Options available for early-stage startups in Pakistan


More than two-thirds of Pakistan’s 180 million population belong to the age bracket of under 30 years which makes it an exciting proposition for fostering the entrepreneurship culture. Over the past few years, the startup ecosystem has evolved tremendously in our country. Hundreds of young entrepreneurs have transformed their raw ideas into full-fledged businesses which are also addressing the prevalent issues of Pakistan.

Based on a report by the Research and Analytics division of the Planet N Group of Companies, more than 700 startup companies have come into being since 2010 that have had at least one founder and operated from Pakistan out of which 67% are still up and running.

However, it’s not easy to build upon your idea on your own and you have to identify the right platforms who could assist you in your initiative.

Here is a list of options available to early-stage startups who want to convert their ideas into a business reality:

1. University ORICs

Higher Education Commission (HEC) has established “Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORICs)” across different institutions whose major aim is to encourage research-based initiatives inside their respective varsities and inspire the entrepreneurship spirit within students. If you are an undergraduate student whose idea is still in the formative stages, then getting associated with them is surely your best option. The complete list of ORICs can be accessed here.

2. Startup Incubators

An incubator is termed as an organization that provides a number of business support resources needed by early-stage startups that include office space, basic facilities, training and network of contacts. This option is usually taken up by young graduates looking to start their own businesses or seasoned professionals who are quitting their day-to-day jobs to create something of their own. Some of the renowned incubators across Pakistan include NEST I/O, Plan9, IBA CED, and LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Also Read: How 10xC chooses startups for funding

3. Business Accelerators

As the name suggests, accelerators are different from incubators because they provide startups with an advanced platform to work on their long-term sustainability during their operational phase. Accelerator programs usually last between 3 to 6 months and some of the popular accelerators include Telenor Velocity, Jazz xlR8 , and PlanX.

4. Bootstrapping

Using your personal finances to form the initial revenue of your startup company is very common. Aspiring entrepreneurs who are confident about taking all sorts of risks often consider bootstrapping as a reasonable option. Even though it means they can only invest a certain amount, yet this allows them to maintain a check and balance of their financial books.

5. Seed Funds/Angel Investors

Once a startup has refined their idea, is ready to expand their team and tap into a larger market to increase revenue they tend to raise investment. Seed funds can play a crucial role as they provide you with the initial investment to kick start your business proposition. 10xC has made a huge name for itself for being one of topmost seed funds in Pakistan. Furthermore, some entrepreneurs also resort to getting an angel investment firm on board who may collaborate with them as they aim to take their idea to the next level. DotZero Ventures and CresVentures are two of the most renowned angel investment firms in the Pakistani market.

Applications are now open for our next round of investments which begins in August 2017. Apply here.

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