Sturgeon expands Pakistan investment team

Oct 24, 2022

Sturgeon Capital is thrilled to announce the expansion of its investment team with its latest hire -Saad Hasan. As a Principal based in Karachi (Pakistan), he will be integral to leading the firm’s investment activities in the country in addition to being a key member of Sturgeon’s Investment Committee for all early-stage investments.

Previously a senior member of the VC team at Pakistan’s largest bank, Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Saad has an extremely strong track record as an operator and an investor, and his joining furthers the firm’s long-term commitment to being an investor in the burgeoning technology eco-system in Pakistan.

Saad has a decade of experience as a founder, executive and investor in both emerging and developed markets. As an investor, he has worked for Morgan Stanley, Qatar Airways, and JLL handling diverse mandates in Corporate Development, Venture Capital, and Private Equity, primarily in emerging markets. From 2017 to 2019, Saad co-founded and successfully scaled Jrop, a North American Mapping as a Service company that pioneered last meter routing for ride-sharing companies.

In 2019, while visiting Pakistan, Saad was astounded at the penetration and growth of social media and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook, where more than 35m Pakistanis were monthly active users at the time (today, this number is estimated to be 60m). By contrast, mobile banking apps in Pakistan had less than 10m monthly active users across all financial services platforms. Including digital payments companies such as EasyPaisa and JazzCash (the number today is estimated to be 20m). This realisation led Saad to work with Foree and start working as an early operator in the rapidly Pakistan’s rapidly growing FinTech ecosystem before moving to an investor role at HBL in 2021.

Kiyan Zandiyeh (Sturgeon CEO): “We believe that local presence in our countries of focus to be vital both to our investment process and to the founders we invest with. Saad’s rich entrepreneurial background working as a founder and investor both internationally and in Pakistan will further our aim to invest in and help build the leading technology companies in the country and I couldn’t be more pleased to start working with him”.

Sturgeon Capital is a private investment boutique with $280m in AuM focused on Frontier Markets, with a particular focus on startups in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and Central Asia. Sturgeon has developed deep domain expertise in FinTech, B2B Software, and Marketplaces. The regions in which Sturgeon invest represents over half a billion population and one trillion dollars of GDP waiting to be digitalised. The Sturgeon team collaborates across its portfolio to share experiences and knowledge and has become a trusted partner for Pakistani startups in entering new markets and extending growth runways. Sturgeon’s portfolio of companies operating in Pakistan includes: ZoodPay, Trukkr, Finja, Medznmore and Abhi.