WeRaise

WERAISE

WeRaise is a new World Bank Group initiative that aims to address the fund raising gap by supporting high growth women-led companies in Pakistan to attract and raise capital to grow their businesses.

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In the last five years, women-led startups in Pakistan only raised 3% of the startup ecosystem’s total funding. WeRaise is a new World Bank Group initiative that aims to address this gap by supporting high growth capital women-led companies in Pakistan to attract and raise capital to grow their businesses. Powered by the Bank’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Finance Initiative (We-Fi), WeRaise is being implemented by Invest2Innovate (i2i)and global partners efino and Valhalla Private Capital.

Over the next two years, WeRaise will support 30+ women-led Pakistani companies – selected through a competitive process – in raising capital from investors in Pakistan and worldwide through an investment readiness and capital raising coaching and support program. Selected startups will benefit from a tailored and be-spoke coaching and support program, which will include hands-on guidance from world class investment readiness coaches, access to a pool of local and international mentors & experts, capital raising seminars and topical resources, and connections with investors, all in service to raising funding to grow & scale their companies.

The Program

In the last five years, women-led startups in Pakistan only raised 3% of the startup ecosystem’s total funding ($192 M). WeRaise is a new World Bank Group initiative that aims to address this gap by supporting high growth capital women-led companies in Pakistan to attract and raise capital to grow their businesses. Powered by the Bank’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Finance Initiative (We-Fi), WeRaise is being implemented by Invest2Innovate (i2i)and global partners efino and Valhalla Private Capital.

Over the next two years, WeRaise will support 30+ women-led Pakistani companies – selected through a competitive process – in raising capital from investors in Pakistan and worldwide through an investment readiness and capital raising coaching and support program. Selected startups will benefit from a tailored and be-spoke coaching and support program, which will include hands-on guidance from world class investment readiness coaches, access to a pool of local and international mentors & experts, capital raising seminars and topical resources, and connections with investors, all in service to raising funding to grow & scale their companies

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative partnership among 14 governments (Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States), eight multilateral development banks and other public and private stakeholders. Housed in the World Bank Group and launched in October 2017, We-Fi seeks to unlock billions of dollars in financing to tackle the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while strengthening policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. For more information, visit www.we-fi.org

Invest2Innovate has been a major player in the startup ecosystem in Pakistan since 2011, launching the country’s first startup accelerator program in 2012, which has now graduated nearly 50 companies. Their startups have gone on to raise over $7.5M in funding, 90% of which has been by their female-led companies. The company now supports startups via partnerships with players like the World Bank and Facebook , as well as other entrepreneurship support programs throughout Pakistan and the region, provides comprehensive research on the Pakistan startup ecosystem, and in 2019 launched i2i Ventures, its early stage VC fund for Pakistan & the country’s first female-founded fund.


Efino is filing in the startup finance gap led by experienced investors and entrepreneurs who have developed training and coaching methodologies to help startup raise. The efino team members have 10+ years of experience in strengthening entrepreneurial and investor ecosystems and  have worked with startups globally, including in Georgia, Lebanon, Egypt & Luxembourg, helping them to connect to investors & successfully raise capital.

Valhalla Private Capital  is an investor community-building program that unlocks capital for the other 99% of Small and Growing Business (SGBs) who don’t fit into a Silicon Valley Venture Capital Investment Thesis. The Valhalla Global team creates investment opportunities for new innovative ventures by one of Valhalla’s emerging market funds while creating long term relationships with local investors.  Since 2003, the firm and its investors have invested over $70M into over 240 plus companies on 5 continents and 12 countries with 30% of the companies founded by women.  It has pledged to invest $20 Million to women entrepreneurs through the Beyond the Billion Initiative.  Entrepreneurs who have taken VPC fundraising courses have gone on to raise $500 Million in additional capital.

  • One-on-One Coaching: The WeRaise program will carefully assess companies based on their needs & where they are in their capital raising process, and assign a core coach & a team of 2-3 supplementary coaches to help startups achieve their fundraising & growth goals. Core coaches will meet weekly or biweekly with their assigned company, and supplementary coaches will meet 1-2 times per month during the course of the program.
  • Webinars: WeRaise has designed curriculum to support startups in raising capital and growing their businesses over the course of the programs. Startup founders will gain access to founders led by WeRaise founders, as well local & international mentors from their extensive network.
  •  Peer-to-Peer Support: WeRaise recognizes that community is key for female-led companies building strong businesses. The program will include check-in and peer-to-peer feedback groups so that startups can receive continuous support & strengthen linkages with other companies selected for their cluster.
  • International & Local Mentors: WeRaise partners – i2i, efino & VPC – all have extensive networks of mentors & experts in Pakistan and internationally. Not only will WeRaise startups connect with potential international & local investors during the program, they will also connect with other experts who can mentor the companies on their business growth & fundraising process.
  • i2i Insights Team: Each company will receive assistance from i2i’s research team, Insights, to identify and fill in gaps in information and market research.
  • Audit services from a local accounting firm: An external reputable accounting firm in Pakistan, BDO, will help the companies during this program to conduct audits, which is an important part of a fund’s due diligence process (startups will have to pay the audit costs)
  • Virtual CFO: A dedicated resource will provide support on your financial model, projections, and valuation for your fundraising process. (WeRaise will cover these costs.)
  • Legal services: WeRaise will connect startups to reputable lawyers in the ecosystem to assist them in the capital raising process if needed (this will be paid for by the startups, though a subsidized rate will be negotiated by WeRaise on behalf of the selected companies).

