Friday, February 1, 2013

2 Pakistani-American Startups Among Top 5 Silicon Valley VC Deals

Latest funding of Ashar Aziz's FireEye and Zia Yusuf's Streetline rank #1 and #4 among top 5 VC deals in Silicon Valley announced in January 2013, according to Silicon Valley Business Journal.

FireEye is riding high on a wave of growing cyber security concerns amidst increasing cyber attacks being reported almost daily from around the globe. FireEye's founder Asgar Aziz is among the top recognized experts in the field of Internet and computer security. With the recent $50 million round from top investors, the company has raised $100 million to date. The new funding comes from new and existing investors — including Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs, Juniper Networks, Silicon Valley Bank, and others.

Streetline is offering smartphone applications to help drivers find the increasingly scarce parking spots in crowded places. The company bills itself as "the leading provider of smart parking solutions to cities, garages, airports, universities and other private parking providers". The company has raised $25 million in January, 2013 from True Ventures, with participation by new investors Qualcomm Ventures and Citi and existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners and Fontinalis Partners. The company has now raised a total of $40 million, and it says it recently obtained a $25 million credit facility from Citi, too.

Another Pakistani-American who has been in the news is Rayid Ghani who served as the Chief Scientist in President Obama's re-election campaign organization. Before joining the Obama Campaign, Ghani worked for Accenture as Chief Scientist  and developed tools to mine mountains of private data of client corporations to find statistical patterns that could forecast consumer behavior. Instead of just using Facebook for posting messages and tracking its followers’ feelings, Ghani's team turned social media into a tool for efficiently recruiting the human resources it needed leading into the election’s home stretch.

Using Ghani's tools, the Obama campaign was able to match up supporters’ friends' profiles with voting lists and decide how it should reach out to supporters to reach their friends through micro-targeting. If someone was going to spread a message to 10 people, the campaign wanted to ensure they reached 10 people most likely to take actions such as donate money, get active knocking on doors or even to switch sides.

Pakistani-Americans Ashar, Ghani, Zia and many other entrepreneurs and professionals like them from Asia represent a dramatic shift in   Silicon Valley's racial mix over the last few  decades. I have been a witness to this historic change. When I arrived here to join Intel in 1981, there were few non-whites in the Valley. In fact, I was the only nonwhite person in a picture of the six-member award winning Intel 80386 CPU design team which was published by the PC Magazine in 1988.

Standing L to R: Riaz Haq, Jan Prak, Gene Hill, Pat Gelsinger, John Crawford     Sitting: Dave Vannier

My experience of the demographic changes in this high-tech valley is not just anecdotal. It's supported by data compiled by the local San Jose Mercury newspaper in 2010. The data shows that 49% of Intel employees are now Asian, a full 7% more than whites. In Silicon Valley, the difference is even more pronounced with Asians accounting for 53.9% of the employees versus 37.6% white workers.

 With Asians accounting for just 15.5% of the high-tech work force nationally, Silicon Valley's high-tech racial mix is also very different from the rest of the country. Silicon valley's employee pool also differs in terms of under-representation of Blacks, Hispanics and women relative the national averages.

 Among Asian-Americans, Pakistani-Americans are the 7th largest community in America, according to a report titled "A Community of Contrasts Asian Americans in the United States: 2011" published by Asian-American Center For Advancing Justice.  Pakistani-American population has doubled from 204,309 in 2000 to 409,163 in 2010, the second largest percentage increase after Bangladeshis' 157% increase in the same period.

