May 25, 2022

Lahore-based coworking startup Colabs is set to release a SaaS product that will enable businesses to address back-office needs, including business registration, talent scouting and management, payroll, and legal and tax compliance. It also plans to hire more staff, including expanding the product team, for the SaaS workspace service coming out of beta.

The startup, led by Indus Valley Capital, Zain Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures, has unveiled new plans after receiving $3 million in seed funding, marking the first time three Pakistani venture capitals have invested together in one startup.

Colabs co-founder and CEO Omar Shah, a former investment banker, told gaming-updates: “We realized that people setting up operations in Pakistan require different services; They need help setting up a business, calculating payroll, and complying with tax laws. That’s why we presented our business solutions.”

“We plan to reach 600 paying customers within the next 12 months and from there we will bring this product to market,” Shah said.

Mr. Shah and his twin brother Ali Shah co-founded Colabs as a joint organization for start-up entrepreneurs and multinationals establishing hubs in Pakistan. It was in 2019 and they were inspired by the country’s thriving startup ecosystem and the advancement of technology.

Prior to launching Colabs, Mr. Shah spent nearly eight years in the private equity industry, with his most recent assignment at Abraaj Capital, working closely with his brother to launch long-established family business startup Drives SABCON. Family business Colabs is developing the space.

The startup is home to over 100 companies employing 1,200 people across three locations in Lahore. It plans to open 100,000 locations in major cities including Islamabad and Karachi across the country over the next five years.

Colabs aims to be a gateway to Pakistan for technology companies and a launching pad for start-ups. image credit: Collaborations

“The idea behind Colabs is to create locations across the country where we can serve freelancers, startups, SMEs, and large enterprises. This community is for those who want to start their career or business or enter the country. Collabs will accompany him on the journey. We want to be that gateway to Pakistan,” Shah said.

“Our development plan is very ambitious. But we see a demand for what we offer, because by the time we open new outlets, they are already sold out. And that’s because so many companies are entering the country. And there are a lot of startups here that are raising capital and want to work in places like ours instead of investing in their premises,” he said.

Flexible workspaces have also emerged in the wake of Covid as more companies cut the overhead costs associated with working in certain physical locations. Coworking spaces like Colabs also host events that are important for networking, learning, or meeting potential investors or clients.

Growing interest in Pakistan from big investors like Tiger Global and Sequoia means the country’s startup ecosystem will continue to grow, increasing demand for spaces like Collabs, Shah said. Investment in Pakistan has quintupled to $350 million in 2021 from $65 million last year amid a fintech and e-commerce boom.

The new funding from Colabs has raised the startup’s total to $4 million, including capital from an undisclosed preliminary round.

Atif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, said: “We are excited to partner with the Collabs team to help them build an industry-leading platform and community that connects startups, freelancers and international companies with Pakistani tech. . distribution in Pakistan.

The seed round included Shoruk Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Psi Ventures and some of the top angel investors including Turner Novak, William Hawkeye and Teddy Himmler.

Faisal Aftab, co-founder and managing partner of Zain Capital, said: “I see Collabs as one of the key players in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. We were lucky enough to get to know some of the startups we invested in in their space. ,

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