Six months ago, I made the case for Why Pakistani Startups are The Next Big Thing. Since then, we have launched Indus Valley Capital to invest in early-stage Pakistani startups going after large high-growth opportunities in Pakistan, with potential to expand to the MENA market.

We believe that the first wave of these big opportunities is going to be startups building the digital infrastructure that brings large swaths of Pakistan's consumer spend online. Pakistan has 80M+ mobile broadband subscribers but less than 1% of the $250B+ consumer spend was online in 2019. This had started changing already but Covid-19 is creating a massive shift to online with several startups seeing a 3-4x increase in online revenue in the last two months. This will continue to grow fast.

There are several verticals which will exceed $10B+ annual consumer spend by 2025: Food ($160B), Clothing & Footwear ($40B), Transport ($23B), Education ($15B), Healthcare ($13B). Startups building the infrastructure enabling the transition of these verticals from offline to online will win large shares of the economy, becoming $1B+ companies.

Here are some ideas that Indus Valley Capital is most interested in backing:

  1. [EdTech] Top learning app for grade 1-12 that provides supplemental courses, exam prep and a tutor marketplace. Similar startups in other markets: i) Byju (India) valued at $8B, investors include Tiger Global, General Atlantic. ii) Ruangguru (Indonesia) raised $150M+, investors include General Atalntic. GGV
  2. [B2B Marketplace] B2B e-commerce marketplace for retailers to easily buy inventory and get it delivered. already invested. Similar startups in other markets: i) Udaan (India) $2.8B valuation, investors include Lightspeed, DST Global, Tencent ii) Rulali (Indonesia) raised $22M. iii) Sokowatch (Kenya) raised $18M. ✅ We just led seed round of a startup doing this, with some stellar co-investors.
  3. [HealthTech] Leverage tele-medicine to offer low-cost healthcare, potentially as a subscription Similar startups in other markets: i) HaloDoc (Indonesia) raised $65M. ii) Practo (India) raised $250M+
  4. [Transportation] World’s first decentralized mass transit system, one that is run by local transporters for local populations. Similar startups in other markets: i) Swvl (Egypt) raised $80M+. ii) Shuttl (India) raised $120M+ Sequoia, Lightspeed, Amazon. ✅ We already invested in Airlift and led their seed round. They raised a $12M series A by First Round Capital and Village Global.
  5. [FinTech] Payments layer powering online transactions and eventually covering offline Similar startups in other markets: i) KinerjaPay (Indonesia) raised $200M+. ii) PayTM (India) valued at $16B.
  6. [E-commerce] E-commerce marketplace making it easy for individuals and businesses to sell to consumers Similar startups in other markets: i) Tokopedia (Indonesia) raised $2.4B+
  7. [Logistics] Freight marketplace that makes trucking reliable & cost effective for businesses Similar startups in other markets: i) BlackBuck (India) raised $285M+, investors include Sequoia, Accel. ii) Rivigo (India) raised $250M+

We'd love to hear from you if you are working on one of the above ideas that we haven't yet invested in. We partner early with founders just after they've hit product-market fit and help them with quick capital, our product & growth expertise and our extensive investor network. You can email me at my first name AT indus DOT vc.