Pakistan’s burgeoning tech scene

Just two months ago, e-commerce company Markhor, which works with local artisans to produce high-quality men’s leather shoes, became Pakistan’s most successful Kickstarter campaign, raising seven times more than its intended goal, catching the attention of Seth Godin and GOOD Magazine.

There is no greater evidence of this positive change than in Pakistan’s burgeoning technology ecosystem. In a new report released by my company, Invest2Innovate – which was commissioned by the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) – we mapped the number of startup competitions, incubators, university programs, coworking spaces and forums, and analyzed the gaps and challenges entrepreneurs continue to face in the country.

Three years ago, the ecosystem was relatively nascent, with just a handful of organizations. Today, the space is unrecognizable and brimming with constant energy and activity.

That is from Kalsoom Lakhani, there is more of interest here.  Here is my earlier post on Pakistan as an underrated economy.


Anti-drone technology might be a good line.

e-commerce company Markhor, which works with local artisans to produce high-quality men’s leather shoes

So basically it is a shop front for putting Western customers in touch with hand made shoe producers? You know, Alibaba it is not.

This is just the bigotry of low expectations. I would expect to find more e-commerce innovation going on in a single suburb of Cleveland. More in some middle schools in some single suburbs of Cleveland.

But then I suppose it would take real skill to find anywhere else to go but upwards.

"This is just the bigotry of low expectations" -yup. 1stWorld != 3rdWorld

Hi, Waqas here, one of the founders of Markhor.

Perhaps you would like to read the story of our humble beginning here ( Markhor is way more than just a shop front, for instance we work with the craftsmen we have known for years personally. The idea is to change the way global consumers think of how (handmade) products are made in developing countries and enable craftsmen to make the most of their art.

Please feel free to ask if you want, I'll be around. Thank you.

Forget about shoes, I wish to buy AK-47s from Pak and ship them to the Philippines. There's a huge gun market here.

Then there's the cultural elephant in the room.

Why does Pakistan massively underperform India? Why do Pakistani immigrants massively underperform Indian immigrants in the UK?

It's hard to pursue progress - tech and otherwise - when the basic wiring is installed by ideologues.

Why do Pakistani immigrants massive outperform Indian immigrants in the US? Whoops, back to the Klan meeting to re-massage the message.


My wife of 15 years is Asian. She's not aware of my klan membership though so hush hush.

But seriously, race and culture are not just spelled differently - they are completely different concepts.

A lot of the initial Pakistani immigrants in the UK were unskilled labourers who couldn't speak English and who went to work in declining Northern industrial towns with predictable results for economic outcomes.

Pakistanis who were already middle-class and had some form of college education have done pretty well for themselves as have their offspring. Like most of the middle-class immigrants who came over from India and the ones from Uganda who were expelled by Idi Amin,

India is making amazing transformation. No social safety net, just capitalism over the last 50 years. Crony capitalism under colonialism.

And the end of the caste system.

How many Pakistanis does it take to screw in a light bulb?

"In 1974, Abdus Salam departed from his country, in protest, after the Pakistan Parliament passed a controversial parliamentary bill declaring the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as not-Islamic."

Pakistan has no shortage of brilliant people. That's now what is holding them back...

Uhhhh....not, not now.

Well yes obviously Pakistan has a shortage of brilliant people. It is one of the many things holding them back. It is why, unlike the Chinese or even the Indians to a lesser extent, leaving Pakistan does not help.

1000+ years of marrying your first cousin may have something to do with this.

Yeah, the inbreeding is a significant hindrance that is not on anybody's radar.

The country's many, many problems ultimately trace back to low average IQ.

Steve Sailer has long been saying fortification of food with micro-nutrients with iodine and iron would be a highly cost-effective way of helping avoid cretinism and raise IQs.

Not sure why this isn't high on the agenda for the Third World development squad. It's a no-brainer compared to things like the hundred dollar laptops and the millennium villages projects.

Salt iodization actually is one of priority programs recommended by GiveWell.

Pakistan has a lot of brilliant people. But Pakistan is also a country of almost 200 million people.

It takes a lot of brilliant people to make it into a tech-heaven.

I think Dr. Khan is Pak's most distinguished scientist: he build the Bomb, no mean feat for a Third World country like Pakistan (to build it in practice, not just on paper, which any bright high school student can do). Ditto for the unknown North Korean scientist(s) who did it, if they exist. (KHAAAAAAN! Star Trek)

That's not science.

That's engineering [& theft of IP from Urenco]

There's a difference.

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