COLABS, a Pakistan-based flexible workspace, said Friday it has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures.

The round was also joined by Shorooq Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Sai Ventures, and some key angels, including Turner Novak, William Hockey, and Teddy Himler, COLABS said in a statement.

With this investment, COLABS aims to knit together a community of 100,000 entrepreneurs and freelancers in Pakistan, starting with 10,000 members within the next two years. This ambition will be realized through the national expansion across major cities in Pakistan like Karachi and Islamabad. The strong foundation built over the last two years will enable the company to reach its envisioned goal.

“With the capital we have raised from leading investors today, we’re now looking to turn our offerings into software-based solutions and productized services that could also be extended to people and institutions outside of our network, in addition to bringing on world-class talent to our existing team of rockstars,” said Omar Shah, Co-Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of COLABS.

“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,” he added.

COLABS was founded in 2019 by Omar Shah, a former private equity investor, and his twin brother Ali Shah, who operates long-established family-run real estate and construction firm SABCON, which is COLABS’ development partner for its facilities. Its leadership team also includes Fatima Mazhar (Chief Operating Officer) who was one of the early executives at Careem and had helped the company scale in many international markets.

COLABS started as a coworking platform with a state-of-the-art facility in Lahore but has since evolved to offer several additional services and tools to entrepreneurs and freelancers, including educational bootcamps and a software as a service (SaaS) platform for back-office solutions such as business incorporation, talent sourcing and management, payroll processing and legal and tax compliance.

Today, COLABS has a partner network of 100+ organizations involved in taking initiatives to boost the Pakistani startup ecosystem’s growth. It has placed itself at the heart of the startup agenda in Pakistan through its events, networking forums and startup facilitations. One of the many ways COLABS creates impact is by hosting 250+ startup community-relevant events annually with an aggregate attendance of over 200,000 significant visitors to date. The facility has seen community members grow, hire the right talent, raise investment and thrive with the support provided by COLABS.

“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,” said Aatif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital.

Founded in 2019, Indus Valley Capital is a venture capital firm based in Karachi, Pakistan. It is an early-stage venture capital fund focused on Pakistani startups that are transforming entire industries. It was founded and managed by Aatif Awan, a former LinkedIn Executive who acted as a Vice President of growth, spending seven years at the company and growing it to half a billion members. Indus Valley Capital has made 12 investments as of yet, eight of them being lead investments for startups like Bazaar tech, Aimfit, Marham, Maqsad and BridgeLinx.

“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 startup 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,” said Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Zayn Capital.

Zayn Capital is an investment firm providing debt and equity financing to start-ups in Pakistan with occasional opportunistic bets in the region. It was founded by Faisal Aftab and Faisal Chowdhry who both serve as Managing Partners of the venture capital firm. The company has made 20 investments with lead investments in Nayapay, Bagallery, Krave Mart and among others.

“We’re excited to join Omar and his team as they embark on their next expansion journey. COLABS has become the epicentre of growth of the start-up community in Pakistan and we look forward to supporting them on their path to empower the next generation of founders across the country,” said Ali Mukhtar, Founder and General Partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV).

FGV is set up by Fatima Group and one of the most active multinational venture capitals in Asia Gobi Partners to fuse local expertise with regional venture capital know-how. It takes a data-driven approach to investing, backed by decades of venture experience in the flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems of Northeast and Southeast Asia. The firm finds companies locally that have the edge and drive to go beyond Pakistan’s borders. It also accelerates the growth of founders by benchmarking their businesses and linking them to the developed markets in Asia.

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