The startup wave is all pervasive and ubiquitous in India. India rightfully so, is home to the 4th highest number of startups in the world after USA, China, and the UK.
However, not very far from us, in the neighbour country Pakistan with whom India shares a checkered history and a bittersweet relationship is also turning startup heavy. Pakistan’s decades long political instability and one of the lowest literacy rates (57%) in the world hasn’t quite marred the entrepreneurial spirit of the country. Given the similarity the 2 countries share in terms of culture, language and demographics, Pakistan’s startups are looking to solve similar problems as their Indian counterparts. In fact, Pakistan has an equivalent for every top Indian startup there is, right from Flipkart to Naukri.com to Zomato. While Pakistani startups may have a long way to go in terms of investment rounds, user interface, and market penetration, the presence of these established startups is a handy reckoner of its potential. And while India is sometimes accused of following US and China models of startups, it’s in a way redeeming to say that many of India’s homegrown startups have inspired the same in its neighbour country.
Here’s a look at top 12 Pakistani startups, along with their Indian inspiration.
1. Daraz.pk – ecommerce marketplace
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon.
Also dubbed as Pakistan’s answer to Amazon, Daraz is Pakistan’s largest e-commerce store with 3.5 million unique visitors and over 150 employees. It follows the marketplace model and offers products from fashion to electronic appliances just like the Flipkarts or Snapdeals of India. The company has raised investments worth $55 million as against Flipkart that has attracted over $3 billion in 12 rounds.
2. Chutti.pk – Online tours and travels aggregator
Pakistan’s answer to India’s MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip
Touted as Pakistan’s first online travel portal, Chutti offers packaged tours, hotel bookings and travel advice, much alike its Indian counterpart, MakeMyTrip (And dozens of other travel players who followed). Chutti however doesn’t boast of a website or mobile app as sleek as MMT’s.
3. Rozee – Online jobs portal
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Naukri.com
Started as Pakistan’s first job portal, this 3 year old startups offers jobs in Pakistan as well as many middle eastern countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. The portal boasts of 22 million applications( 6 million active users) and 54,000 registered employers. “Back in 2008, Rozee became Pakistan’s first online company to ever raise venture capital amidst the backdrop of a suspended constitution, Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and frequent bombings.”, says Wamda. With the latest round of funding to the tune of $6.5 million in series C, its total funding now exceeds $8.5 million.
4. Eatoye – Online restaurant guide and food ordering platform
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Zomato
EatOye is an online food delivery service that started as a restaurant guide in 2011, like Zomato. Eatoye is considered to be the best food ordering service in Pakistan with over 900 restaurants featured on its website. The company secured $360k seed funding in 2013 and was acquired by Foodpanda in Feb 2015.
5. Pakwheels – Online used cars portal
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Cardekho
Founded in 2003, PakWheels.com claims to be Pakistan’s #1 automotive portal. “Since its inception, PakWheels.com has helped millions of Pakistanis buy & sell automobiles, read automotive reviews and news, check automotive prices and find solutions to all of their automotive needs. Today, PakWheels.com is the first name that comes to mind if anyone is looking for a solution to their automotive needs.”, says the website. While its Indian counterpart may have started a good 10 years later, PakWheels in this case, take credit for being a first in the online used vehicles segment.
6. Zameen.com – Online real estate listings
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Magicbricks, Housing, Commonfloor
One of the key success stories of Pakistan’s VC funding scenario, Zameen is an online real estate portal like the Indian counterpart, Magicbricks or Commonfloor. The company was established in 2006 and has remained the primary destination for buying, selling, renting and investment in real estate. The company has raised over USD 29 million in four investments rounds- latest being USD 20 million in Jan 2016. This is a fraction of the USD 152 million raised by Housing.com that was founded in 2012.
7. CartPK – Online grocery delivery
Pakistan’s answer to India’s BigBasket/Grofers
If online grocery delivery was the startup Du Jour in India, a culturally similar Pakistan isn’t far behind. CartPK is an online grocery ordering and delivery platform that helps in delivery of groceries. As against its Indian counterpart- Grofers, which is valued at USD 400 million, CartPK is yet to start its funding journey.
8. Inov8 – Mobile payments solution
Pakistan’s answer to India’s PayTM/MobiKwik
Invo8 Limited is an online mobile payment solutions company in Pakistan that was launched with the aim of bringing digital and mobile payment solutions to the country. The company has secured USD 5.4 million at a valuation of $100M.
9. Sehat – Online medicine delivery
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Practo/NetMeds
Sehat is a pharmaceutical e-commerce site which offers a wide variety of medicines at affordable prices and delivery time of 24-72 hrs. The startup is based in Lahore and was founded in 2015.
10. Kamata Pakistan – Online portal for blue-collar jobs
Pakistan’s answer to India’s Babajobs
A job portal for blue- collared workers, Kamata Pakistan was launched in 2013 with a seed funding of USD 60,000 from friends, family and local investors. On the other hand, one of India’s leading portals in the same segment- Babajobs, founded in 2007, raised USD 10 million as Series-B funding last year.
11. BookMe – Online events listing and booking platform
Pakistan’s answer to India’s BookMyShow/ Insider
Bookme is an e-commerce platform for booking cinema tickets, event tickets, bus tickets and hotels. The company was established in 2014 and secured an undisclosed amount of seed investment in June 2015 at a valuation of USD 4 million. BookMe’s Indian counterpart BookMyShow was valued at USD 166 million after its last round of funding in 2014.
12. Sukoon – Online local services aggregator
Pakistan’s answer to many of India’s local services app like UrbanClap, Quickr, Bro4u, Dunzo
Sukoon is an on-demand marketplace for skilled laborers like carpenters, plumbers, electricians etc. Launched in 2015, the startup raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in 2016. The home services industry in India- in which Sukoon operates, already has 69 startups that were founded in 2014 alone.
(Funding details H/t- Dealhopp. Featured image: GettyImages)