InterApp, Pakistan’s first augmented reality (AR) startup, said on Wednesday that it raised $1.2 million in a pre-seed funding round.

According to a press release, the purpose of the funding by a US-based capital firm was to “make AR a necessary consumer tool and an opportunity for creators to sell their NFT (non-fungible token) on the InterApp marketplace that is currently in beta phase.”

The press release said that InterApp changes how people interact with print designs, by making them “live using AR in real time”. Creators can turn their designs into NFT and make them interactive with zero coding experience, the statement added.

InterApp said its vision was to bridge the gap between the digital and physical realms in the consumer industry, adding that the investment would be used to boost marketing efforts and acquire 10 per cent of the total addressable market within a year.

“The value this project can bring to brands and consumers can be a game-changing improvement. This step marks it as a landmark in the venture capital landscape of the digital world.”

The startup was founded by Ahmed Malik, Ali Ahmed, Jameel Qureshi and William Class, and is based out of Lahore and Austin.

OrbitEd raises $500,000 in pre-seed round

OrbitEd, an Islamabad-based educational technology (ed-tech) startup using AR, also announced raising $500,000 from Silicon Valley-based Boost VC in a pre-seed funding round, taking its total funding to $800,000.

According to a press release, OrbitEd is the first firm from Pakistan operating in the local market to secure money from BoostVC and the second entirely female-led startup from the country to secure venture capital.

The press release said that Navera Waheed and Wajeeha Habib initiated the startup in 2018 with the aim to “revolutionise traditional classroom learning”. Using AR, the startup recreated school curriculum in a more interactive smartphone application containing 3D visualisation of textbooks, the statement added.

It said that last year, the duo launched into the enterprise training industry.

“With the combined knowledge of the founders’ 14 years in e-learning, 14 years in startup sales and 10 years in AR/VR (virtual reality), we promptly developed an immersive training that contained our best business practices for sales. Our startup experienced 189pc revenue growth. This is how we discovered a new potential market”, the press release quoted Waheed as saying.

Habib said OrbitEd will help “thousands of people advance personally and professionally, fostering economic mobility throughout the region”.

CaterpillHERs partners with Upwork for freelancing coaching

Meanwhile, CaterpillHERs, a Pakistan-based company that helps women launch and scale their businesses and careers, said it partnered with Upwork to provide women in the company’s cohort access to coaching on Upwork Academy.

“As part of the collaboration, members of the CaterpillHERs career accelerator program will receive tools, resources, and coaching related to working and succeeding on the Upwork platform,” a press release from the company reads.

Founder and CEO Hira Saeed said the partnership would allow the company to bridge the gender gap in the freelancing industry by proving women access to
learning tools and coaching.

“The hands-on coaching from Upwork’s team makes the platform more approachable and less scary for these aspiring freelancers,” the press release quoted CaterpillHERs Director Faiza Yousuf as saying.

Upwork Vice President of Community Fran Murphy said the platform was “proud” to provide the coaching so the women could grow and engage more readily with the freelancing marketplace.

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