COLABS, a Lahore-based co-working startup, has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Indus Valley Capital, Zayn Capital, and Fatima Gobi Ventures. The deal was also joined by Shorooq Partners, Kinnow Capital, Muir Capital, Sai Ventures, and some key angels, including Turner Novak, William Hockey, and Teddy Himler.
The startup was founded in 2019 by Omar Shah, former private equity and venture investor, and his twin brother Ali Shah, who operates the long-established family-run real estate and development firm SABCON, which designs and builds COLABS facilities. Its leadership team also includes Fatima Mazhar (COO) 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 in Lahore but has begun to offer additional services and tools to entrepreneurs and freelancers, including educational boot camps and a SaaS platform for back-office solutions such as business incorporation, talent sourcing and management, payroll processing, and legal and tax compliance.
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.”
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, to start and manage their businesses.”
“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” he added.
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.”