Startups in Pakistan raised $350 million in funding in 2021, a tiny amount when compared to the Indian startup ecosystem but five times the amount they raised in 2020, according to Google.
The tech giant said that it will nurture this next wave of tech startup founders with the ‘Google for Startups Accelerator’ (South East Asia and Pakistan), particularly those that are focused on e-commerce, finance, healthcare, SME-focused B2B solutions, education, agriculture and logistics.
“We’re looking for 10 to 15 startups based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam, that are in the seed or Series A stage,” Google said in a statement late on Friday.
The accelerator will support these startups by providing Google mentors, a network of new contacts to help them on their journeys, and the most cutting edge technology.
Interested startups are encouraged to apply by October 7.
Pakistan has more than 3,700 startups, like DealCart, Dbank, Tag, Bazaar, and Jugnu, among others.
In the past few years, startups throughout Southeast Asia and Pakistan have been steadily growing and taking on the regions’ most pressing challenges.
From agriculture to healthcare, these startups are building digital solutions to tackle their area of focus.
In South East Asia alone, 80 million new users have come online since March 2020, boosting activity for startups developing digital products and services across a variety of industries.
“We’ve seen that growth as venture funding reached new heights in both Southeast Asia and Pakistan,” Google said.
One explanation for this acceleration is that Pakistan and Southeast Asia both have a thriving youth population.
More than half of the population of Southeast Asia is under 30 years old. In Pakistan too, the median age is only 22.
“These young people tend to be tech-savvy, have an interest in entrepreneurship, and are more in tune with global trends,” said the company.
Government-driven initiatives like Thailand 4.0, Indonesia’s 1,000 startups, Singapore’s Startup SG Founders, as well as Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, will continue to help aspiring founders get their startups off the ground.