Startup Verticals – Where does your startup belong?

Mehak Najam
Thursday, October 5, 2017

The entrepreneurial industry of Pakistan is at a junction. But with a lot of new ground still to cover, most of the work that is done in the industry is on a trial basis. Every day we see new innovation coming out and with new innovation comes new learning. However, as we see patterns emerge, every now and then we have an oddity that throws all previous patterns out the window.

Now, more than ever, it is essential to identify the existing patterns for further creation of data to better understand the way things work in this nascent but accelerating industry. It should be noted that a number of startups operate in multi-domains. This cross-over can be accounted to the ‘new and innovative’ feature that is considered to be a prerequisite for any company to be recognized as a startup. The feeling of newness or no precedence, that we all expect a startup to have, does in fact make it all the more difficult to determine patterns in the industry.

To better understand the market and the existing patterns, we have tried to accumulate the different spaces that the startups in Pakistan operate in. It should be noted that a number of companies are not limited to one domain but operate in multiple ones.

The types of startups we find in Pakistan include but are not limited to the following domains:
E-commerce – The market entails all the buying and selling that takes place in the new world. From music to vegetables, these startups have brought the traditional market place to the virtual platform. With all buying and selling moving slowly but surely to the virtual space, this domain takes majority of the startup space.

FinTech – These organizations use the latest innovation and technology to revolutionize the financial services and financial institutions. Through the platform these startups provide, we can predict a complete removal of paper money and expect virtual money taking over.

EdTech – We have a number of startups coming out that are using technology to facilitate the education space. A market that is constantly growing coupled with the fact that the industry offers a lot of space to work in, EdTech is the up and coming sector in the startup world.

AgriTech – With agriculture output contributing to a major portion of the nations GDP, the AgriTech startups are leveraging technology to address challenges in agriculture. There is a lot of activity within this space with new innovation coming out often, but no clear winners as yet.

FashionTech – The Fashion space was slow to embrace technology but in the past couple of years, there has been a major influx of fashion-focused tech startups. This space see’s a mix of e-commerce sites, mobile applications, social networking sites as well as discovery platforms.

AdTech – With traditional mediums of marketing taking a backseat, and companies looking for out-of-the-box and pioneering ways to communicate with their customers, we can expect some ground-breaking AdTech ideas to come forward completely revolutionizing how we advertise.

HealthTech – The partnership between technology and healthcare is exciting and has seemingly endless possibilities. It’s not a surprise that this sector has seen the biggest growth boom in recent times and is a favorite for investors.

BioTech – The biology-based technology companies work on innovation to improve the health of the planet. Innovation in this space is very minimal in Pakistan, but booming across borders. We expect more entrepreneurs to venture into this space in the near future.

AutoTech – Automotive research has always been dependent on technology. However, this space is witnessing interesting evolution with the increasing use of various technical elements like IoT and Artificial Intelligence trickling down in the AutoTech space.

IoT – The Internet of Things technology remains a favorite of entrepreneurs and investors alike. This can be accounted to its ability to leverage and facilitate other sectors.

Big data – From data collection to data analyzing, a number of business intelligence and analytics platforms are working to assist organizations. These Big Data startups are coming up with innovation for the accessibility, agility and analyzing of data.

AI – 2017 was the year of Artificial Intelligence with startups working in this space being the most sought after. This particular technology is being adopted at rapid speed globally and we see many in Pakistan innovating within the space. We, for one, are on board for the AI revolution.

SaaS – Software as a Service startups are the ones that are developing softwares to facilitate processes for other organizations. Organization can either purchase off-the-shelf software or buy customizable software, according to their particular needs and requirement set.

Mobile – Smart-phone penetration has seen an accelerated rise in Pakistan and that in turn has led to a number of mobile powered startups operational nation-wide.

TravelTech – This space pertains to all innovation that is using technology to create new travel experiences for the customers. With the increasing growth of the hospitality domain as well as all bookings now made online, the TravelTech space has witnessed one of the most major growth patterns globally.

Hardware – All businesses looking to build physical electronic devices come under this space. Working on a hardware startup was never easy, however, with the increasing use of 3D printing, rapid prototyping and using software at the backend to facilitate the hardware, this space is evolving.

GreenTech/CleanTech – GreenTech or CleanTech startups, as the name suggests are solving environmental issues by leveraging technology. This space is broad enough to get the attention of socially responsible and green investors as well as venture capitalists. However, crowd-funding platforms remain their major medium of financing.

RetailTech – These startups are using technology to bridge the gap between digital and physical commerce. Think of shelf-stocking robots, or proximity marketing, the RetailTech companies are working on optimizing existing store operations which remains the major medium of shopping as of now.

PowerTech – These startups are coming up with new innovative ways for the production and consumption of energy. With the power crisis the country has been facing, these startups will keep attracting the attention of investors in the coming times.

Robotics – This domain has witnessed constant rise and we can expect it to do so in the coming times as well. From medicine to education, this space has it presence over-arching over other industries.