The total fertility rate in the United States is now at 2.06, just enough to maintain the current level of US population. It's possible mainly due to the history of relatively liberal US immigration policy. If US immigration policy is tightened in response to pressures from various labor organizations and the traditional anti-immigration groups, the US fertility rate is likely to dip and hurt the US economy which needs more workers to pay for the retiree benefits of the growing population of senior citizens. Already, many US multinational corporations have added 1.5 million workers to their payrolls in Asia and the Pacific region from 1999 to 2009, and 477,500 workers in Latin America, according to US Commerce Dept data as reported by the Wall Street Journal. If the businesses can not find workers in the United States, they are more likely to continue to accelerate moving jobs elsewhere, depriving the US government the revenue it needs to balance its budget.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Edible Arrangements: Pakistani-American's Success Story

Pakistani-American Elected Mayor

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

US Firms Adding Jobs Overseas 

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistanis Study Abroad

Pakistan's Youth Bulge

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest

Pakistani-American NFL Team Owner

Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs Catch the Wave

Pakistani Graduation Rate Higher Than India's


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report on social entrepreneurship in Pakistan:

The social enterprise landscape in Pakistan is nascent but fast-growing. From diverse sectors ranging from dairy farms to educational hubs to micro drip irrigation, early-stage enterprises have the potential of achieving hybrid financial return and social impact. Crucially, they are attracting interest from impact investors and business angels alike.

But how can these entrepreneurs be better financed, nurtured and trained?

Crucially, funding for small enterprises should meet the specific needs of the entrepreneur from seed financing to venture capital to growth equity. Social entrepreneurs need financial, but also non-financial, support such as mentoring, implementation guidance, and skills training development. Business school 'accelerator' programs and incubator hubs, which aim to accelerate the development of successful enterprises through such support mechanisms, combined with strong policy frameworks, can help create a long-term, self-sustaining ecosystem.

A report launched today by the Economic Policy Group (EPG) explores how incubator hubs can unlock the innovation potential of Pakistan's social entrepreneurs.

Successful incubator models already exist in some of Pakistan's premier business schools. The country's top business school, the IBA in Karachi, has in fact launched a partnership with Invest2Innovate (i2i), a social impact intermediary, to fast track the best entrepreneurs through its i2i Accelerator, a four-month program providing access to quality entrepreneurship education, skills, and opportunities.

"The IBA-i2i partnership helps start-ups who have passion and ability, but not the resources, to start their own businesses. It is a necessary step for growing and scaling viable businesses in the Pakistani market," says Kalsoom Lakhani, founder of i2i.

Other independent incubators across Pakistan, such as the Pasha Social Innovation Fund and Women's Business Incubation Centre, work with entrepreneurs across demographic segments in both rural and urban areas. The rise in popularity of these players is largely due to their ability to harness technology and digital media as communication platforms to empower entrepreneurs.

In the northern areas of Pakistan, where honey is one of the main agricultural commodities, Hashoo Foundation's Honeybee Project provided women beekeepers with beehives, as well as the associated training programmes to transfer this specialised skill-set to the wider community.
According to Dr Iman Bibars, regional director of Ashoka Arab World, "creating awareness for the potential of entrepreneurship among policymakers, relevant institutions and the public at large is essential to help establish an enabling environment that social entrepreneurs can flourish in."

On a macro level, the investment in human talent and institutions will raise both investor confidence and entrepreneurial confidence in the country. By changing minsets through incubator hubs, education, mentoring and training programmes, a strong enabling environment for social entrepreneurship can be fostered in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday report of a Silicon-Valley based Pakistani-American VC Faysal Suhail's Pak visit:

