|L to R: Shahjahan Chaudhry, Jahan Ara, Riaz Haq, Rehan Jalil|
StartUp Grind describes itself as a "global community of entrepreneurs connecting 1.5 million entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters". It has chapters in all major Pakistani cities. StartUp Grind organizes a global conference every year in Silicon Valley.
|Young Pakistani Entrepreneurs with Riaz Haq|
Pakistani participation in this conference is growing with 40 delegates this year, up from 24 last year. Arzish Azam, founder of Ejad Lab, organizes this annual pilgrimage of Pakistani techies to Silicon Valley every year under the banner of Pak-US Technology Exchange. Participants pay their own expenses. In addition to attending the two-day StartUp Global conference, Pakistani delegates visit several Silicon Valley technology companies and meet fellow entrepreneurs, including Pakistani-American entrepreneurs.
|OPEN Dinner Attendees|
OPEN Silicon Valley:
Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley is a community of Pakistani-Americans offering "a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, mentorship and networking opportunities to grow professionally in your career or your business".
|L to R: Rehan Jalil, Idris Kothari, Naeem Zafar|
OPEN Silicon Valley organizes an annual conference of Pakistani entrepreneurs that draws hundreds of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans. Last year, they converged on Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday May 12, 2018 for Open Forum 2018. The attendees included entrepreneurs, technologists, business executives, investors, lawyers, accountants and others.What was different in 2018 was the presence of an unusually large number of attendees from Pakistan, including dozens of Fulbright scholars studying in the United States, entrepreneurs from Pakistan, and Husain Dawood of Dawood Group of Companies, the second largest business group in terms of market cap of the companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. Driverless vehicle tech and leading-edge brain research were among the new research and technology topics discussed at the Forum.
Dinner in Palo Alto:
OPEN Silicon Valley dinner for entrepreneurs from Pakistan was organized by Mobashar Yazdani, the current President of OPEN. A number of seasoned serial entrepreneurs and charter members were on hand to meet and greet the guests from the home country. Guests included Shahjahan Chaudhry, Director of National Incubation Center at NED University in Karachi, Jahan Ara, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), Arzish Azam, founder of Pak-US Technology Exchange and Naeem Asghar, reporter for Pakistan's Express News. The dinner menu included Pakistani hot food and soft drinks.
|OPEN Dinner Attendees|
Idris Kothari, Rehan Jalil, Amer Haider and Naeem Zafar participated to share their experiences as entrepreneurs and answered questions. Legal questions were answered by Riaz Karamali, a partner at the Palo Alto law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman whose conference room was the venue for this event. Naeem Zafar emphasized the importance of developing a short and precise "elevator pitch" that each entrepreneur should have ready to promote their idea to get funding, customers and other support necessary to succeed. Idris Kothari talked about having an experienced board of advisors for each startup. Rehan Jalil recounted how he succeeded with his two startups. I explained how I use my blog and other social media to promote a positive image of Pakistan.
Rehan Jalil and Idris Kothari encouraged young guests from Pakistan to use all available free resources from online learning from courses offered at top American universities to using open source tools.
OPEN Silicon Valley, the organization of Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, hosted a well-attended dinner for young entrepreneurs from Pakistan who recently participated in StartUp Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley. A number of successful Pakistani-American entrepreneurs were on hand to meet, greet and offer tips to the young guests.
OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference
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#China's Gobi Partners and #Pakistan's Fatima Ventures launch $20 million #VC fund for #startups. Fatima Ventures has already made investments in 5 local startups and Gobi Ventures had made their first investment in Pakistan last year
https://www.menabytes.com/gobi-fatima-pakistan-fund/ via @MENAbytes
Gobi Partners, a China-headquartered venture capital firm with big presence in Southeast Asia and over $1.1 billion of assets under its management is partnering with Pakistan-based Fatima Ventures that is investing arm of one of the largest conglomerates of the country Fatima Group to launch a $20 million fund to invest in early-stage technology startups in Pakistan, Gobi announced in a statement to MENAbytes.
