Gobi Partners, Fatima Ventures launch $20m Pakistan-focused fund

Gobi Partners co-founder and managing partner Thomas Tsao at DEALSTREETASIA's Asia PE-VC Summit 2016 in Singapore.

Gobi Partners has launched a $20-million fund with Fatima Ventures to invest in early-stage tech opportunities in Pakistan.

Fatima Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Fatima Group, a Pakistani conglomerate with businesses in fertilizer, textile, sugar, trading, mining and energy sectors. The Pakistani CVC has invested in five local startups and has partnered with Lahore University of Management Sciences to set up a tech incubation centre in Lahore.

According to a statement, the new fund will target seed to Series A businesses in travel, fintech, healthcare, education, e-commerce, consumer tech, industrial internet and Taqwatech, or technology that serves Muslim consumers, businesses and communities.

Speaking on the launch of the Fund, Gobi’s Managing Director Jamaludin Bujang said: “(Pakistan) is a nation that has all of the right ingredients to be one of the fastest-growing digital markets – it has a sizeable and young population, as well as a growing middle class, not to mention high Internet penetration, with about one million users going online every month. The country also has a high number of unbanked citizens which means that there is a lot of potential for FinTech startups in Pakistan.”

Kuala Lumpur-based, Gobi Partners had said in November last year that it was exploring a Pakistan fund after its investment in online travel startup Sastaticket.pk. The deal was its first investment in Pakistan, making it the first Chinese VC to invest in the country.

In an earlier interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Thomas Tsao, founding partner of Gobi Partners, said: “Where is there a market that is bigger than 1.4 billion Chinese people? It’s 1.8 billion Muslims.”

Apart from this Pakistan-focused fund, Gobi Partners also has two other market-focused funds – one for the Philippines and one for Indonesia. Both are $10-million funds focusing on early-stage companies, covering sectors such as e-commerce, travel, logistics and healthtech.

Gobi has over $1 billion of assets under management and has previously partnered with MAVCAP to invest in over 30 Malaysian startups.

Also Read:

Gobi Partners exploring Pakistan-focused fund, says founding partner Tsao

Gobi leads $1.5m Series A for Pakistan’s online travel agency Sastaticket

Pakistan-focused VC firm Sarmayacar secures first close of $30m early-stage fund

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.