The technology entrepreneurship ecosystem in Pakistan is at a tipping point! With this in mind, we decided to scout the most promising technology startups of Pakistan. The TechJuice team has divided the Pakistani startups into three categories depending on their growth stage: Early-age, Mid-Stage and Late-Stage. This is the second post in the series.
It’s a combination of factors including pervasive internet penetration, cheap smart phone devices, 3G/4G rollouts, massive amounts of marketing and media expenditure by companies like Rocket Internet and Naspers that are striving to make Pakistani consumers comfortable transacting online and development of platforms like The Foundation at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and Plan9, organizations that are supporting passionate entrepreneurs during their formative years. Investment is now flowing into startups at seed stage from local and foreign angels as well as through early-stage funds. Successful entrepreneurs returning from abroad and providing mentoring to startups and building bridges for them outside of Pakistan is yet another plus point. There is no reason why Pakistani startups of today can’t turn into the giant global businesses of tomorrow!
Mid-Stage startups are defined as the startups that have built a product or defined their services and gotten early validation from the market through beta customers. They have usually nailed their business model and are working to develop the market and expand the customer base. These startups are either bootstrapped, have raised friends and family money and/or raised seed capital (low six figures dollars). Among the many mid-stage startups in the Pakistani market right now, these startups stand up because their products have real potential. They have already seen a great response and with a little more push, they could achieve more business growth. Ready to meet the top 10 Mid-Stage Pakistani Startups? Read on to find out more about them!
“Mozart’s symphony sounds better on an ice-cream truck, not on hold music…”
Appography is all set to completely change the way IVRs work. With a visual implementation of IVRs called VIVID, the startup can make sure that the customer service becomes more efficient and the caller queues are reduced upto 30%. The immense potential that this startup exhibits has already been noticed and appreciated. Incubated at Plan9, a startup incubator by PITB, Appography was also selected for the BlackBox Connect Program for a two week immersion program based in the Silicon Valley. In January, the startup also bagged seed funding from prominent UK investors. Now, Appography is all set to become a part of The Foundation by LCE. This startup has shown great promise and we are expecting more success for Appography in the future.
Groopic by Eyedeus has garnered significant attention in the past year. The app was praised and encouraged both locally and internationally because it reflected true innovation in technology that could be used in every day lives. Eyedeus Labs is now working on a new idea that will try to make video advertisements less intrusive. The idea is still in progress but shows that Eyedeus is committed to bringing more products to the market. Meanwhile Groopic, the photo app that combines two photos so that the photographer himself can be in the picture, is also doing well and has raised an undisclosed sum from Kima Ventures. The future is looking bright for Eyedeus Labs.
There is a Social Media platform for virtually everything now. So why not have one for cricket, the sport that beats in the heart of Pakistanis and many others in the world. Backed by eMumba, cricout aims to utilize the interest that is generated by cricket games each year and redirect it to their website. Led by Owais Anjum, cricout stated as an 8 member team that raised $85,000 from investors in Silicon Valley in 2013. In order to focus full time, Owais had to first leave his job as the Managing Director of Numetrics, a company which deals in electrical product development. The aim was to cross at least 1 Million users by 2014 so that the company could start generating a positive cash flow. Currently, cricout works on web, iOS and Android. On Play Store alone, the app has between 10,000-50,000 installations.
Bookme.pk intends to become the single place in Pakistan where you can book tickets online. Currently, bookme allows you to book cinema and transport tickets. Buying movie tickets online is becoming very popular What makes Bookme a startup with good potential is the fact that its use is simplistic. Add that to the growth in Smartphone use and the availability of 3G, and bookme.pk becomes a viable solution. All you have to do is open the application, choose from the movies which are playing in cinemas around you and book tickets for your favorite movie. In the future, users could also be encouraged to book their bus tickets via bookme. The tickets are delivered to your doorstep saving you alot of hassle.
