Lahore has been the starting point of a lot of successful startups. Even today, there are a lot of budding startups with potential to turn into unicorns someday. So, it’s fair to say that the startup culture is on the rise in the city. Among other things, the access to quality incubators plays an important role in success of a startup.
Lahore has a lot of quality incubators. In fact, Pakistan’s first startup incubator is based in Lahore. It was a Government project. Riding on it’s success, a lot of private ventures decided to chime in. And now we have quite a few of them. Here are the top 5 that every entrepreneur should be aware of:
5 Top Startup Incubators in Lahore
- Plan9 by PITB (Punjab Information Technology Board)
- National Incubation Center (NIC) LUMS Lahore
- Netsol NSPIRE
- The Founders Institute
- SOCIAL INNOVATION LAB
1. Plan9 by PITB
Plan9 is Pakistan’s largest technology incubator, and also among the first. It started operations in the summer of 2012 in Lahore. It’s brainchild of Dr. Umar Saif, and was set up by the Punjab Government. Over last few years, it has facilitated over 160 startups. That includes names like WifiGen, Markhor, Patari, BookMe.pk and many others who have made it big.
Plan9 offers startups with incubation services that include office space (with internet and electricity backup), mentoring and training, as well as network and investment opportunities. They also offer monthly stipends and help you improve your product.
Equity: Plan9 does not take any equity.
Incubation Period: 6 months
Incubation process has become tough over time tough. It happens twice a year, 15 startups are selected for each term. So, in a year they take no more than 30 startups.
Level 09, Arfa Software Technology Park, 346 – B
Ferozepur Road, Lahore
Phone: +92 42 3588 0062 extension: 1915
2. LUMS National Incubation Center (NIC) Lahore
National Incubation Center (NIC) LUMS Lahore, formerly LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE), is one of the few incubators that support startups focused on emerging market needs. Environment, Energy, Water, Food, and Education are prime areas of focus for NIC Lahore. The fact that it’s based in one of Pakistan’s top universities makes it one of the most sought after incubators. Startups like Maro Tandoors, NearPeer, AutoGenie, Beauty Hooked, and ShadiBox have graduated from LCE.
NIC is situated in LUMS campus and provides office space, networking, training and development facilities. It’s core focus is to help startups get investment. Over the past few years, different startups have collectively raised $22 million from different investors.
Equity: NIC is not a non-profit organization. They take equity in return of their services.
Contact NIC Lahore
Basement, Syed Babar Ali School of Science & Engineering
LUMS, Lahore 54000
Phone: +92 42 35608439
3. Netsol NSPIRE
NSPIRE is a relatively new entrant. Established by one of Pakistan’s biggest and most reputed software houses: Netsol. Despite being new, the incubator has made quite a name for itself.
In addition to basic facilities like office space, mentoring and networking, NSPIRE gives startups access to the Netsol’s talent pool. This helps solve complex problems and makes your life easier.
NETSOL Technologies Ltd
Ghazi Road Interchange, Ring Road
Lahore Cantt 54792 Pakistan
4. The Founders Institute
This is the newest startup incubator in Lahore. But it’s not new in Pakistan. And most definitely not new globally. In fact, it is one of the most popular pre-seed startup accelerators globally. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, The Founders Institute have been operating since 2009 and have spread across 60 countries. They have helped over 3,000 companies raise over $700 million in capital collectively.
In September 2018, the Lahore Founder Institute started operations. Since launch, they have arranged several events focusing on startups. So if you are a startup, keep an eye on when they would be open to accepting applications.
Founders Institute Lahore FB page: www.facebook.com/founderInstituteLhr/
5. Social Innovation Lab (SIL) Lahore
Social Innovation Lab is another international consultancy firm that offers incubation services to startups. They have 2 programs: The Hatchery, and Innovation Hive. The Hatchery is more focused on early stage startups. In this program, they select a group of individuals and run them through a rigorous mentorship program.
SIL have run 7 The Hatchery programs to date with more than 70 startups. With 90% of them being successful. That’s pretty good success rate.
There are more that can be added to the list of course, but this list encapsulates the top 5 startup accelerators/incubators in Lahore. All of them provide mentoring and grooming services. And most of them also offer office space. Plan9 being a Government venture, also offers monthly stipends.