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has great opportunity to tap the true potential of Venture Capital for job creation and acceleration of economic growth on sustainable grounds. “Pakistan is having potential as well as talent to promote venture capital to strengthen its economy,” Faysal Sohail, Managing Director of CMEA Capital in San Francisco USA told APP in an interview.
The American experts was accompanied by Matthew Boland, Deputy Press Officer-Deputy Spokesman of US Embassy in Islamabad and Ambassador Shahid Kamal and Advisor Science, Technology and Innovation Organization (STIO).
It is pertinent to mention here that Faysal Sohail is currently visiting Pakistan to explore venture capital potential in various fields of economy with special focus on energy sector.
He was of the view that although venture capital was a new idea for Pakistan but it has the potential to boost the country’s economy by utilizing the vast talent of its young generation.
He said that complying with Islamic ideology, Venture Capital is risk-based capital for entrepreneurship with prospects of good returns on investments.
Faysal Sohail said the venture capital sector was investment-friendly as risk was shared by both investor and owner of the project. It provides an opportunity of sharing capital and skills through a mutual venture, he added. Replying to a question, Faysal said in Pakistan the energy sectors, including solar and other alternative energies, web, software and commerce, including e-commerce, and third generation mobile technologies were the major sectors which could boost national economy and create job opportunities.
He said during the last 20 years, 100 per cent new jobs created in the United States were through venture capital, so this sector had great potential for Pakistan also.
“Venture capital is like life-blood for various companies”, he remarked.
Replying to another question, he said Pakistan and the United States have a lot of potential for collaboration in the field of venture capital and in this regard Pak-US Business Council and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) could play an important role.
The venture capital expert stressed the need for highlighting the new idea of venture capital in Pakistan so that people as well as the entrepreneurs take optimum benefit of the important sector.
“Since the economic growth is driven by small and medium size enterprises, the venture capital can play an important role to boost the economy on sustainable grounds,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on academia promoting entrepreneurship among students:

LAHORE: Government College University Lahore’s Economics Department, in collaboration with Entrepreneurial Development and Advisory Services (EDAS), Pakistan, organised a one-day seminar, on the “Role of educational institutions in entrepreneurship ecosystems”.

The seminar was attended by academia, entrepreneurs, public sector representatives and students. Speakers included renowned academics, notable business personalities and organic entrepreneurs of Pakistan. SPEL Group CEO Almas Hyder, a founding member of EDAS, introduced the topic of the seminar and spoke succinctly about the need to bridge the gap between industry and academia to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. He stressed the role of government as a facilitator of knowledge-based interaction between the university and business so that research and ideas could flow seamlessly and become economic value by means of the market. He highlighted the role EDAS had played in collaboration with GC University’s Economics Department in the introduction of the Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and SME Management. The purpose of the course of study, he shared with the audience, was to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit in students and underscore the role played by SMEs in fostering innovation in Pakistan. Fifteen percent course graduates went on to become entrepreneurs, he said, and the goal was to turn ten percent of Ravians into entrepreneurs every year.

Amer Hashmi, himself a successful entrepreneur with global experience in business creation and management and currently the Adviser to Rector National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and President, NUST Global Think Tank Network (GTTN), delivered the keynote address. His address presented a comprehensive kaleidoscope of various successful initiatives taken by NUST to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. NUST’s Corporate Advisory Council (CAC), he informed the audience, was the key body in the university for consolidating the triple helix interaction and collaboration between university, business and academia.

CAC had played a key part in bridging different NUST schools with relevant industries through a unique organisational structure that ensured two-way flow of feedback and information between NUST and industry centred on industry-commissioned R&D at NUST. CAC partners included top domestic and international business and corporate entities like Indus Motors, Millat Group, Huawei Technologies, Oracle, Microsoft, Allied Bank, Interactive Group, etc.

Hashmi explained GTTN was a key initiative of NUST aimed at establishing policy research and knowledge partnerships with renowned academic and non-academic think tanks in China, US, Russia, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The first of the planned series of think tank collaborations with Tsinghua University, Beijing, had been successfully functioning since early 2012. The vision of GTTN was to create a pool of viable policy options in critical sectors of national socio-economic development which were also regionally and globally applicable with the potential to create peace, prosperity and harmony in the region.

NUST Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was actively helping commercialise technology produced from university research and had established an advanced business incubation centre that housed companies involved in cutting edge technology business market globally. NUST had recently completed the pre-feasibility for its National Science and Technology Park (NSTP), the first proper university-hosted science park in Pakistan ...\03\13\story_13-3-2013_pg13_6

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Texas TV reporters' story on visit with some high-tech Pak graduates of UT Austin in Lahore:

LAHORE, Pakistan (KXAN) - It was a beautiful late winter day in Pakistan. The Zacky Farms outside of Lahore was busy with visitors taking advantage of the national holiday to visit the countryside.

