Friday, August 28, 2015

Pakistani-American Leads Silicon Valley's Top High-Tech Incubator Y-Combinator

33-year-old Qasar Younis, a Lala Moosa born Harvard-educated Pakistani-American, is the new Chief Operating Officer of Y-Combinator, a spawning ground for emerging tech giants Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe in Silicon Valley, according to Fortune Magazine.

Qasar Younis (Source: Linked-In)
Younis was born on a farm in Lal Moosa, Gujarat, Pakistan. He was brought by his parents as a 6-year-old boy to the United States where his parents found work as blue collar workers in the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan.

Younis' start-up TalkBin was offered a $7 million seed round by Y Combinator. However, it was acquired by Google in 2011 even before signing the seed-round term sheet. Younis joined the Google Maps team where he worked to bring local businesses onboard them. He stayed there for three and a half years.

Y Combinator is set to graduate 222 startups, including Pakistani start-up Markhor, this year. There are currently 7000 startups vying for 106 spots in the program, according to ProPakistani.pk. Markhor, co-founded by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim is the first Pakistani company based in Pakistan to be accepted into Y Combinator as a part of the Summer 2015 class, according to Tech Crunch. Markhor launched a Kickstarter campaign that brought in over $107,000 in seed money from 508 backers in two months.

Silicon Valley is home to 12,000 to 15,000 Pakistani Americans. Thousands of them are working at Apple, Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle and hundreds of other high-tech companies from small start-ups to large Fortune 500 corporations. Pakistani-Americans are contributing to what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee describe as "The Second Machine Age" in a recent book with the same title.

Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, advisers, mentors, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants and lawyers make up a growing ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Dozens of Pakistani-American founded start-ups have been funded by top venture capital firms. Many such companies have either been acquired in M&A deals or gone public by offering shares for sale at major stock exchanges. Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) has become a de facto platform for networking among Pakistani-American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. It holds an annual event called OPEN Forum which attracts over 500 attendees. 


Here's a video of a recent presentation I made at University of Chicago Booth School of Business on Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley:


Talk by Riaz Haq for Pakistan Club Chicago May... by urduonair

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1t1orh_talk-by-riaz-haq-for-pakistan-club-chicago-may-2014-event_tech



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VZSUo4jH3w

A PDF version of my full presentation at University of Chicago Booth Business School is available on PakAlumni WorldWide

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest

Pakistani-American Population Second Fastest Growing Among Asian-Americans

Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs

Karachi-born Triple Oscar Winning Graphics Artist

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fire-eye Goes Public

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

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

6 comments:

Junoon said...

I was just checking out this Markhor website and their shoes are about $235 USD. Damn that's steep for a new company.

http://themarkhor.com/collections/mens-shoes-1

Riaz Haq said...

Junoon: "I was just checking out this Markhor website and their shoes are about $235 USD. Damn that's steep for a new company. http://themarkhor.com/collections/mens-shoes-1"

At $235 a pair, it's a bargain for hand-crafted high-quality shoes for western customers.

Riaz Haq said...

YC Backed Gradberry Curates Technical Talent

(Y-Combinator supported Gradbury) Founder Iba Masood is a tech nerd. From the time her family got their first computer when she was four, she has been fascinated with technology and the impact it could play on society. From tinkering with hardware to early online gaming, Masood soon found her community on the pages of TechCrunch and HackerNews.

Masood is from Karachi, Pakistan and grew up in the UAE. While in college, she met Syed Ahmed, a self-taught developer with a similar enthusiasm for all things startup. After attending university, they decided they wanted to start a company. Masood’s parents, who are in the diesel industry, encouraged her to pursue a more traditional business, “a cupcake shop, for example.” Ahmed’s family had much of the same reaction.

Despite this, Masood and Ahmed persevered. The pair saw an opportunity in the widening skills gap and began to develop courses teaching skills in high demand by local employers. Unlike other attempts at online education, whereby candidates take a course and only then can apply to a job, Gradberry switched the model on its head. Candidates could apply, but when they were deemed unqualified, Gradberry provided them with courses to improve.

For nearly two years, Gradberry existed as a regional business. They were profitable but the sales cycle to bring on employers was slow and the market limited. To grow their business outside of the UAE, Masood and Ahmed knew they needed funding.

But while there is a nascent tech scene in the region today, three years ago no accelerators or international funding existed. There was no appetite for investing in a startup building something innovative. And Masood explained how, on many occasions, investors were confused by their vision and told them to instead bring proven business models to the Middle East. When investors were interested, the terms were terrible.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/03/from-pakistan-to-y-combinator-gradberry-vets-technical-talent/

Riaz Haq said...

12 #startups from #Pakistan that raised funding in 2015. #technology https://www.techinasia.com/12-startups-pakistan-raised-funding-2015/#.VnLYJej4wBk.twitter …

1. Zamzama Property Group
Zamzama Property Group, which is the parent company of real estate sites Zameen and Bayut, raised US$9 million in series B financing, marking the largest investment in a Pakistan-based startup this year.

2. Naseeb Networks
Naseeb Networks is the holding company of job portals Rozee and Mihnati, concentrating on Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, respectively. The startup raised a US$6.5 million series C round, bringing its total funding to US$8.5 million.

3. Wifigen
Wifigen, a startup that provides wifi solutions for businesses in exchange for social media logins, raised an undisclosed amount of seed investment valuing the company at US$1 million. The angel investor behind this round is John Russell Patrick – a former executive at IBM and an early-stage investor in Uber.


