IFC-backed Sarmayacar said to close $30m Pakistan fund by early 2020

Sarmayacar is a Pakistan-focused VC targeting seed and early-stage tech startups.

Pakistan-focused venture capital (VC) firm Sarmayacar is on track to hit the final close of its $30-million debut fund by April 2020, according to two sources close to the development.

One source told DealStreetAsia that CDC Group, a UK development finance institution, is expected to contribute as much as $5-10 million to the pot. Development financial institutions such as the FMO from the Netherlands, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), headquartered in the Philippines, are also expected to join.

Another source shared that the Pakistan-focused fund is raising from family offices and high net worth individuals (HNWIs) from Europe, the Middle East and Pakistan.

Sarmayacar declined to comment on this story.

In August, Sarmayacar made headlines for raising $2.5 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. The move marked IFC’s foray into Pakistan’s venture ecosystem, a young and fast-emerging segment of the South Asian market.

Pakistan has seen a number of new VC funds emerge over the last year, including Fatima Gobi Partners’s $20 million fund, and i2i Ventures’s $15 million fund. A number of corporate-backed venture arms have also increased activity in the market, including Lakson Investments Venture Capital (under Lakson Group) and TPL E-Ventures (under TPL Corp).

With a proposed corpus of $30 million, Sarmayacar is one of Pakistan’s largest venture capital funds to date. It is led by Rabeel Warraich and Bernhard Klemen, former investment bankers at GIC, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

The VC firm last shared with DealStreetAsia in an interview that it hoped to bring an institutional approach to investing in Pakistan – a market that has little, if not, a poor understanding of venture capital and investing.

Saramaycar plans to invest in 15-20 seed to early-stage companies in technology-enabled sectors in Pakistan. Its ticket sizes range between $100,000 and $2 million with room for follow-on investments.

Its portfolio companies include Bykea, a ride-hailing platform; PublishEx, a carrier billing company; ProCheck, a patient engagement services provider; and Patari, an online music portal.

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.