Indus Valley Capital raises $13m for debut Pakistan-focused fund, nears final close

Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: Pixabay

Early-stage investor Indus Valley Capital has raised $13.2 million for its $15-million debut Pakistan-focused fund, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The venture firm, founded by former senior Linkedin and Microsoft executive, Aatif Awan, last hit the first close of its fund in early 2020, securing over 50% of its target corpus at the time.

The filing did not disclose Indus Valley’s limited partners (LPs), but its investors are understood to include Pakistani software company Arbisoft, Pakistani tech solutions firm VentureDive, and angel investors from Silicon Valley, New York, Singapore and Pakistan. The fund is also understood to be within weeks of its final close.

Indus Valley Capital portfolio companies include mass transit system Airlift, online marketplace Bazaar and female fitness startup Aimfit.

Indus Valley Capital could not be reached for this story.

2020 has been a challenging year for many venture funds. This was particularly so for first-time funds focussing on a niche or frontier markets. The COVID outbreak last year also meant that fund managers were affected by global travel bans, which made it difficult to foster new LP connections, most of which would only be found in overseas markets like the US, Europe and other parts of Asia.

Pakistan-focused funds are no exception. In December, DealStreetAsia reported that Fatima Gobi Ventures, a joint venture between Pakistani venture firm Fatima Ventures and Shanghai-based Gobi Partners, delayed the final close of its $20 million Pakistan-focused fund from end-2019 to early 2021.

Yet the Pakistani startup ecosystem has continued to grow significantly during this time, with several startups raising larger rounds and securing capital from overseas investors.

Notable examples include B2B e-commerce marketplace Bazaar, which raised a $6.5 million seed round led by Global Founders Capital and Indus Valley Capital, and Pakistani ride-hailing firm Bykea, which raised a $13 million Series B led by Prosus Ventures.

Pakistan is one of South Asia’s youngest and most under-capitalised venture markets but is rapidly evolving as a venture ecosystem. Apart from Indus Valley, the market has also seen an increase in the number of local venture capital firms in recent years, including Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures. Pakistan boasts a population of over 200 million people, of whom 75 million and growing are internet users.

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.