Kids squealed with delight as they clambered onto the back of a hay truck offering free rides in front of the farm. Just inside the white washed front gates framed by butter-cream yellow walls accented with ceramic mosaics in shades of blue, tables were set for an outdoor feast.

Our delegation of was visiting Zacky Farms to learn about the sustainable agriculture trends becoming popular in Pakistan. Zacky was a model for turning biogas into power the growing operation that produces organic dairy products, vegetables, and wheat along with free range chickens.

Here, cutting-edge science and technology were being used to rethink how farms are run. I guess it should have come as no surprise I’d run into University of Texas Longhorns using their knowledge and expertise to plant the seeds for a stronger workforce to power Pakistan’s emerging tech industry.

Longhorns in Lahore

“We have really high-powered engineering teams here in Lahore,” said Abbas Yousafzai, CEO of Conrad Labs. a Lahore company specializing in engineering and development support for high tech start-up companies.

Conrad launched in 2009 as the research and development arm for Conformity -- now known as Iron Stratus -- an identity management and internet based single-sign-on startup in Austin.

Yousafzai, a University of Texas at Austin graduate with more than a decade of experience launching successful startups in Austin and California’s Silicon Valley says returning to his native Pakistan was a strategic that allows his company access to a vast network of untapped talent.

“The dedication the intelligence, the amount of talent here, commitment experience, it’s fantastic. You can’t find that anywhere else,” Yousafzai said.

Babar Ahmed, a fellow Longhorn, and CEO of Mindstorm Studios agreed.

“There are a lot of these pockets of brilliance that really come to life in Pakistan that just do these amazing things,” Ahmed said pointing to his company’s success creating games like Mafia Farm, Whacksy Taxi and Cricket Revolution for mobile devices and PCs as proof.

“Our games have hit No. 1 n the United States sitting in Lahore.” said Ahmed. "We did it all out of a room on our own.”

Mindstorm developers also created Cricket Power, The Official Game of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. A high-profile coup that validated what some saw as Ahmed’s risky decision to leave a successful career in the United States to launch a business in Pakistan in 2006.

“If you were to say: ‘Hey, how is it coming back to Pakistan is it all a bed of roses?’ Of course it’s not,” admitted Ahmed, who believes the challenges are worth the reward not only for his company but the growing software, gaming, and animation community in Pakistan.

“Giving people that opportunity, to provide them that chance to try and compete and succeed globally that’s really fulfilling,” he added with a wide smile....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a National Geographic story on sustainable farming in Pakistan:

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.

Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in her family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story of a Pakistani tech entrepreneur recognized at MIT:

Farhan Masood, who has been recognised among the world’s brilliant minds by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum earlier this year for his product – world’s fastest retina and face scanner algorithm called SmartXS.
Masood’s dream – to build a Pakistani product and turn it into a global one – came true this year after he won the MITEFP Business Acceleration Plan contest, a highly competitive annual event that lasts for 4 months to handpick and select one among hundreds and there is one such brilliant mind produced every year by BAP from Pakistan. The objective of BAP is to help Pakistani IT, ITES, telecom and new media companies improve their business.
Of the 165 participants that compete in this contest, some members of top teams also get a chance to attend an entrepreneurship development programme at MIT in Cambridge, USA.

