Fund is currently 40% committed, says co-founder Ahsan Jamil Pakistan will see its first venture capital fund denominated in local currency with Sai Venture Capital Pvt, a Lahore-based company, launching one to target the country’s tech sector and other startups, reported Bloomberg on Friday. The Lahore-based company seeks $10 million from mainly local investors, co-founder Ahsan Jamil was quoted as saying by Bloomberg . The co-founder informed that the upcoming fund is currently 40% committed and has received approvals from Pakistan’s securities regulator – the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan – in October. An ecosystem doesn’t “develop until you have local smart capital,” Jamil was quoted further by Bloomberg . The CEO of Sai Venture Capital believed that the participation of local investors is essential in wake of waning interest from foreign funders. The development comes at a time when funding in Pakistan’s startup scene has dried up owing to high-interest rates and uncertainty due to the global economic outlook. Bloomberg , citing data from Invest2Innovate, revealed that Pakistani startups raised over $700 million since 2021, with a major chunk coming from international investors. However, that momentum has since been lost. “Its currency has gone through one of its most turbulent times and dropped by more than 40% over the same period, forcing startups to chase ‘crazy’ growth to achieve returns in US dollar terms,” Jamil said. “In one instance, a startup had to grow 100% to keep foreign investors at breakeven,” he said. As per the Bloomberg report, Sai has made investments in companies that offer services to enterprises in developed markets as well as startups that focus on health, agriculture and education. As per crunchbase, Sai Ventures made its most recent investment on September 19, 2023, when Truckistan, a logistics platform, raised $1 million. Pakistan’s startup ecosystem The progress of Pakistan’s startup landscape, which rejoiced at a record-breaking 2021, has slowly been pushed away from headlines as fundraising dropped and replaced with news of shutdowns and cut-back in operations. During the April-June 2023 quarter, Pakistan startups attracted a meagre $5.2 million, a year-on-year decline of 95%. The amount is also 77.5% lower on a quarterly basis, indicating the massive volatility in Pakistan’s ability to attract investors. However, in a recent interview, Pakistan’s caretaker IT minister Dr Umar Saif vowed to help the country attract funding with the launch of the ‘Pakistan Startup Fund’.

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