IFC invests $2.5m in Sarmayacar’s $30m Pakistan-focused fund

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

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $2.5 million in Pakistan-focused venture capital firm Sarmayacar. This marks IFC’s foray into Pakistan’s venture ecosystem.

According to a statement, IFC’s investment will comprise $2 million in equity commitments from Startup Catalyst, an IFC programme that backs accelerators and seed funds in emerging markets.

The remaining $500,000 will come from the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a partnership between governments, multilateral development banks and other public and private sector stakeholders hosted by the World Bank.

Sarmayacar is a Pakistan-focused venture capital firm led Rabeel Warraich and Bernhard Klemen, former investment bankers at GIC, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

Last November, Sarmayacar announced the first close of its $30-million fund, making it Pakistan’s largest VC fund to date. The fund targets seed to early-stage deals, writing cheques in the range of $100,000 to $2 million for select startups in the country.

“Pakistan offers a unique opportunity with its improving stability, large, young population, rising middle class, fast-growing internet and smartphone penetration, and a dearth of venture capital in the ecosystem,” said Rabeel Warraich, founder of Sarmayacar.

“This marks the first such investment from the World Bank Group in Pakistan and will enable us to back more startups in the country, while also providing access to a global network, new markets and domain expertise to our portfolio companies,” added Warraich.

Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan said: “The early stage of local venture capital ecosystems is often the most crucial building block for sustaining healthy entrepreneurship and innovation, which helps to drive economic growth and create quality jobs.”

Siddiqui continued: “Our aim is to support these entrepreneurs by helping to bridge issues around insufficient seed capital and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan.”

Apart from IFC, Sarmayacar’s $30-million fund is also backed by individuals from GIC and other investors. Sarmayacar’s 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.