4. Bookme
Bookme, an online platform for booking bus, cinema, and event tickets, secured an undisclosed amount of seed investment from Element Ventures, which valued the company at US$4 million. The startup was previously one of the Startup Arena finalists at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2014.

5. EatOye
EatOye, an online food delivery service, was acquired by Rocket Internet’s Foodpanda as part of a regional acquisition spree to assert its dominance in the sector. The startup was a late entrant to the online delivery space in Pakistan, but had started to seriously threaten Foodpanda’s position at the top of the perch – hence the buyout.

6. Forrun
Delivery and logistics startup Forrun was acquired by technology services company Arpatech. The acquisition was made in line with a concentration on ecommerce, logistics, and technology verticals.


7. Markhor
Markhor, which makes handcrafted artisanal shoes, stole the show this year when it became the first startup from Pakistan to be accepted into Y Combinator, thus receiving US$120,000 in seed capital. Waqas Ali, founder of Markhor, had told Tech in Asia that the acceleration was aimed at strengthening Markhor’s position as a luxury lifestyle brand.

8. Interacta
Interacta, a startup which is trying to redefine conventional broadcasting by making television shows interactive, raised US$220,000 in seed funding from Fatima Ventures. The startup’s app, which is similar to music detection service Shazam, analyzes sound coming from television channels and pushes content accordingly. For example, in cooking shows, users can view the recipe directly on their phones. Broadcasters can also use the app for targeted advertisements.


9. Sportskot
Sportskot is a marketplace for sporting goods manufactured in Pakistan. There’s a large, fragmented industry of sports apparel and equipment, and the startup is trying to bring them all under one umbrella to assist in visibility and appeal to international clientele. Sportskot raised US$140,000 in seed funding to expand its operations.


10. MySmacED
MySmacED, a startup in the edtech space, is a communication platform that enables real-time information sharing between parents, teachers, students, and administrators. It creates a “moderated social network,” while also assisting with feedback on child performance and easier information sharing between teachers and students. The startup raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding valuing the company at US$2 million.


11. AutoGenie
Autogenie is Pakistan’s first on-demand car service and maintenance startup. Other than these basic services, it also offers premium members things like roadside assistance, regulatory and tax compliance, and car analytics. The startup raised US$100,000 in seed investment from PakWheels.

12. Mezaaj
Mezaaj is a platform for fashion designers to showcase their work and get noticed in the digital sphere. .... The startup secured an undisclosed amount of seed investment, valuing the company at US$500,000.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's "godfather of #MMA" has a gym to keep young #Pakistanis away from radicals http://ti.me/1LpRful via TIME WORLD

One man who is trying to prevent impoverished, uneducated children from getting caught up in sectarian violence is Bashir Ahmad. What makes him strikingly different to the other would-be saviors of Charrah Pind is the fact that he is a 33-year-old U.S. Army vet, raised in Virginia. He’s also a professional mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighter.

‘Where we create good citizens’
Ahmad was born in Pakistan and grew up in the U.S. before returning to Lahore in 2007, after completing his U.S. military service. He has since built up a community of MMA fighters, established the country’s first promotion — as companies that organize MMA bouts are called — and opened two gyms. But most importantly, he is using the sport to create opportunities for kids to get out of poverty.

“Peace through sports,” he says. “I’ve got that on my shorts.”

Ahmad’s commercial gym is called Synergy. But, in Charrah Pind, he has opened a second facility named Shaheen (“Falcon”) and gives free classes to the neighborhood kids. He drives there, passing mothers bundled in ragged shawls and children going from car to car begging for money or selling roses.

The slum is an island of destitution encircled by the more affluent, military-owned Defense Housing Authority township that surrounds it. Rickshaws, mopeds and the occasional horse and cart clog up the narrow roads. A butcher slaughters chickens on a wooden table. Bloodied feathers flutter to the ground.

Shaheen is in the basement of a nondescript building. It doesn’t seem like much — some mats, a couple of punch bags and a ring — but to the kids that use it, it is everything. Among them is Abu Bakr, a quiet 11-year-old with neatly brushed hair who lives in Charrah Pind with his family. Abu Bakr’s mother is a cleaner at Ahmad’s other gym, where Abu Bakr would sit for hours, watching as Ahmad and the other martial artists sparred and grappled, before being asked to train with them.

Riaz Haq said...

A new Midas Lister, Mamoon Hamid founded The Social+Capital Partnership ... Born in Pakistan and raised in Frankfurt, Hamid is a dual U.S.-German ...

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehgj45eild/mamoon-hamid/

The Social+Capital offices are in an old Palo Alto bus depot made over with the lustrous industrial aesthetic of a Chelsea art gallery. Palihapitiya hosts a monthly happy hour, along with his partners Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg, both of whom he lured away last fall from U.S. Venture Partners. Guests drink and mingle among the brushed-metal furnishings and ergonomic chairs. If Palihapitiya is interested in talking to someone, he’ll take them into the main conference room, a glass cube in the middle of the polished concrete floor.

In contrast to traditional VC funds, where the partners have comparatively little of their own money at stake, Palihapitiya, Hamid, and Maidenberg are providing nearly a quarter of the fund’s total.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-07-26/social-plus-capital-the-league-of-extraordinarily-rich-gentlemen