Pak tech startups begin getting investor recognition

STAFF REPORT LHR: Successful technology ventures such as property website and project management software company Convo have put Pakistan on the startup map. With a government keen to promote technology entrepreneurship and a relatively competitive business landscape, venture capitalists are starting to pay attention.

The government is keen to attract capital into Pakistans embryonic startup community and has established technology incubators in major cities such as Lahore and Karachi.

In Lahore, the Punjab Information Technology Boards Plan9 project has now incubated 80 startups and there are plans for more such projects across the country.

“This is just a start, with a further mushroom growth of such incubators in other major cities planned for this year, which only shows how serious the government is in planning to facilitate this ecosystem,” said Umar Saif, chairman of the Punjab IT Board.

To be sure, Pakistans startup community is still tiny compared with regional giants such as Singapore and India. In 2015, 15 startups in Pakistan raised almost $30 million, up from just $6 million in 2014. Another nine raised undisclosed amounts in 2015. Technology projects outsourced to Pakistan from overseas received another $70 million last year.

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