Singapore’s High Output Ventures launches early stage fund for Pakistan

Fund will be attached to an accelerator programme, offering guaranteed funding for selected startups

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LAHORE/KARACHI: Singapore-based venture studio High Output Ventures (HOV) has launched an early stage fund dedicated to Pakistani startups.

The fund will be attached to an accelerator programme, HOV Accelerate, which will connect entrepreneurs to global mentors and provide guaranteed investment for the companies to scale. The early stage fund will be Pakistan’s version of the likes of Y Combinator and 500 Startups.

“While it is no secret that Pakistan’s technology space has been gaining momentum over the past few years, there are still doubts about the maturity of the overall startup ecosystem,” the statement from the fund said.

“Furthermore, investors are cautious about cutting deals amid the coronavirus outbreak and are less eager to deploy capital. In these uncertain times, it is encouraging to see a new international player willing to back Pakistani entrepreneurs.”

HOV Managing Director Usman Sheikh has built, operated and sold multiple companies over the last 15 years, besides investing in a number of startups across the globe.

“We feel Pakistan’s market, as well as its founders, has great potential particularly in the early stage where we see founders with a lot of grit and determination building good companies with very limited resources. Our job is to help these founders take their startups and themselves to the next level,” he said.

“We want to help repair the pipeline for downstream investors by churning out high quality, polished companies.”

Recognising that the ‘one size fits all’ model of lectures and group training does not create enough value for the diverse Pakistani startup community, the HOV Accelerate programme will connect cohort companies with global domain experts based on their needs in a bespoke model. The experts will work closely with each company individually and monitor their progress over the course of the programme.

HOV Accelerate’s first cohort is set to start in October 2020. The programme aims to recruit up to 10 companies in its first batch, and the focus is fairly vertical agnostic. The notable feature of the programme is that all cohort startups will receive up to $50,000 each in investment from HOV.

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