as a whole suffers. High-speed internet connectivity is still not a guaranteed right; it’s been just over a year since Pakistan introduced 3G/4G LTE services, and there’s still a long way to go before most of the country jumps on the bandwagon.
On the upside, several promising companies
secured investor cash this year.
Zamzama Property Group
Zamzama Property Group, which is the parent company of real estate sites Zameen and Bayut, raised $9 million in series B financing, marking the largest investment in a Pakistan-based start-up this year.
Zameen’s rival in Pakistan is Rocket Internet-backed Lamudi but word on the street is that there’s a massive gap between the two. The portal has been around since 2006 and counts Patrick Grove’s Catcha Group as one of its investors.
Naseeb Networks is the holding company of job portals Rozee and Mihnati, concentrating on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, respectively. The start-up raised a $6.5 million series C round, bringing its total funding to $8.5 million. Acceleration of growth in target markets of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was said to be the primary reason behind the sizable investment.