IFC to invest $2.5m in Sarmayacar to 'boost entrepreneurship' in Pakistan

Published July 31, 2019
The investment is meant to boost tech-based startups in Pakistan. —AFP/File
The investment is meant to boost tech-based startups in Pakistan. —AFP/File

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organisation of the World Bank, will be investing $2.5 million in Sarmayacar — a venture capital firm for tech startups — in order to "boost entrepreneurship and spur economic growth" in Pakistan, a press statement said.

"The early stage of local venture capital ecosystems is often the most crucial building block for sustaining healthy entrepreneurship and innovation, which helps to drive economic growth and create quality jobs,” Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan was quoted as saying.

"Our aim is to support these entrepreneurs by helping to bridge issues around insufficient seed capital and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan."

According to the press release, $2m of the total IFC fund are equity commitments from Startup Catalyst, the body's global programme to support seed funds and accelerators — that include investments, mentorship, connections etc — in emerging markets.

The remaining $500,000 is from the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi), that provides support to women entrepreneurs in developing countries by building their capacity, providing them access to financial services as well as domestic and global markets. We-Fi, which is hosted by the World Bank Group, is a partnership between governments, development banks and stakeholders, both public and private.

The investment by IFC will boost the "country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem" by increasing market competition and will also encourage entrepreneurs to expand into new markets, the press release said.

Sarmayacar's founder Rabeel Warraich lauded the step and said: "This marks the first such investment from the World Bank Group in Pakistan and will enable us to back more startups in the country, while also providing access to a global network, new markets and domain expertise to our portfolio companies."

"Pakistan offers a unique opportunity with its improving stability; large, young population; rising middle class; fast-growing internet and smartphone penetration; and a dearth of venture capital in the ecosystem. Our goal at Sarmayacar is to provide value-add early-stage funding to entrepreneurs who are building scalable, market-transforming consumer and enterprise technology businesses in Pakistan," he was quoted as saying.

Sarmayacar is a Netherlands-based venture capital firm that invests in budding tech-based startups with the aim to help build "scalable, market-transforming enterprise and consumer technology businesses in Pakistan", according to its website. The company's clients include local startups like Bykea, Dot & Line and Patari, among others.

Opinion

Poisoning minds
23 Jan 2021

Poisoning minds

ICS cadets were raised on James Mill’s notorious work.
The fog of Broadsheet
23 Jan 2021

The fog of Broadsheet

How can the government pump credibility into an official probe when it has already declared its own political verdict?
Cheating on online exams
23 Jan 2021

Cheating on online exams

The difficulty of preventing online cheating and low ethical standards means that these days most students cheat.
Language mess
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Language mess

Our policy confuses the medium-of-instruction debate with the language-acquisition debate.

Editorial

23 Jan 2021

Power price hike

ALREADY struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising food prices, consumers received yet...
Updated 23 Jan 2021

Israeli land grab

WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — ...
23 Jan 2021

New PhD policy

EARLIER in the week, the HEC chairman announced several changes for undergraduate and PhD degrees in the country....
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...