When it comes to startups in Pakistan, most of us may have heard of services like FindMyAdventure, Patari or Sukoon. While these startups may have made a name for themselves in a short time, the thriving startup landscape in Pakistan has many more surprises waiting.
Plenty of the local startups may not have the means to put their name out there as yet, but certainly have the potential to hit it big with users, simply because they bring much needed convenience in various areas of everyday life.
Here's a list of some services that stand out from the crowd.
AutoX is not the only car repair service in Pakistan, but there is more to it than just being that. In fact, car repair is just one of the services offered by AutoX. This online store is a one-stop shop for all your automobile needs.
Whether you want to buy some accessories for your bike, want to give your jeep a customised look, or are looking for a spare part that just isn’t available in the local market, AutoX has you covered.
To make the whole experience extra convenient for users, the service lets you create an account on the site. With an account, the site retains all the relevant information about your car and purchase history.
Registered users can also set up monthly or bimonthly car checkups, maintenance trips, and accessory upgrades without much hassle. Another point of convenience is AutoX’s ability to let users order stuff through WhatsApp.
For the parts purchased from its website, AutoX offers installation at your doorstep and at the time of your choice. If the item you have ordered is worth more than Rs.1,000, you even get free shipping.
The “Sales” section on AutoX can also help you save some bucks, as it usually has some pretty decent discount deals on offer.
A lot of Pakistani startups are trying to bring some “value-added” services to the masses, but Marham’s aim is to make sure access to health care becomes easier than it has ever been. Led by Ehsan Imam, Marham has a forum where you can ask medical questions from qualified doctors.
The primary feature is finding doctors near you with the right expertise that your condition warrants. Even though the startup is based in Lahore, it serves patients in all major cities of the country. This is why the site greets all visitors with a request to select a location. For each location listed on the site, you can book an appointment with a qualified doctor.
As is the case with almost all major online services these days, Marham relies on feedback from past users to help improve the process. This also adds an element of accountability to the mix, as the patients are asked to rate their experience after their visit and point out any minor or serious problems.
Culturally, not a lot of Pakistanis think about what doctor to choose and there certainly isn’t a lot of objective reasoning behind selecting a physician. Marham aims to change all that with its growing online presence.
The idea is to let you run errands without actually having to step out of your house. Rather than limiting itself to delivering packages, postage or groceries, Couch Potato allows its smartphone-wielding users to send anything from one point to another at an affordable price.
Although not specialised in that niche, Couch Potato doubles as a food delivery service, which can be used to order food from any restaurant you want even if it is far away from your current location.
The service appears to have its security clearance and safety measures firmly in place, which should put a lot of prudent users at ease when choosing it as a medium to send important documents or valuables.
Most other services take security and privacy seriously, but Couch Potato puts some extra focus on this aspect of delivery, making it a reliable choice in many cases.
So, with Couch Potato you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store, or to a friend’s house to hand over your class notes a night before exams.
As long as the item you are getting delivered can fit on a bike, you can send or receive it for a reasonable price of Rs0 per kilometre, with a minimum charge of Rs100.
You can try all you want to find out the exact price of your favourite new smartphone, but an international price comparison website probably won’t be in tune with Pakistan’s local market.
So, you can either go the old-fashioned way of touring the market and hoping you get a reasonable price, or you can give PriceOye! a try.
PriceOye! is designed to show consumers the actual price of smartphones available in Pakistan by monitoring several sources. Whether you are looking for advice on when the best time to switch to a new iPhone is, or just want to know the best available devices in your price range, browsing the service is a good idea.
The site is a good place to read detailed reviews of phones and tablets. Thanks to the uniform format employed by the site, you can easily pit two or more devices against each other and decide which one suits your needs better.
Each device’s specific page also has links to Pakistan’s leading online stores, where you can purchase the phone easily. You can also quickly see all phones offered by a brand on their dedicated brand page.
Since the site’s launch in 2015, it has grown steadily in popularity. Though the focus is on smartphone prices, the website’s blog posts are sure to add to your knowledge about Pakistan’s smartphone market.
DealSmash is an app-based service, with an experienced team behind it. The app offers discounts and deal alerts, based on the user’s preferences, location, shopping history, and a variety of other factors.
For the tech-savvy, there are some other options available in this market but DealSmash has a feed and alerts system that is updated with pleasant frequency.
The advantage DealSmash has over its competitors is that the service has a lot of companies partnered up.
Rather than scouring the web or store catalogues for discount deals, the service gets its deal alerts straight from the source.
Another way DealSmash rewards its users is through coupons. The more deals you utilise from the app, the more discounts you start getting.
The app doesn’t limit itself to online sales and deals. You can show the app’s coupons at different shops and outlets to avail discounts while shopping at your favourite brand.
With DealSmash, you can just find the best prices for items you are looking to buy, or see what’s on sale in general.
The app keeps its users engaged with alerts tailored to your personal taste and preferences. The overall experience is convenient for users and certainly a shopaholic’s ultimate dream.
Although EasyTickets seems to be focused mainly on letting you buy cinema tickets, this startup is also helping people keep an eye on all the happenings in their city including concerts, festivals, and trips to interesting places.
If you want to get the best deals on movie tickets, or are looking to read reviews from fellow moviegoers, EasyTickets can help.
One can’t help but feel though that the service is only going to get better with time, as it expands into niches other than Movies, Entertainment, and Events by partnering up with different organisations and event planners.
This service has a big advantage over some of the other booking services because you can use it from its website, or the official app available for iPhone and Android.
This is one of the main reasons EasyTickets has remained relevant in a market where online ticketing is becoming increasingly common, especially in major cinema chains.
At present, EasyTickets is a partner of more than 100 cinema screens and caters to 4 cities and currently offers three payment options. You can use your debit or credit card of course, but online funds transfer and Omnicash are among the other available options.
Like Marham, Dawaai.pk is a startup dealing with medicine and healthcare. Although the core idea is to deliver medicines to people at their doorstep in a short time span, the service prides itself on striving to provide authentic medicine to its customers.
In our country, finding genuine medicine can be a real challenge. There has always been a stigma attached to poor storage and distribution of pharmaceutical drugs, counterfeit drug markets and sellers, which makes having a source of medicines that you can really trust very important.
Other than medicines, the service is also useful for items like pure, imported honey, fitness accessories, and medical equipment.
A relatively small, but very useful part of the website is its Personal Care section. Whether you are looking for a shampoo that is hard to find, or want something to brighten your teeth, this section can help.
Dawaai.pk delivers medicines in Karachi within 48 hours (though actual delivery times are usually far less than that) and within 4 to 8 working days in all other cities. If you take the online payment option, there is a 15% discount waiting for you.
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The writer is an IT project manager and a passionate writer.