X-Gear offers its customers a revolutionary product: a plug and play device that you can attach to the car’s data ports found underneath the driver’s dashboard and then you are good to go. The device monitors everything: it scans your car for fault codes helping in maintenance, helps in achieving fuel efficiency and analyzes the driving, helping profile the driver and monitor the behavior. XGear was incubated in Plan9 and also participated in The Next Web Boost Progarm and MIT-BAP. In May, the company started its Indiegogo campaign and has raised $5,134. According to the official website, XGear has logged in almost 50,000 miles. XGear has immense potential and we believe this startup can make its name in the industry.
The fact the eCommerce enables a seller to access brand new markets is well known. Add to it a product that has a strong cultural background and where each sale reflects a small, positive impact and a business can reach new heights. That’s exactly what Popinjay is doing. The force behind the startup is Saba Gul, who was also featured in a TechJuice Exclusive, 12 exceptional Pakistani Women in Business and Technology. The project initially meant to provide education and livelihood to Pakistani women who didn’t have access to these opportunities. BLISS, a label for handmade products emerged in 2011 and in 2013 it was renamed to Popinjay. What Popinjay is offering its customers is lucrative indeed. High end products such as individually hand-crafted bags with meticulous attention paid to detail have attracted significant attention over the past few years. What’s more the profits generated help keep the girls in school as well as train them and make them financially independent.
It makes sense to have Markhor, previously Hometown Shoes, next on the list. This startup sells high quality leather shoes which are handcrafted by artisans in Pakistan. What gives the startup an edge in the uniqueness of their product and the fact that buying a pair of shoes can help you make a positive change in someone’s life. After rebranding from Hometown Shoes, Markhor has added several more products to their line and hope to expand. These will include quality leather products like card holders and technology cases. Markhor will also be launching its Kickstarter campaign on August 14th.
Bizclout’s main focus is making the life of SMEs easier. Since a website is now considered an essential part of the business, Bizclout taker over the responsibility from SME owners and founders and allows them to focus on their business. The platform is designed to allow its users to create website in a matter of minutes and then maintain smooth working by using some of the many services that Bizclout has to offer. These include website management, pre-built templates, access to domain and analytics as well as provision of eCommerce and Inventory/Order Management systems. The next step for Bizclout is to consolidate their services under Oneclout, a venture which will be backed by LCE’s Foundation program.
Shopistan offers several services that are designed to improve the user experience of online shoppers in Pakistan. These services include Social Media Management, Online Store Management and Customer Services, Online Marketing and Analytics and Optimization. The startups is working to revolutionize online shopping experience for Pakistanis, an area which is likely to see good growth in the coming years. The startup has also received funding from Kima Ventures which will help it go a long way.
Olaround, launched in 2011, is the first location based loyalty app built by Bramerz. The application quickly rose to fame after its launch and within two months, Olaround was topping the charts. The users collect rewards by simply scanning the QR code available at venues supported by Olaround. The customers in turn get to earn rewards that they can then avail at their favorite restaurants. With the growth of Smartphone users in the country and the availability of better Mobile internet in the form of 3G or 4G services, applications like olaround could see more users in the future.
There is love for food and then there is a Pakistani’s love for food. If you love eating, dining out or getting food delivered to your place, EatOye can be one the many options you can choose to order online. Their website is great and quite user friendly, allowing you to reserve a table at your favorite restaurant or get food delivered 24/7 to your place. They also launched an iPhone app recently to make your life more easier. From bill calculation as you order to instant SMS conformation, EatOye is a great way to dine which is why EatOye is the featured bonus startup.
In the coming years, we expect to see more startups fall in this particular category. The incubators and accelerators do a good job of giving the startups a good start, sometimes even pushing them to this stage but to get to the final stage where a startup matured into a self-supporting, sustainable business is sheer hard work and persistence. What do you think of the Top 10 Mid-Stage startups? Leave your reviews in the comments below and tweet to us @TechJuicePk!