After a winning performance in the contest, Masood joined the list of MIT alumni. He has just returned after attending a course at MIT, one of the world’s best educational institutes. Those who attended this programme previously had benefited a great deal.
According to Pakistan Software Export Board’s website, some of the companies that participated in this programme saw their revenues grow by 5 to 10 times and valuation increase by 15 times. Giving the example of Sofizar, the PSEB’s website stated that the company’s revenue increased from less than $1 million to $30 million in two and a half years.
Masood, too, seem to benefit from the programme as his product has been well received by both MITEFP and the industries worldwide. “MIT Enterprise Forum has done tech evaluation of SmartXS, which is a big achievement,” Masood told The Express Tribune. “When your product is recognised by MIT, there is not much you can ask for.”
Interestingly, the man behind this technology is a college dropout who hated math for he was weak in the subject. “I have got all of this achievement because of my passion,” the 36-year-old Lahorite said.
Masood is the CEO of Solo Smart that’s based in Lahore and has offices in the UK and USA, represented by its subsidiaries namely Solo Tech and Solo Metrics respectively. It also has an office in Australia.
“We are trying to bring all these companies under one name – Solo Metrics. It is a high-tech company that deals in Mechatronics – a combination of software, electrical and mechanical engineering,” he said.
SmartXS is a biometric verification system that uses human face and eye to verify his identity, Masood said, and works mainly in two spaces – workforce management and security access control.
“Our algorithm is very fast,” he said while claiming it is the world’s fastest retina and face scanner algorithm.
The product was first brought to life in 2005 and its hardware was as big as a refrigerator, but now it’s smaller than a PC, Masood said. It has started to get worldwide recognition.
He said his product is currently used by the National Database and Registration Authority, the Pakistan Army and many multinational groups including Pepsico, Nestle and Tetra Pak. These companies are in talks with Masood for the implementation of the technology in their global operations....

Riaz Haq said...

Lots of places want to become the "next Silicon Valley." But that's much easier said than done, according to a new study from the Kauffman Foundation.

The study compares the nation's top 20 large metros in terms of high-tech start-up density in 1990 and 2010. San Jose leads in both periods. And although the order has shifted a bit, every single one of the top 10 metro areas in 2010 was among the top 20 in 1990. ...Only five of the top 20 in 2010 — Portland, Wilmington, Phoenix, Kansas City and New Orleans — weren't among the most tech-dense cities twenty years ago. Even metros that have begun to climb the high tech ranks recently, like Kansas City and Portland, really "owe their emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems to many years of spinoffs and entrepreneurial spawning," the report notes.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Yahoo Finance news on Pakistani start-up Convo getting $5 million from US VC Morgenthaler Ventures:

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Convo, a cloud-based collaboration service, today announced a $5 million Series-A investment from Morgenthaler Ventures. This financing is the company's first investment by an institutional venture capital firm. The funding will be used to evolve its offerings, introduce their service on more platforms, and accelerate user reach and growth.

Convo is a multi-platform service designed to allow teams to share and work together simply and naturally by combining discussions with messaging, images, docs, presentations and PDFs.

Since 2012, Convo has seen exceptionally high levels of engagement in their paying accounts, with an average monthly-active over daily-active ratio of 75%, which is noticeably higher than even the 30% of most social games.

Convo is available across all major platforms and has launched versions of its software for Windows, Mac, Web, iPhone, and Android.

"We built our company with slim resources and a small team, and therefore are excited about our prospects with Morgenthaler Ventures in our corner. They have helped companies at our stage and with our enterprise focus grow exponentially," said Faizan Buzdar, founder and CEO of Convo. "Our immediate priority is to use the new infusion of capital to continue delivering a service that meets the ease-of-use, reliability, and security demands of our customers."

Said Rebecca Lynn, Partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, "We have been amazed at the level of engagement we have seen from Convo's early customers, including many global brands. These organizations won't settle for inconsistent, light-weight solutions. Multinational organizations have selected Convo after putting them through a battery of security tests. There are collaboration services you use to run chit chat, and there are those that run your company. Convo is relied on for the latter."

"Looking across our portfolio, there is a common trait amongst our entrepreneurs, one of extraordinary tenacity and vision, which Faizan has in spades," said Alex Nigg, Venture Partner, Morgenthaler Ventures. "Faizan started his business in Pakistan, moved it to San Francisco, and overcame considerable odds to attract a list of loyal customers from around the world."

