Pakistan’s Digital Startup Scene is Booming and With it Comes a Flourishing Culture of Invention

During the COVID-19 epidemic, Pakistan’s technology and startup sectors saw remarkable development. In 2021, technology startups raised a record-breaking $350 million, while over $227 million was funded in the first half of 2022; Pakistani companies have raised $322 million so far in 2022. With IT exports projected to more than double from $1.19 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2019 to $2.62 billion in FY 2022, Pakistan’s IT services industry has emerged as the country’s biggest net services exporter.

Freelancing is a significant part of the country’s computer industry, with professionals offering their skills to customers all over the world on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. During the pandemic, this skill pool has seen a substantial boost in revenues. Pakistan is considered as one of the biggest freelancing marketplaces in the world, despite the lack of precise information about total revenues. By 2024, the federal government hopes to generate more than $3 billion from this industry.

However, a combination of a tighter global macro climate and rising local political volatility is reason for worry for the industry, particularly the domestic startup economy. To understand the challenges and possibilities confronting the digital ecosystem, the Pakistan Initiative of the Atlantic Council interviewed a number of Pakistani and international professionals. This research focuses on the present status of the environment and the effects of Pakistan’s continuous economic and political turmoil. It also includes suggestions for important players, such as authorities wanting to globalize Pakistan’s technology industry more in order to unleash export revenues and foreign investment prospects.