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Pakistani Innovators

Jinnah's Ideals

“My young friends, you must now fully realize the vital change. The fundamental change that has taken place. You are not now merely to confine yourselves to becoming Government servants which was the avenue to which most of you aspired. You must now realize that fresh fields, new channels, and avenues are now being thrown open to you where you have unlimited opportunities, namely, you must now direct your attention to science, commercial banking, insurance, industry and technical education.

- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam

- Speech:  Responsibilities of the youth

- Context: Speech in reply to the address presented by the Students of Islamia College, Peshawar

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Deeper reflections

While this may be obvious, it needs to be articulated that a vital change has occurred in the global economy where digital technologies are disrupting traditional industries. “Factors of production” in the digital world can be owned by anyone as owning a laptop does not require vast sums of capital. This means the vast middle class is empowered through the internet to ideate, build, disrupt, scale and generate massive economic impact. 

 

The aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs in the country have at their disposal: 

  • Large market size of ~200MM people

  • Majority of the population comprises young millennials and zoomers with real consumer spending power

  • 104MM broadband subscribers

  • Active smartphone user base, 51% of population uses smartphones 

  • Growing tech talent, +300k software developers

  • Emerging tech ecosystem with 700 startups since 2010

Read more on Why Pakistani Startups are the Next Big Thing

We are at an inflection point as local startups pulled-in record VC dollars in 2021 YTD, resulting in 81% growth vs. LY. 

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Building the rails of commerce across Asia and Africa. Airlift offers 30-minute delivery of all household essentials. By operating a complex network of dark stores and mid-fulfillment centers, our platform brings efficiency and convenience to the traditional retail space.

Total funding amount: $85MM

Provide integrated pharmacy services with Convenience and Quality. Dawaai is reinventing the concept of retail pharmacy by delivering medicines to patients’ door-step as quickly as possible.

Total funding amount: $10.5MM

Bazaar’s suite of digital products empower merchants to simplify and grow their businesses.

Total funding amount: $37.8MM

Helps Pakistan’s largest shippers move thousands of loads each week on the country’s leading freight marketplace.

Total funding amount: $10MM

Empowering mom-and-pop stores to grow their business via B2B marketplace.

Total funding amount: $19MM

Maqsad is an education technology platform that’s on a mission to make high quality education accessible to 100 million students

Total funding amount: $2.1MM

There’s a growing list of +100 VCs who have invested in Pakistan and we’re observing this list to grow each quarter which is very encouraging, as we need the catalyst of capital to boost growth.  

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Pakistani innovators should execute on the potential of their people by building startups that advance human capital development. A strong focus on health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and a more progressive worldview will foster a greater sense of equality in the country and set it up for long-term success. We will open up the aperture to more innovation from more people, regardless of who they are to functionally maximize the amount of innovation that is possible. 

 

The local entrepreneurs should also focus on ideas that are endemically Pakistani and solve problems for the specific context of Pakistan. Economic progress lies with the entrepreneurs of the country, as we’ve observed that young tech companies in the US have much higher GMV than the recent $6Bn loan from the IMF to the Pakistani government. 

 

It is time to build. 

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If you are an aspiring entrepreneur in Pakistan, here are some interesting videos to watch to get the juices flowing. 

Some interesting essays by Paul Graham and insightful blog articles from Reforge

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Youth are the future. Mr. Jinnah explains how the youth must fully equip themselves with discipline, education and training.

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