About Convo

Convo ( is designed to help any group of people working together to achieve great things. Convo allows creative and innovative teams to easily have the real-time conversations needed to advance a cutting-edge campaign, launch a new product or break the latest news story. Convo, an interactive workspace, is made for people who thrive on the creative process and who want to "get there first." The company (formerly Scrybe) has recently reincorporated in the United States and is headquartered in San Francisco with an offshore office in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's TechViewAsia on start-up incubator in Lahore, Pakistan:

With a country that has been plagued by various negative connotations in recent years and has been notoriously labelled for being the most dangerous place on earth, it is certainly a surprising fact that Plan9 has created a niche for itself as the most reliable gateway of Pakistani tech industry at national and international levels.

Pakistan has bagged itself an incubator which is competing against time to be the greatest and largest tech/ business incubator not only in the country but also in the Asian region. Punjab Information Technology Board took the plunge and Dr. Umar Saif pulled the right strings to drive the creative chaos along the right direction.

It has incubated around 30 startups over the past one year, 20 have survived and 10 have failed. Some have reached milestones while a few reached to the conclusion that entrepreneurship might not be their cup of tea.

“Tech entrepreneurship is such a powerful concept that if inculcated meticulously can totally rebrand Pakistan and Plan9 is just one such stepping stone,” says Nabeel A. Qadeer who heads this initiative and has huge yet promising plans for 2014.

Currently, Plan9 is acting as a haven for early stage startups that are in dire need of a push to get into the market. Its vast network of mentors from all over the world who are fully committed towards the cause and vision of the incubation programme have facilitated the process in numerous ways.

Why the Need for Plan9?

Plan9 envisions to lay foundations of, and developing an entrepreneurial eco-system, to support the staggering economy of Pakistan. A multi-dimensional strategy has been adopted to achieve this.

A significant percentage of the literate population leaves the country as a consequence of ‘Brain Drain’; by providing economic opportunities to them along with mentoring of white-collared employees of the tech industry, Plan9 aims to retain outstanding IT talents in the country.

The long-term goal of investment by the provincial government is to invite job creators instead of job seekers with the intention of bringing equilibrium and stability, even sustainability, to the job market.

The working model of this incubation programme is different than that of top rated business incubators globally; neither incubation fee is charged for the services provided; nor is equity sought for investment. All facilities are given free of cost for a period of 6 months in every cycle.

Meet the Startups

The third cohort of Plan9 is bursting with immense energy and amazing ideas. Here is what they are working on and their products cater to the needs of local and international markets simultaneously:

Apppulp: Measure a video game’s quality by using one major factor: its ability to engage users over and again.

Appography: Mobile app ‘Vivid’ enables users to tackle customer service issues—by “ending the endless wait and annoyance of a customer service call” Online travel portal caters to the inbound needs of Pakistani travelers.

Bu Bio Tech: Develops prosthetic hands that work on neural networks of the human body.

OneStep Solutions: Reinvents driving around smartphone to unlock real-time vehicle information.

Multiplex Pakistan: Develops online specialty stores focusing primarily on baby products.

404 Solutions: Develops a GPS enabled bus tracking system. A communication portal between students and universities.

Nutrionize: Developing an online directory helping people identify, connect and review local doctors in their areas.

Court Piece: Development of online versions of Pakistan’s traditional social games.

Pak CNC: CNC Water Jet cutting-machine for industrial purposes.

FANZ Solution: Online ticketing of bus travel.

ServeMe: An online service to connect blue-collar workers to clients.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistani-American NEDian Rehan Jalil's Cloud Security Startup Elastica Comes Out Of Stealth With $6.3M From Mayfield via @techcrunch

Elastica, a cloud security startup launched in 2012, is coming out of stealth mode with $6.3 million in Series A funding from the Mayfield Fund. The startup is also launching its new apps that offer real-time threat detection and even post-incident forensic analysis.

As more enterprises embrace SaaS and other cloud-based services, they are increasingly feeling the need to have a different approach to security beyond just traditional firewalls. This shift means over $2 billion annual market for cloud security vendors like Elastica. As Gartner noted last year, the highest growth is forecast to occur in cloud-based tokenisation and encryption, security information and event management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment and web application firewalls.

