- Colabs, a Lahore-based coworking space startup, is gearing ready to introduce a SaaS platform to assist companies with back-office activities like company registration, talent recruitment and management, payroll processing, and legal and tax compliance.
- The increased goals come from the startup’s $3 million initial funding round led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital, and Fatima Gobi Ventures, which marked the three Pakistan-focused venture capital firms’ first collaboration on a venture.
- Their objective is to recruit 600 paying customers within the next 12 months and advertise the product, Shah stated.
Colabs, a coworking space startup located in Lahore, is preparing to launch a SaaS platform to help businesses with back-office functions such as company registration, talent recruiting and management, payroll processing, and legal and tax compliance. Additionally, it wants to employ additional people, including expanding the product team for its SaaS workspace business solution, which just completed its test phase.
The new ambitions follow the startup’s $3 million seed fundraising round led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital, and Fatima Gobi Ventures, marking the first time the three Pakistan-focused venture capital firms have partnered on a venture.
They saw that businesses establishing operations in Pakistan require additional services; they want assistance with company formation, payroll processing, and tax compliance. Colabs co-founder and CEO Omar Shah, a former investment banker, told TechCrunch. That is why they began offering business solutions.
Shah explained that their goal is to acquire 600 paying clients within the next 12 months and then roll out this product to the market. Shah and his twin brother Ali Shah co-founded Colabs, a coworking space for entrepreneurs and international corporations looking to establish hubs in Pakistan. This was in 2019 when they were motivated by the country’s thriving startup environment and rapidly growing technology sector.
Before founding Colabs, Shah spent about eight years in the private equity industry, most recently at Abraaj Capital, before collaborating with his brother, who runs the long-established family-owned real estate and development business SABCON, to build the venture. The family-owned real estate enterprise develops Colabs premises.
Colabs plans for national expansion
The startup is home to over 100 businesses employing 1,200 workers across three sites in Lahore. It intends to add 100,000 seats statewide over the next five years as part of a nationwide expansion into key cities like Islamabad and Karachi.
Colabs’ goal is to establish locations around the country where they can support freelancers, startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and influential organizations. It is a community for anyone interested in starting a profession or business or entering the nation. Colabs will assist them on their way. They wish to become that entry point into Pakistan, Shah stated.
Their expansion strategy is rather audacious. However, they see a need for what they are delivering since their new locations are already sold out. And this is because the country is attracting a large number of businesses. And there are so many entrepreneurs here raising funding and prefer to do it in coworking spaces like ours rather than investing in their campus.
The rise of flexible workspaces has also accelerated during the epidemic, as more businesses seek to avoid the high costs involved with managing exclusive physical sites. Colabs and other coworking spaces hold events beneficial for networking, learning, and meeting possible investors or clients.
According to Shah, the growing interest in Pakistan by prominent investors such as Tiger Global indicates that the country’s startup ecosystem will continue to develop, generating demand for coworking spaces like Colabs. Investments in Pakistan are expected to reach $350 million in 2021, owing to a surge in fintech and e-commerce.
Colabs has now secured $4 million, including money from an unreported pre-seed round. According to Aatif Awan, founder, and managing partner of Indus Valley Capital. They are delighted to join the Colabs team in order to assist them in developing the top platform and community that will propel Pakistani technology growth across startups freelancers, and multinational corporations expanding into Pakistan.
Shorooq Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Sai Ventures, and other notable angel investors participated in the seed round, including Turner Novak, William Hockey, and Teddy Himler. Faisal Aftab, the co-founder and managing partner of Zayn Capital, stated that he has closely observed Colabs’ growth as a prominent participant in Pakistan’s startup scene. They were lucky to have met some of the businesses they invested in while working in their spaces.