The Caretaker IT Minister, Dr. Umar Saif, Launches Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF) to Boost Venture Investment
Dr. Umar Saif, the Caretaker IT Minister, officially introduced the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF) in a ceremony attended by local and international venture capitalists, diplomats, and leading tech companies. With a total fund of Rs. 2 billion, the PSF aims to expedite venture investment in Pakistan, playing a pivotal role in the country’s economic development.
Secretary IT Hasan Nasir Jami and Ignite CEO Asim Shehryar joined Dr. Umar Saif at the inauguration ceremony. The minister highlighted that the PSF’s primary objective is to accelerate venture investment by providing substantial financial support to startups. Each venture supported by the PSF will receive 30 percent backing from the fund, with the remaining 70 percent coming from venture capitalists.
Dr. Umar Saif expressed the government’s commitment to facilitating and enhancing the growth of innovative ventures in Pakistan through the PSF. Beyond financial support, the initiative aims to create a favorable environment for startups to flourish. The IT Ministry is actively working on providing facilities and support for IT startups as part of its broader strategy to strengthen the local tech ecosystem.
Notably, Pakistani startups have attracted around $800 million in foreign investments over the past four years, showcasing growing global interest in the country’s entrepreneurial landscape. In a tweet, the Caretaker Minister clarified that for a $1 million investment evaluation by a foreign venture capitalist, the VC only needs to invest $700,000, with the PSF contributing a grant of $300,000 to help close the funding round. Importantly, the government won’t take any equity, shares, or board positions in the startup, highlighting the PSF’s role in reducing the risk for international investors and supporting the success of Pakistani startups.
During the launch ceremony, the Caretaker IT Minister stated that the PSF aims to generate a yearly value of at least Rs. 50 billion in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. He revealed that 8 National Incubation Centers across the country are actively supporting more than 4,000 startups.
The government is dedicated to assisting startups in securing funding, with an annual allocation of Rs. 2 billion specifically earmarked to help startups raise a substantial Rs. 50 billion. The minister emphasized the significance of this fund in providing financial support to startups,
expressing the government’s dedication to fostering a conducive environment for the growth of innovative ventures in Pakistan. Scheduled to provide financial assistance to startups from March 1, the PSF will offer policy guidelines for venture funds, ensure investment protection for foreign investors, and enable significant corporations to invest in Pakistani startups. This strategic initiative is poised to have a positive impact on the startup ecosystem in the country, encouraging innovation, growth, and investment in the entrepreneurial landscape.