Elastica joins a fast growing club of cloud security startups promising to combine data science and in some instances even machine learning tools to help companies and employees secure SaaS data. There’s huge investor interest in the segment and some of the biggest names in the enterprise software world are backing many of these startups.

Elastica was founded in 2012 by Rehan Jalil, former CEO of WiChorus, which was sold to Tellabs for $165 million in 2009.

Khan said...

Pakistanis are going to start getting euphoric but I wonder if he even takes pride in his Pakistani heritage, I have seen many Pakistani dual nationals who are just as anti Pakistani as any westerner, if not more.

Riaz Haq said...

Khan: "Pakistanis are going to start getting euphoric but I wonder if he even takes pride in his Pakistani heritage, I have seen many Pakistani dual nationals who are just as anti Pakistani as any westerner, if not more."

They do more than raise empty slogans about "patriotism"...they actually invest money and create jobs as NEDians Rehan Jalil, Naveed Sherwani and Idris Kothari have done by setting up development and design centers in Pakistan.

Mayraj said...

In the past few days, shares of security company FireEye have gone absolutely bonkers, turning the company's founder into an instant billionaire.
FireEye hit a high of $96 at the close of market Wednesday, though they are dropping today, down to about $92 at the time of publication.

Shares were up incredible 377% over its IPO price of $20 from just six months ago, in September.

The spike is so tempting, the company will cash in with a secondary offering that hits on Friday. It's selling another 5,582,215 shares. Should today's price hold, that will put about $514 million into its coffers, more than the roughly $300 million it raised with its IPO.

Other stakeholders are cashing in, too. They'll be selling 8,417,785 shares of their own. At $92 a pop, these investors and execs will nab $774 million.

All of it has been an insane ride for FireEye's founder and largest stakeholder, Ashar Aziz.

He owns a 7.8% stake with 10,835,000 shares, worth just over $1 billion when the share price reached $93. He's also one of the people cashing out, selling 1,043,904 of his shares, according to SEC documents.

The even bigger winners are VC firms Sequoia and Northwest Ventures, each with a roughly 15% stake and about 21 million shares.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Like all things apple, the tech giant’s Apple Pay promises to be a game changer. In this case, iPhone users are now able to securely and privately make swipe-free payments at, to begin with, some 220,000 stores in the U.S. using credit and debit card information stored on their devices. One of the seven men behind this bigger-and-better product is Pakistan’s Ahmer Ali Khan.

Khan, 38, hails from Rawalpindi, graduated from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology—where friends knew him as The Programmer—and moved to Silicon Valley in 2000. He worked a number of short tech gigs until landing his first full-time job at a startup. On his first day there, Khan was asked if he knew the Java computer language. He didn’t. But he was ambitious and determined. “‘I promise I will know it by tomorrow,’” Raza Shaukat Latif, a friend of Khan’s, recalls him as saying at the time. “Sure enough, he bought a book and crammed the entire night.” By morning, Khan knew the language. “That is just how brilliant he is,” Latif told Newsweek. “He has had the tech bug in him for a very long time.”

It was at the now-defunct ViVOtech, a company specializing in Near Field Communication software, that Khan first tried his hand at building a cellphone-based, contactless payment system. In 2011, Apple picked Khan to work on its “top secret” digital payment system aimed at revolutionizing shopping and, potentially, retail banking.

In February, Khan and six other co-inventors filed their patent for what Apple CEO Tim Cook would unveil to the world on Sept. 9 as Apple Pay. It “will forever change the way all of us buy things,” Cook said at the launch in Cupertino of the new technology, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

Khan lives in Milpitas, California, with his wife and two children. Citing Apple rules, he declined to comment for this piece.

Apple Pay allows a shopper to simply hold his Apple device, an iPhone or the Apple Watch, which comes out next year, to a contactless reader to make payments, which are confirmed as transmitted through a short vibration or beep. Credit and debit cards can be added to the device’s Passbook app using the phone camera. All transactions are entirely secure and private, says Apple.