COACHES

Brigitte Baumann

LEAD COACH

efino

Kalsoom Lakhani

PROGRAM ADVISOR AND SUPPORTING COACH

Invest2Innovate

Jan Lederman

LEAD COACH

Valhalla Private Capital

Maria Carolina Romero

LEAD COACH

efino

Mehvish Arifeen

PROGRAM MANAGER AND SUPPORTING COACH 

Invest2Innovate

Stewart (Randy) Thompson

SUPPORT COACH 

Valhalla Private Capital

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implementing partners

INVEST2INNOVATE

Invest2Innovate has been a major player in the startup ecosystem in Pakistan since 2011, launching the country’s first startup accelerator program in 2012, which has now graduated nearly 50 companies. Their startups have gone on to raise over $7.5M in funding, 90% of which has been by their female-led companies. The company now supports startups via partnerships with players like the World Bank and Facebook , as well as other entrepreneurship support programs throughout Pakistan and the region, provides comprehensive research on the Pakistan startup ecosystem, and in 2019 launched i2i Ventures, its early stage VC fund for Pakistan & the country’s first female-founded fund.

team

Kalsoom Lakhani

Founder i2i , Co-founder & general partner, i2iventures

Mehvish Arifeen

CEO

Armeen Khan

Project Coordinator

Sidra Amin

programs lead

Hamza Masud

Business & Operations Lead

Duaa Asif

MEDIA & MARKETING COORDINATOR

EFINO

Efino is filing in the startup finance gap led by experienced investors and entrepreneurs who have developed training and coaching methodologies to help startup raise. The efino team members have 10+ years of experience in strengthening entrepreneurial and investor ecosystems and  have worked with startups globally, including in Georgia, Lebanon, Egypt & Luxembourg, helping them to connect to investors & successfully raise capital.

team

Brigitte Baumann

founder

Maria Carolina Romero

partner

Clara Alonso

partner

Valhalla Private Capital

Valhalla Private Capital  is an investor community-building program that unlocks capital for the other 99% of Small and Growing Business (SGBs) who don’t fit into a Silicon Valley Venture Capital Investment Thesis. The Valhalla Global team creates investment opportunities for new innovative ventures by one of Valhalla’s emerging market funds while creating long term relationships with local investors.  Since 2003, the firm and its investors have invested over $70M into over 240 plus companies on 5 continents and 12 countries with 30% of the companies founded by women.  It has pledged to invest $20 Million to women entrepreneurs through the Beyond the Billion Initiative.  Entrepreneurs who have taken VPC fundraising courses have gone on to raise $500 Million in additional capital.

team

Jan Lederman

director

Mike Ducker

executive director

Stewart (Randy) Thompson

Chairman & CEO

Selection Criteria

WeRaise is a new World Bank Group initiative, powered by the Women’s Entrepreneurial Finance Initiative (We-Fi), and managed by implementing partners Invest2Innovate, efino and Valhalla Private Capital.

Female co-founded or founded (major shareholder) companies

Companies have initial market traction or are post-revenue

Founder(s) are full-time on their business

Companies have to be registered

Companies are raising funding and/or actively seeking investment (pre-seed to series A)

FAQs

Yes. This program is free, and WeRaise takes no fee even if a startup raises funding as a result of or while they’re in the program.

Our eligibility criteria include: 

  • Female co-founded or founded (50% or more) companies.
  • Companies have initial market traction/post-revenue.
  • Companies are registered companies (private limited entities if in Pakistan)
  • Founder(s) are full-time on their business.
  • Companies are raising seed-stage funding and/or actively seeking seed investment (pre-seed to post-seed).

The program will be virtual given the current COVID-19 scenario. However, we will revise for the future.

Clusters are more fluid and staggered to be flexible and allow entrepreneurs to enter as they are ready. It differs from a “cohort”-based model, which puts a grouping of entrepreneurs through a common program and is not as bespoke or flexible. For example, if a selected company comes into the program and raises funding within a month of WeRaise, they will exit the program, versus another company that requires more support over the course of a few months. The cluster model allows for more support and is customized for the needs of a startup.

 

WeRaise is a program by the World Bank’s We-Fi, and is implemented by i2i, as well as international partners efino & VPC. It is designed to be more hands-on, bespoke & focused on helping companies raise funding, exposing female-led companies to investors outside the Pakistan startup ecosystem.

Being part of WeRaise doesn’t guarantee that you will raise funding. We will connect you to investors, provide support through the process, and educate & help your business be investment-ready, but the rest is up to you. 

 

Yes. We are here to support companies through their capital-raising process. If you feel that is no longer a fit for your future strategy, we will support you in your decision to exit the program.

While the “cluster” model is loose, we will launch a kick off event on December 9th and 10th for all selected companies, followed by a program that will take place along with coaching & support until April 2021. Companies can continue to be part of the coaching element post-April if they have still not raised funding prior to the end of Cluster 1.