With the outbreak of innovationand spiking technological advances in emerging markets like Pakistan, the startup ecosystem has seen unprecedented growth within recent years. Coworking has provided startups with the convenience and flexibility they require to ground themselves in a diverse community, creating seismic shifts across the startup world.
How has this defined startup trends for 2022?
Personalization Above All Else
With the pandemic still largely informing everyone’s way of life, startups have been able to provide customized products and services. Personalization as the new normal, has become a must-have for brands attempting to lift their brand experience. According to a study by Deliotte, businesses offering personalized services or products can increase sales by 10%. The e-commerce trend in Pakistan is on the rise, with companies like Alchemative, housed at Daftarkhwan, providing personalized software solutions for mobile and web applications aswell as e-stores for its clients has resulted in an impressive growth of 144% in Q1 of 2022 already.
Convenience is another key selling point for companies in the post-pandemic world. The shifting landscape of e-commerce and e-learning in Pakistan has further cemented this trend. Consumer conscious companies like Jugnu, a B2B e-commerce startup at Daftarkhwan, provides convenience to small retail stores by digitizing their inventory supply chain. In the ed-tech sector, Noon Academy is taking the lead by providing a collaborative and innovative online learning experience to more than 12 million students worldwide.
The online grocery model in emerging markets has also seen an increase in the number of startups entering the e-grocery space. Pakistan hosted a retail market worth of$125 billion in 2021 out of which$48 billion was dedicated to groceries. Companies such as GrocerApp, PandaMart, KraveMart and Airlift all raced towards streamlining their services for a more convenient customer experience. Similarly, huge brick and mortar shops like Alfatah, Carrefour, Naheed, and Metro launched their online grocery mobile apps, enabling customers to order at their doorstep.
Convenience is not just limited to B2C businesses. Tazah, which recently raised $2 million in pre-seed funding, is providing convenience to farmers to sell their products to businesses directly, eliminating middlemen and increasing profits for both parties.
Successful Models Racing Towards New Geographies
Successful businesses are rapidly infiltrating new geographies in an attempt to tap into unsaturated markets, creating a positive exchange of knowledge and mutual growth. Unifonic, a customer engagement platform working with 5000+ businesses, initially marked its footprint across 4 major locations in the Middle East. Recently, they expanded to South Asia, with their first office in Lahore at Daftarkhwan.
Another oft-quoted example is of the Dubai-based ride hailing company, Careem which now runs in over 100 cities across 15 countries including Pakistan. Such global enterprises entering new dimensions have been facilitated by coworking spaces that provide them with agile offices exclusively designed to meet the shifting needs of their modern workforce.
A similar example is Trella, an Egyptian app based logistics platform that launched in Pakistan in 2019 to solve challenges faced by the shipping industry. They have completed over 4000 loads in less than 2 years of operations between shippers and carriers whilst acquiring clients such as Unilever, Shan Foods and Tapal in the region. Trella has their teams accommodated at Daftarkhwan in Lahore where the coworking network has enabled them to hit the ground running without delay in acquiring and building office spaces in a new country.
Digital Financial Transformation
Previously deemed too risky, Africa has found itself to be the subject of interest by countless Venture Capitalists with Partech reporting $2 billion funding for the continent in 2020. Majority of these companies are working on digital financial transformation. One example of this is OPay, an African fintech mobile money service that propagates financial inclusion with a valuation of over $2 billion.The company has now expanded with office spaces at Daftarkhwan and aims to facilitate financial inclusion for 80% of the unbanked population in Pakistan.
Businesses will continue to navigate the uncertainty and economic impact of the pandemic, yet agile startups will continue to push the accelerator of innovation throughout the year in 2022.