Islamabad (Adnan Hameed): Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr. Umar Saif has launched the first-ever “Pakistan Startup Fund”.

The launch ceremony of the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF). The Pakistan Startup Fund aims to catalyse venture investments in Pakistan and position Pakistani startups as significant players on the global stage. Ignite National Technology Fund will take charge as the executing body, ensuring transparency through an independent steering body overseeing its operations.

While addressing the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Umar Saif said that the government will allocate up to Rs. 2 billion to the Pakistan Startup Fund every year. “The Fund is structured as equity-free capital to help close a VC round for a startup,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Startup Fund is designed to help a startup raise its first external investment.

Dr Umar Saif said that if there is a startup in Pakistan and a foreign venture capitalist (VC) is evaluating the startup for a $ 1 million investment, the VC only needs to invest $ 700,000 the Pakistan Startup Fund will give a grant of $300,000 to help close the round, he maintained.

He went on to say that PSF is designed to lower the risk for international investors investing in Pakistani startups. “With PSF we hope to create a value of at least Rs. He said 50 billion per year in the startup ecosystem in Pakistan”

Dr. Umar Saif said the Fund represents a transformative initiative in the realm of entrepreneurship and technological innovation. By focusing on the burgeoning potential within the country’s startup ecosystem, the Pakistan Startup Fund will accelerate economic growth and innovation. The Fund will underwrite the risk to Venture Capitalists by providing equity-free grants to startups as the last cheque in an investment round. It will not only provide financial support by also fostering an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship vital for the success and scalability of startups. He said the event presented a unique opportunity for venture capitalists to delve deeper into the Pakistan Startup Fund. Dr. Umar Saif noted that the Pakistan Startup Fund will pave the way for exciting collaborations and open doors to a more innovative and prosperous future.

Dr. Umar Saif said that the Pakistan Startup Fund will connect innovative startups, venture capitalists, and investors. He said that the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication will continue supporting technological innovation and entrepreneurship. About 800 million dollars were invested in Pakistani startups in the last four years, he noted.

He said the network of eight National Incubation Centers (NICs) is supporting startups across the country, and over 4,000 startups are indicative of a vibrant entrepreneurial landscape.

The ceremony was attended by local and international venture capitalists, investors, ambassadors, heads of known tech companies, and senior officers of the Ministry of IT & Telecom and its attached departments.

Secretary IT Mr. Hasan Nasir Jamy attended the event, Additional Secretary Ms. Ayesha Humira Chaudhry, Member IT Syed Junaid Imam, officials of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), diplomats, Mr. Rabeel Warraich of Sarmayacar, Mr. Shehryar Hyderi – Endeavour, Mr. Faisal Aftab – Zayn VC, Mr. Adeel Shahid – Arzan Capital, Mr. Ahsan Jamil – Sai Ventures, Mr. William Bao Bean – Orbit Startups, Mr. Johanna Kruger – Aurem Wealth Solution, Ms. Romanna Dada – PwC Ventures, Mr. Marcel Dridje – Sophia Business Angels, Mr. Ismail Khaleel – PlugnPlay and Mr. Michael Gale – The Entrepreneurs Group Limited, and prominent personalities from IT & Telecom sector.

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