i2i Ventures, an early-stage investment fund with a focus on Pakistan-based technology enabled companies, is announcing the launch of a new $15 million fund and their first investment in Pakistani startup Mauqa Online. i2i Ventures builds on the experience of Invest2Innovate, an accelerator which has worked in the startup ecosystem in Pakistan since 2011, and operates with a similar vision, to unleash the potential of innovative entrepreneurs in frontier markets.
Co-founded by Pakistani-American social entrepreneur, Kalsoom Lakhani and fintech and impact investing professional, Misbah Naqvi, i2i Ventures is the first female-founded institutional fund to invest exclusively in Pakistani entrepreneurs. i2i Ventures sets out to challenge the traditional power dynamics of a fund, taking an impact and gender-lens approach to investing and allowing for its portfolio founders to have as much power at the negotiating table as the investor.
"As the 5th largest market in the world, with a young population, a rising consumer class and increasing smartphone penetration, Pakistan presents tremendous investment opportunities," said Kalsoom Lakhani, Co-founder and Partner of i2i Ventures and the Founder/CEO of Invest2Innovate. "Having operated in the region and industry for more than 8 years, it's clear that the market is ripe for a founder-focused fund like i2i Ventures, where shared goals, trust and open communication are deeply embedded into the investment strategy."
i2i Ventures takes a smart investing approach, engaging with early-stage founders and their teams to help build ventures positioned for scale. "We have seen many startups in this market struggle with scale as they haven't had the right partners and investors at the outset," said Misbah Naqvi, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of i2i Ventures. "We are committed to investing in Pakistani tech entrepreneurs at the seed level and supporting them as they grow their business and raise funding for post-seed and Series A rounds."
As its first investment, i2i Ventures is leading a six-figure (USD) seed round in Mauqa Online, an Islamabad-based startup providing an on-demand digital platform for domestic services. Other investors in the round include UAE-based Karavan Partners. Mauqa Online...