In 2011, Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali, a couple from Pakistan, started an online retail store called Markhor for handcrafted leather shoes, however, national bank regulations made it very difficult for Pakistanis to accept online payments. So, in 2014, Ali applied for a B-1 Visa reserved for short-term business trips to travel to the U.S. and open a bank account there. Today, as the couple starts their second business, an online retailer for minimalist sneakers, the market is changing in ways that would seem to favor entrepreneurs from the developing world. The low cost of essential business services like cloud computing has made online entrepreneurship possible from almost anywhere. At the same time, inexpensive smartphones and a growing middle class have created demand for new products and services in developing countries such as Pakistan.

 

Venture capitalists have already invested nearly $8 billion into developing countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and Pakistan) in the first 10 months of 2018, a 40 percent increase from all of 2017, according to data from the investment analytics platform Pitchbook. “More venture capital is going to the developing world because that's where the growth opportunity is,” stated Dave Richards, a managing partner at Capria. Richards believes that burgeoning tech ecosystems in the developing world, and the millions of potential customers there, have made it an attractive place to invest. Now that prominent venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and private-equity firms like TPG have started investing in emerging markets, other early-stage investors are following suit.

 

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