While the Indian Startup industry looks at the West (Silicon Valley) for inspiration, it seems the Pakistani Startup industry is doing the same, but for them India is their Silicon Valley. In terms of numbers and innovation, the Indian Startup Industry is way ahead of its Pakistani counterpart and acquires the third position globally in terms of numbers of startups, just behind the United States and United Kingdom.

Humayun Mazhar, a Pakistan based angel investor and the Vice President of TiE's Lahore chapter, recently visited India with an agenda of getting insights about the Indian startup ecosystem and its working, by interacting with a few Indian startup investors and entrepreneurs.

According to Mazhar, the Indian startup industry, which he describes as the "Silicon Valley for Pakistani startups," can prove to be a great inspiration for the Pakistani startup industry, which is still in its nascent stages.

The Indian Startup industry has had quite an adventurous journey over the years with a number of highs and lows, and finally acquiring the world number three position. This can prove to be a great case study for the Pakistani Startup industry.

Mazhar is a much famous personality in the Pakistani Startup Indian and has even launched his own venture fund CresVentures in October last year. So far, his company has invested in a total of 3 Pakistani startups. CresVentures most recent investment was Travly, an auto-hailing tech startup based in Pakistan. Travly is based on similar lines as the much popular Indian Startup Jugnoo.

The primary objective of Mazhar's Indian visit was to establish a network with several Indian angel investors, and to also meet some innovative, inspiring entrepreneurs on the way. Travel Khana's Pushpinder Singh was one of the entrepreneurs that Mazhar was able to interact with during this visit. Mazhar has been to India several times in the past and has had an interaction with a number of startups, entrepreneurs back then also.

While Pakistani startup ecosystem can surely look up to the Indian startup Indian for inspiration, it needs to make sure that its entrepreneurs don't end up copying its ideas blindly. One needs to understand that there are a number of cultural, technological differences between the countries, that's why there is a strong chance that what might be working well in India, might not even catch the interest of Pakistani people at all.

Easy Taxi, a Pakistani Startup modelled around Ola Cabs, is a perfect example of this. While Ola Cabs is doing phenomenally well in India, Easy Taxi couldn't extract the same excitement from the Pakistani citizens and closed down its operations in the country last year. There were two broad reasons for Easy Taxi's failure; the first one being, that Pakistani people were still very uncomfortable about hailing a cab, and secondly, the country didn't even have the 3G technology back then, which made accessing the app a task in itself.

One of the main reasons why the Pakistani Startup industry is currently trailing behind its Indian counterpart is the slow technological advancement in the country.

According to a statement given by Adam Ghaznavi, a Serial Pakistani entrepreneur to a national economic daily, "We are culturally behind the startup industry in India when it comes to technology and marketing. I feel we are still 3-5 years away from a synergistic startup eco system."

While experts predict that the Pakistani startup industry is currently almost two years behind the Indian startup industry, the scene is for sure going to change in a couple of years. The Pakistani startup industry has been witnessing a lot of action in the last couple of years with the coming of a number of incubators as well as sizeable foreign investments.


Amna Sheikh said…
Yes, I think India has done a great job in startups and yes many Pakistani startup idealize the work happening there. Pakistan startup culture is growing finally and I am sure Pakistan be able to give good competition to India pretty soon.
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