“With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone and Apple Watch,” it says. “These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.”

In case the device is lost or stolen, banking and other information can be deleted remotely.

Google Wallet preceded Apple Pay but failed to take off and replace plastic. Apple’s recent past is a good indication that with Khan and team’s Apple Pay, it will hit pay dirt.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's WSJ on Silicon Valley VC gender bias trial:

A decade after hiring Ellen Pao as his technical chief of staff, prominent venture capitalist John Doerr faced her in court Tuesday, defending Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers against Pao’s claims of sex discrimination and retaliation.

In more than five hours of testimony, Doerr retraced Pao’s trajectory through Kleiner Perkins, from a staffer who described herself as his “surrogate daughter,” to a disgruntled junior partner who felt she was repeatedly snubbed for promotions and choice assignments.

With Pao’s mother watching from the front row, Doerr said he wanted Ajit Nazre, a Kleiner Perkins partner who engaged in a consensual affair with Pao in 2006 to be fired. The trial is taking place in San Francisco Superior Court.

Doerr said he ultimately agreed that Nazre not be fired because other partners wanted to keep him and because Pao and Nazre said they could work together.

“You relented,” Pao’s attorney, Alan Exelrod, said. “That was a factor,” Doerr said. But, he added, the firm told Nazre, “if he did this again he’d be terminated.”

Kleiner Perkins partners reduced Nazre’s bonus in 2007 as punishment for the affair. “But his biggest punishment was that I told him I’d lost confidence in his ability to be a leader of the firm, and he’d have to regain that confidence,” Doerr told Exelrod.

The following year, Nazre was promoted to senior partner, even though Doerr said he had reservations about Nazre’s trustworthiness. “I don’t remember how I voted, but the partnership voted, and [Partner Emeritus] Ray Lane was a strong supporter,” Doerr said.

Doerr hired Pao in 2005 as part of what Doerr called “Team JD,” which meant she helped him manage his time. Early on, he gave her advice on areas where the firm though she could improve. Pao tended to be dismissive and had conflicts with other partners, Doerr said, including with another female partner, Trae Vassallo.

Nonetheless, he praised her work. “You have contributed extensively and I’m delighted that you chose to join KPCB,” her first review said.

After a couple of years, Pao became less happy at the firm and talked to Doerr about leaving. She offered suggestions on ways that Kleiner Perkins could improve. “Honesty with partners,” was one suggestion, according to a document shown in court. “Quality in our work” was another.

In June 2007, Pao told Doerr about the affair with Nazre. She also complained that a third partner, Randy Komisar, had given her a book of poetry on Valentine’s Day and asked her out to dinner when his wife was out of town.

Doerr told Exelrod that it was common to give gifts at the firm and he didn’t ask why Pao would be upset about the book.

In 2009, he still thought highly enough of her that he thought the firm should work hard to keep her when she got an offer from a rival firm, Google Ventures GOOGL -1.08%.

She would be given “more carry, comparable income and be given more responsibility in a lesser firm, and if I were them I would seize the opportunity to hire her,” he wrote in an e-mail to partners Ray Lane and Ted Schlein.

Schlein offered Pao a position on the digital investing team and she decided to stay at Kleiner Perkins. But problems developed there too. Pao had urged Kleiner Perkins to invest in patent firm RPX, which it did. But the board seat, which Ms. Pao wanted, went to Komisar.

“Did you tell her that Randy needed a win?” Exelrod asked Doerr.

“I told her her job as a junior partner was to support the KP team and Randy and if she couldn’t do that she should do something else,” Doerr said.

“Didn’t you say he needed a win?” Exelrod asked.

“Randy and Kleiner needed a win. Everybody needs wins. I could use some wins,” said Doerr, with a smile.

Doerr said he introduced Pao to his family, met her family, coached her and hired coaches for her, including a speech coach so she could learn to communicate better with other partners and advance her ideas.