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KARACHI: Pakistani startup BeautyHooked, accelerated at the Punjab IT Board's (PITB) PlanX, secured $280,000 in a round of seed funding led by Fatima Ventures, PlanX said Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer Sahr Said said the funding could bring opportunities to scale the company fast and disrupt the beauty industry.

"We plan on rolling out nationally and are in late-stage talks with various international players to franchise our technology and brand to other countries," she said.

BeautyHooked, headed by Cornell graduate Said, Chief Technical Officer Abdullah Ahmed and Head of Operations Sidra Talha, is a free beauty directory that allows customers to find salons in their city, browse services and make salon bookings around the clock for free.

Many listed salons also offer discounts and service bundles. The website also offers content centred around current trends in beauty and fashion, as well as reviews of featured products and salons.

The venture has been accelerated at PlanX, an initiative by the PITB to support to mid-stage start-ups after product development.

"It’s very encouraging to see female entrepreneurs doing so well in Pakistan and goes to show that the potential is here, we just need to capitalise on it," said PITB Chairman Dr Umar Saif.

PlanX Director Hafsa Shorish said, "This is what we want to see more of in our accelerator and I hope this will have a ripple effect in our eco-system."

Fatima Ventures CEO Ali Mukhtar is of the opinion that the BeautyHooked team is well-positioned to venture into future avenues of beauty services.

Over the past year, BeautyHooked has been involved in competitions like Startup Weekend Lahore 2015 and incubated at the LUMS Centre of Entrepreneurship. It was also one of eight Pakistani startups invited by Google Singapore to explore expansion opportunities in Asia.

Recently, the company has closed a deal to expand the brand and technology to Qatar, details of which remain undisclosed.