The COVID-19 event served as a stimulus for the tech startups in Pakistan, which saw investments increase from $65 million in 2020 to $350 million in 2021. Entrepreneurs had the chance to develop digital solutions with a human impact during prolonged lockdowns and quarantines.
Pakistan is one of the last untapped markets for startups and investors to offer internet-based services comparable to those in other parts of the world, with more than 250 startups since 2015, increasing internet connectivity driven by low-cost smartphones – there have been 184 million cellphone users at the end of 2021 thanks to affordable data.
Pakistan’s Startup Environment
Pakistani startups raised $66MM in total in 2020.
Things took a radical turn in 2021.
It all began in January with a donation of $13.5 million. Seven startups raised $42.6 million in the capital from February through April.
During May and June, companies raised an extra $69.2 million, with most of the money going to eCommerce and FinTech startups in Pakistan. The best Pakistan-based e-commerce startups are highlighted in this article. These start-ups and firms are tackling the e-commerce sector from various angles, but they are all great businesses you should keep an eye on.
In our selection process, we tried to include businesses of all sizes, from innovative startups to well-known names.
Several reasons contribute to Pakistan's expanding e-commerce trends, which can open up new opportunities for startups. Here are a few of Pakistan's most successful e-commerce startups. These start-ups and businesses have been hand-picked because of their outstanding performance. Let’s take a look:
Top 5 eCommerce Tech Startups in Pakistan
The Markaz App is a social commerce tech startup in Pakistan allowing aspiring entrepreneurs to promote and sell products using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
So how does the Markaz app work?
Markaz App allows wholesalers to grow their businesses online. It opens up a whole new online avenue for wholesalers to list their product catalogs and associated items.
This has resulted in a catalog of more than 100,000 items on the Markaz App. So that is one way you can become a part of the Markaz ecosystem.
Markaz App also offers resell in which users can utilize the social commerce app to advertise these products to their contacts via WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
All catalogs available through the Markaz App enable resellers to view each item's product images, pricing, and in-stock information.
The app makes things easier for the end-user by enabling a simple cash-on-delivery payment method. Customers can also return the product within seven days of delivery if there is a problem to ensure that their customer needs are met.
Markaz has several well-established and reliable delivery partners.
Unlike other apps, Markaz does not require its members to make an initial investment. Furthermore, Markaz takes care of the shipping, cash on delivery, and quality-related returns and reimbursements so that members can work more flexibly.
Resellers can earn up to PKR 25,000 per month and get paid within 48-72 hours for each successful sale.
A total of $109.2 million in funding has been made public by Airlift as of 2021. We now have the largest money in a local tech startup in Pakistan's history!
When Airlift was first founded, it was primarily an app-based transportation service. However, amid the pandemic, it shifted its focus to fast-paced commerce.
Meher Farrukh, Ahmed Ayub, and Usman Gul set up the company in 2018. They have a 30-minute delivery window for groceries, medicine, and other home goods. Several well-known investors are also supporting their expansion into the electronic sector.
In 2021, Bazaar received the investment in two phases. Established by awaid and Saad Jangda established it in 2020. There was $37.8 million in declared financing for Bazaar when in 2019.
In Pakistan, Bazaar is a B2B marketplace for small enterprises (Kiryana outlets). Initially, it received $6.5 million seed funding from Indus Valley Capital, Global Founders Capital, S7V, Wavemaker Partners, Derayah Venture Capital, and Next Billion Ventures.
Later, Defy Partners, Wavemaker Partners, Acrew Capital, and Saison Capital invested $30 million in the company's Series A round of funding, as well as other investors, including B&Y Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital, Next Billion Ventures, and Alter Global.
Up to this point, PostEx has received $8.6 million in funding (1.5 million dollars in seed funding and 7.1 million dollars in Series A funding).
In April 2020, PostEx was formed as a hybrid receivables factoring and courier business. The four founders are Omer Khan, Saad Mahmood, Babar Razzaq, and Adil Naseem. PostEx is a startup that compensates for E-commerce companies that accept Cash on Delivery as a method of payment beforehand.
It stands apart from the crowd of industry players. Vendors can accept cash on delivery without the need to wait for payment. They've decided to make the delivery process as simple as possible. In addition, standard delivery is being modernized with fast and upfront cash on orders rather than the current delivery method.
PostEx's financial and logistics platform aims to alleviate the problems of payment cycles and transactions. Using PostEx's payment gateway, retailers can accept credit cards, bank accounts, and mobile wallet payments on their website in addition to cash-on-delivery payments.
Retailo has received $9 million in publicly known investment as of 2021.
In Riyadh, Retailo is a business-to-business B2B portal for retailers that brings manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers together. One of its primary objectives is to improve the state of retail supply chains regarding technology.
In addition, developing a tech-enabled distribution platform would eliminate the inefficiencies in the informal retail sector. With the help of Mohammad Nowkhaiz, Talha Ansari developed Retailo. As a result, they've worked for companies like Careem and Rocket Internet in the Middle East.
Using Retailo's business-to-business app, you have a slew of options for managing your company. Offering competitive rates in the market helps the company have a steady and ideal stock level.
A large portion of Pakistan's GDP is generated by small and medium-sized enterprises. Although innovation has become a hot topic in the entrepreneurial environment of the country recently, Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) or startups are becoming more commonplace. There has been an increase in the number of incubators and accelerators in the country, making it easier for startups to seek help.
So, which one of these tech startups in Pakistan has inspired you the most so far and would you ever invest in tech startups?
How many startups are in Pakistan?
By 2025, Pakistan is expected to have 97% more venture capital funding than it had in 2020, according to the Emerging Venture Markets Report. This helps Pakistan become a startup powerhouse. Now, Pakistan is home to upwards of 800 start-ups.
How many unicorns Pakistan has?
There are only three unicorns in Pakistan: Careem, Afiniti, and KeepTruckin, which are all valued at more than $1 billion each.
How is e-commerce in Pakistan?
In 2021, Pakistan will be the 37th-largest market for eCommerce, ahead of Iran but behind Israel in terms of revenue. In 2021, Pakistan's eCommerce market is expected to rise by 45 percent, helping to drive global eCommerce growth to 29%.