Colabs raises $3 million seed to make it easy for entrepreneurs and freelancers to build and grow businesses in Pakistan

Lahore-based Colabs has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital, and Fatima Gobi Ventures, it announced in a statement on Friday. It is the first time these three leading Pakistan-focused VCs are investing together in a startup, noted the statement. Colabs had previously raised $1 million in a pre-seed round. The round was also joined by Shorooq Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Sai Ventures, and a few angel investors including Turner Novak, William Hockey, and Teddy Himler.

Founded in 2019 by twin brother; Omar and Ali Shah, Colabs enables startups and freelancers to build and grow their businesses through its coworking spaces and different other services. The startup had started with one of the largest coworking spaces in the country and has quickly grown to become an important player in the local ecosystem with offerings like business incorporation, educational bootcamps, and back-office solutions, including talent sourcing and management, payroll management, and legal and tax compliance.

With the latest funds, the Lahore-based startup now wants to build a tech layer on top of all these offerings to offer them to startups, freelancers, and other businesses all over the country.

Omar Shah, co-founder and CEO of Colabs, said, “We had founded Colabs to help accelerate the Pakistani startup ecosystem and we’re very proud of what we have achieved in a little over three years. Even though we’re mainly seen as a coworking operator, what we have built is a solid foundation to make it easy for freelancers, startups, and even international companies entering Pakistan, start and manage their businesses. Today anyone looking to start a company in Pakistan could use Colabs not only as a place where they work but also as a partner that manages their different back-office functions.”

Colabs also plans to use the funds to fuel its expansion across Pakistan – starting with co-working spaces in Karachi and Islamabad. It aims to have a community of over 10,000 members in the next two years. The company claims to have hosted over 250 startup events in Pakistan since its founding, attracting over 200,000 visitors to its facility to date. It plans to continue to support Pakistan’s startup ecosystem through different initiatives. The first of such initiatives is Cogrow, an online platform that would aggregate and list startups, investment firms, and tech jobs.

Aatif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, said, “The first time I visited Colabs, I found the community and energy to be a microcosm of the fast-growing Pakistani tech ecosystem. We’re thrilled to partner with the Colabs team to help them build the leading platform and community that will power the growth of Pakistani tech across startups, freelancers, and global companies expanding into Pakistan.”

Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital said, “I have closely watched Colabs grow into one of the key players in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. We were fortunate enough to have met some of the startups we invested in, at their spaces. Omar and his team continue to do excellent work to accelerate the growth of the startup ecosystem here and we are excited to join their journey in serving tens of thousands of founders and freelancers across Pakistan.”

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