With influx of money from OBOR, proptech in Pakistan is set to thrive as a sector. There are a host of supply chain and logistical challenges that proptech entrepreneurs from Pakistan can solve. With very smart talent pool and pent up demand for technology, proptech in Pakistan can be a game changer.
The South Asian country of Pakistan is one that we hear a lot of in news and otherwise. As much as it gets spoken about for its politics, Pakistan doesn’t get the attention it deserves for its startup ecosystem, innovation in technology and its youth led ventures. In this politically unstable but youth-rich country, innovation is not a new concept. Entrepreneurship, innovation, and creative solution to local problems is the current state of mind in Pakistan, and it is bringing about a wave of new technologies. This wave is affecting all sectors of business, but one can see the most growth in proptech in Pakistan. With 208 million people, Pakistan is suffering a shortage of 12 million houses as of 2018.
In 2019, 33% of the population in Pakistan had internet access. These users are driving factors of a digital revolution, one that also impacts the real estate sector of this country, or as the current buzzword goes — proptech in Pakistan.
And while this article goes on to discuss proptech in Pakistan, it also calls for us to discuss two crucial aspects that change the game- the startup ecosystem in Pakistan and the current scenario of its real estate sector.
The Pakistani Real Estate Sector
The current Pakistan real estate sector is highly promising with influx of investment from outside Pakistan as well as a positive sentiment about it within the country. Pakistani’s still believe for land to be a safe investment and hence the demand for good properties here, residential as well as commercial.
Since residential and commercial properties are not documented at their current market values in Pakistan, it is an impossible undertaking to determine the worth of the real estate sector.
Starting up in Pakistan
To understand the startup sector in Pakistan, it is interesting to note the ratio of youth or working class here. As per a 2108 report, 64 percent of the nation is younger than 30 and 29 percent of Pakistanis are between 15 and 29 (age group defined as youth). Pakistan now has more young people than it has ever had, and this is forecasted to continue to increase until at least 2050.
Though factors like lack of modern education curriculum and poverty deter the modern youth from realizing their full potential, it doesn’t deter them from starting up and achieving the success that is at par with global standards.
Pakistan is also home to a thriving technology sector that promises potential and strength and has grown exponentially since the turn of the century, and it is innovation that is fueling this growth. Pakistani entrepreneurs are providing innovative solutions to local problems, and are focused on the idea of adding value to existing services and products.
The past five years have been interesting, as the Pakistan’s startup ecosystem has grown from a nascent colony to a self-sustaining environment. One can also observe an increase in startup hubs around elite universities in major cities of Lahore and Karachi.
But in this generally hostile environment, entrepreneurship becomes the leading option for the youth of the country to gain financial independence and self-sufficient. That being said, the Pakistani Government has also started to come around the idea of entrepreneurship here and has launched various programs for the aid of entrepreneurs and innovators. This increased interest in entrepreneurship directly impacts proptech or proptech in Pakistan.
Proptech in Pakistan
Today, with the increased availability of smartphones, reliable 3G, and 4G services in Pakistan and the increased use of online portals, the proptech in Pakistan is growing. As more house hunters are logging in to find homes, traditional agents and developers have had to buck up and change their outreach channels from traditional to digital. While there is still a widespread use of traditional methods, one can observe a steady shift in processes towards digital. The technologies that are being used in proptech in Pakistan vary across many domains and are in the fields of smart online listing portals, drones, mobile-friendly websites, and apps, augmented reality (AR) as well as virtual reality (VR) tours. Some startups here include:
The true Pakistani example that tells the tale of proptech in Pakistan is of entrepreneur brothers Zeeshan Ali Khan and Imran Ali Khan. Starting up from Lahore, the Khan brothers almost single-handedly gave birth to the Pakistan first real estate portal truly- Zameen.com. Started from a single room in 2006, today Zameen.com is an well known, trusted and award winning enterprise that allows users to search and buy real estate listings in Pakistan’s largest cities, with a simple app.
In 2006, Zameen.com and its team started the venture with much gusto only to realize that most of the Pakistani property market was undocumented and there was a dearth of reliable data. This, combined with culturally influenced economic norms like reliance on cash payments, made it very tough for Zameen, or any other startup to grow. Over time, they found innovative solutions to these problems like employing bike riders to collect cash from residents of larger cities.
Sukoon.com.pk is an online platform in Pakistan. They connect individuals looking for household services with top-quality, pre-screened and independent workers. This platform is accessible from electricians and painters to plumbers and carpenters. They instantly provide you the best, safest and affordable professionals at the touch of your fingertips. This is also the country’s1st online platform for connecting individuals looking for household services with top-quality, pre-screened independent workers.
Technology company Arazi Ventures aims to disrupt the real estate vertical by introducing innovative products and solutions. Arazi.pk Launched in 2015, Arazi.pk is also a product of Arazi Ventures that helps users with an online database of real estate offerings and brokerage services. Some of the other real estate websites in Pakistan are Pakistanrealestate.net, Meraghar.pk, Homespakistan.com and Propertylink.pk. These websites are helping in the growth of proptech in Pakistan.
The way forward for proptech in Pakistan
It is interesting to see the influx of funds and investment here, especially in proptech in Pakistan. Judging by everything we read and hear about the country, how is technology adaptation on the rise’ How is this seemingly struggling nation has one of the highest rates of cell phone usage and penetration in South Asia’ How is the sector of proptech in Pakistan flourishing’ The simple answer to all these questions is- It is not as bad as it is made out to be.
Yes, there are numerous issues in this developing nation like political instability, terrorism, poverty etc. But innovation has truly emerged to be the solution to deal with these problems effectively, and help lift the fog of the country’s international profile.
As for proptech in Pakistan, with an increased focus on disruptive technology like in AR and VR, the market is set to soar and grow exponentially in the coming few years.