The startup ecosystem in Pakistan is expanding and the journey might be close enough to make a significant impact, but this doesn’t mean that startups are flourishing in the country and aren’t facing any hindrances. It might be too early to call Lahore the next Silicon Valley of Asia, but, obviously, the city has the potential and resources at its disposal to be an even bigger success than it currently is. Pakistan is going through major consumer behavior and market changes. The growing influence of various tech giants in the region is the driving force behind this change, likewise, the country is embracing local ingenuity and entrepreneurship.
Though there are various govt-backed and non-govt incubators and accelerators working in Pakistan like Plan9, The Nest I/O, LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, PlanX, Microsoft Innovation Center, and National Incubation Center, yet the startups’ founders have been facing problems to get required exposure, especially at the infancy stage.
The problems startups face in Pakistan are no different than global challenges faced by startups these days. Among other fatigues that startups face these days, comes a major problem of raising investment. Raising investment is an uphill battle anywhere in the world, add to it the fact that most businessmen in Pakistan are still reluctant to invest in technology related startups, the situation seems very dire for a new startup looking to kick off their feet from the ground.
Financial resources are not the only thing which startups find difficult to acquire. Getting human resources which work according to a startup’s needs and ambitions is very difficult to get hands on too. While trying to shape the future of your company, you want to be surrounded by like-minded people who share your vision and can give valuable input on each step of the way.
Anusheh Naveed, Head of Insights Invest2Innovate, compiled a report last year in November, titled “why do startups fail and what can we do to address the challenges that lead them to that point?” Among other reasons she discussed in the report, there were three major factors that according to her lead Pakistani startups to a failure at an early stage. These include investing unnecessarily in the least important stuff like office space at an initial stage, not having the right people on board, and not understanding the market needs and timelines well enough.
“The Pakistani market is notorious for being a tough market to raise investment in,” said Anusheh in the report. “The most obvious reasons remain the lack of VC’s and deals within the ecosystem,” she added further.
While commenting on investor’s attitude in the country she said:
“Pakistani investors still take a very aggressive approach to investment where they want majority control of the startup, which essentially turns the entrepreneur to an employee (and in my opinion defeats the purpose).”
Abbas Khan, Managing Director of Abacus Consulting, thinks that easy access to new technology is one of the problems which is plaguing new startups in Pakistan. To compete with other companies on an international scale, the startups need to keep themselves abreast of newer developments in technology. Another problem that Abbas was able to point out was that startups distance themselves from their customers. While talking about this problem, Abbas said:
“What we are seeing is that many young startups don’t connect with the customers early on. What happens is that you go away in your garage, your office or where you are, you are building your products for months, sometimes even years and you don’t’ connect or touch base with your customers. This is something which we are seeing a lot lately and we advise that startups should talk to their customers as soon as possible.”
These issues might look like minuscule details when viewed from the perspective of someone who believes that their idea is something which can change the world forever, but ideas alone aren’t enough to make or break a startup. Execution is a key aspect when it comes to succeeding in this competitive world.
So what are startups to do then? From where can they get advice on how to wade their way through the tough waters out there in the market? There’s usually no short answer to such questions but fortunately, there is one which qualifies at the moment, Momentum Tech Conference.
Momentum Tech Conference is taking place from 19-20 Feb in Karachi and will be attended by some of the most distinguished experts from the technology community. It provides an enormous opportunity for young startups to get the expert opinion about their idea. It also provides investors a chance to get behind the best and brightest ideas from all around Pakistan.
If all of this resonates with you and you are itching to meet with top industry experts, you can go ahead and register for Momentum Tech Conference by visiting this link right now.
Momentum is a global startup community which is designed to educate, inspire and connect Pakistani entrepreneurs who are working to disrupt the existing businesses and entrepreneurial scene through innovative and inspiring ideas.
Momentum Tech Conference is an event which will take place on 19th and 20th February in Karachi. This two-day event will attract investors, leaders in tech space, and innovators from all around Pakistan. Momentum Tech Conference will also provide a platform for startups to pitch their ideas in front of business executives looking who to invest in new ideas. It is a great opportunity for new tech ventures to spread the word about their products and get funded to take the next big step in the market.
Registrations for Momentum Tech Conferences are currently open and interested parties can sign up using this link on the Momentum website.