SILICON VALLEY and PAKISTAN
Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world with a population of 220 million, around 50% of the population speaks English making it the world’s 3rd largest english speaking country. With over 100 million people having access to high speed internet, Pakistan has more internet users than the population of all Nordic countries combined.
According to Bloomberg, Pakistan is the world’s fastest growing retail market in fact Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said “Pakistan is one of Uber’s fastest growing markets” after Uber’s $3.1 billion acquisition of Careem, a ride hailing unicorn founded by a Pakistani entrepreneur.
Careem is not the only one, Pakistan has produced the minds behind some of the world’s leading tech companies including Afiniti ($1.6 billion AI startup), KeepTruckin ($1.25 billion startup), FireEye (world’s leading cybersecurity company), Cavium (sold for $6 billion) and many others.
Istanbul, Turkey – 25-26 Oct 2021
SIlicon Valley, USA – 15 Feb 2020
OSLO, NORWAY – 25 SEP 2019
Generalities on Pakistan Tech
Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, has been slow to adapt to the internet economy. Unlike other emerging economies such as China, India and Indonesia, which have embraced digitization and technology, Pakistan has trailed the region in the adoption of technology and startup formation.
Despite this, investors have dreamed for years of the huge opportunities in unlocking Pakistan’s potential as a digital economy. As a country of 220 million people, almost two-thirds of whom are under the age of 30, Pakistan draws natural comparisons to Indonesia — which has rapidly emerged as one of the most vibrant technology ecosystems outside the U.S. and China.
In 2021, Pakistani startups are on track to raise more money than the previous five years combined.
After years of lagging behind, over the course of the past 18 months, Pakistan’s technology ecosystem has come to life in unprecedented fashion. In 2021, Pakistani startups are on track to raise more money than the previous five years combined. Even more excitingly, a large portion of this capital is coming from international investors from across Asia, the Middle East and even famed investors from Silicon Valley.
The rapid emergence of Pakistan’s technology ecosystem on the international stage has been no accident — it’s the result of a confluence of changing facts on the ground and shifting dynamics in the startup and investing world as a result of the pandemic.
Unlocking Pakistan’s potential
The sudden emergence of Pakistan’s tech ecosystem on the international stage has been driven by three major factors: an improving security situation, quickly growing mobile connectivity, and critical legal changes and deregulation.