Fatima Gobi Ventures delays final close of $20m Pakistani fund to early 2021

Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: Pixabay

Fatima Gobi Ventures, a joint venture between Pakistani venture firm Fatima Ventures and Shanghai-based Gobi Partners, has delayed the final close of its $20 million Pakistan-focused fund to early 2021.

DealStreetAsia had reported a year ago that the fund had planned to fully close by end-November 2019.

According to a statement by Fatima Gobi Ventures, Techxila Fund I has secured over 70 per cent of its target corpus to hit its first close, and is “on track to complete the final close by early next year”.

It also added that its limited partners (LPs) include entrepreneurs from various sectors including agriculture, banking, energy, and textiles. Asif Keshodia, the former MENA regional finance director at Amazon and group chief financial officer at Souq.com is also an LP of the fund.

Fatima Gobi Ventures CEO Ali Mukhtar had also shared in 2019 that the fund’s other LPs include Fatima Group, a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in fertilizer, textile, sugar, trading, mining and energy, as well as development finance institutions and corporates from Pakistan and the Middle East.

Techxila Fund I has been actively deploying in Pakistani startups in 2020.

To date, it has invested in five startups: the Y Combinator B2B marketplace startup Tajir; Y Combinator fintech and online payment gateway Safepay; Draper University-backed deep tech SaaS startup InventHub; First Round Capital-backed logistics firm Airlift; and Pakistani online ticket platform Sastaticket.

Techxila Fund I plans to invest in another 10-15 companies over the next years, writing cheques into promising seed and Series A startups in Pakistan. It looks to deploy $100,000-200,000 for its first cheque, with room to deploy up to $2 million.

The Pakistan-focused vehicle also seeks businesses addressing local pain points, across sectors such as travel, logistics, fintech, healthcare, education, e-commerce, consumer tech, industrial internet and TaqwaTech or tech-focused on the Islamic sector.

Pakistan is one of South Asia’s youngest and most under-capitalised venture markets, having raised just $18.8 million in venture funding in 2019 with most of it at the pre-seed and seed stages, according to the i2i Pakistan Startup Ecosystem Report 2019.

Pakistan, however, has seen an increase in the number of local VCs in the last year, including the likes of Indus Valley Capital, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures. The South Asian market boasts a sizeable population of over 200 million people, of whom 75 million and growing are internet users.

The emerging venture market has also begun to draw interest from foreign investors.

In October this year, Pakistani ride-hailing firm Bykea raised a $13 million Series B round led by Prosus Ventures, making it the firm’s first investment in Pakistan. Pakistani logistics firm Airlift also closed a $12 million Series B round led by US-based VC firm First Round Capital in November 2019.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.