Monis Rahman probably has more entrepreneurial toughing-it-out stories than most startup entrepreneurs, and that’s because he built his startup from Pakistan. Rozee.pk is now the biggest jobs site in Pakistan, a success story highlighted by Forbes.Rahman, who worked in Silicon Valley before moving back to Pakistan because it was cheaper to get started, started out building a dating/matchmaking site, and built a quick and dirty job board on the side to bring in some revenue. The job board exploded and now he’s focusing on it.
And it’s not easy. Staff turnover is high. Most customers can’t pay online, so he sends people out on rickshaws to gather checks and even cash. And of course there’s the constant threat of instability and terrorism. Rahman recounts how he tried to reassure a potential investor by noting that the company was in Lahore where there had been no bombings, only for there to be a bombing the next day.
But the company is now cash-flow positive and has raised $2 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and ePlanet Ventures, and plans to expand to the Middle East. All in all, a highly inspirational story.