BENGALURU: Pakistani angel investor and VP of TiE’s Lahore chapter, Humayun Mazhar, visited India last week to interact with Indian investors and entrepreneurs to understand the startup ecosystem here, which he calls the “Silicon Valley for Pakistani startups”.
As the startup scene in Pakistan picks pace, entrepreneurs and investors there are looking to India for inspiration and to learn from the highs and lows of the Indian startup world. “This visit was primarily to network with Indian angel investors, and I also met some entrepreneurs, such as Pushpinder Singh of Travel Khana in Delhi. I have met several startups in India during my previous visits as well. The idea is to get a better understanding of the ecosystem of angels and startups in India,” said Mazhar, who launched his venture fund CresVentures in October 2015 and has invested in 3 startups in Pakistan. Earlier this month, he funded auto-hailing tech startup Travly in Pakistan, which he says is similar to India’s Jugnoo.
Singh, who heads Travelkhana-.com, a meal-booking platform for rail passengers, said the problems that need to be addressed seem similar in both countries. “We discussed how there could be a similar startup in Pakistan on the lines of Travelkhana. Mazhar asked me to visit Pakistan and help in building something like that there,” Singh said. Serial Pakistani entrepreneur Adam Ghaznavi says he drew lessons from Ola Cabs when he led Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi Pakistan chapter after its entry in 2012. “When I told an acquaintance in Pakistan about my Indian friend’s startup to book appointments for doctors, he liked the idea and is starting something similar on his own. There are already several other clones of Indian startups here,” said Ghaznavi.
However, he warns Pakistani entrepreneurs against blindly copying Indian startups.
by Shabbir Evershine