The fund that will be co-manged by Gobi Partners and Fatima Ventures will focus on seed and Series A investments in tech startups of the country. Gobi Partners in a astatement said that the sectors they will be investing in include travel, logistics, fintech, healthcare, education, e-commerce, consumer tech, industrial internet and Taqwatech, an investment vertical that targets innovative startups offering products and services that cater for the global Muslim population.
Speaking on the launch of the fund, Gobi’s Managing Director Jamaludin Bujang, said, “Gobi began our ASEAN operations in Malaysia, and we have now ventured out of the region to other countries with potential, such as Pakistan. This is a nation that has all of the right ingredients to be one of the fastest-growing digital markets – it has a sizeable and young population, as well as a growing middle class, not to mention high Internet penetration, with about one million users going online every month. The country also has a high number of unbanked citizens which means that there is a lot of potential for FinTech startups in Pakistan.”
“We believe that the nation’s growth will mirror that of Indonesia, and as an early investor in that market, we have the insights and experience in seeking out successful business models which we can apply to the Pakistani ecosystem,” he added.
Gobi’s Chairman and Founding Partner Thomas G. Tsao, said, “Pakistan is the second largest Muslim market in the world and is at the center of a $200 billion Muslim digital market. It is increasingly evident to savvy investors that Muslims are one of the most powerful sets of consumer purchasers and there is an immense market opportunity as the communities’ digital needs are largely underserved.”
Fatima Ventures Founder and CEO Ali Mukhtar, said, “Pakistan is emerging, and we at Fatima want to help Pakistani entrepreneurs emerge with her. Through our partnership with Gobi, we will now be able to fully support and nurture early-stage companies and, when they are ready, we can help them to scale. Gobi’s region-wide network and wealth of experience together with Fatima’s large footprints and local expertise will also be a boost to the Pakistani entrepreneurial community.”
“For both Fatima and Gobi, the launch of the Fund not only means more funding options for Pakistani startups, but it will help to promote common values, the digitization of traditional industries, as well as further the inclusion of underserved communities as a whole,” Gobi Partners, said in a statement to MENAbytes.
Founded by Ali Mukhtar, Fatima Ventures has already made investments in five local startups and has also partnered with Lahore University of Management Sciences to set up, what it claims is the largest tech incubation center in Lahore (NIC Lahore).
Gobi Ventures had made their first investment in Pakistan last year by leading Karachi-based OTA SastaTicket’s $1.5 million Series A.
Last year, Sarmayacar, another VC fund for Pakistani startups had announced their first close of $30 million.
HEC grants $525,000 to 15 startup businesses to boost entrepreneurship
Muhammad Faisal Kaleem
The Higher Education Commis-sion (HEC) has granted $525,000 to fifteen start-ups under the Innovator Seed Fund (ISF) program with the purpose to enhance the entrepreneurship, Daily Times has learnt.
As per available information 15 start-ups have won grants of up to $35,000 each in the Pitching competition. Initially, as many as 26 entrepreneurial teams shortlisted out of 186 applicants who have participated in the competition.
Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed applauded the talent and potential of university students, graduates and researchers with regard to presenting solutions to local challenges.
He, however, underlined that Pakistan definitely faces problems, yet it is certain that problems bring opportunities with them, adding that various achievements of Pakistani academia and industry in the spheres of technology and innovation, he stressed that the young generation was blessed with the capabilities to sort out solutions to the challenges facing the country.
While recalling the start-up program, Dr Ahmed highlighted that Pakistan’s start-ups saw a record-breaking year of fund-raising in 2021 with over $350 million in funding. He noted that with collective and persistent efforts, this fledgling ecosystem can flourish further and safeguard Pakistani entrepreneurs through regulatory, networking, and funding opportunities.
During the pitching ceremony earlier, Dr. Shaista Sohail said Pakistan currently has the largest number of young people ever in its history, which makes it one of the youngest countries in the world. “This huge generation of young people can be the biggest asset of the country, if we are able to reap its potential by empowering and uplifting them.” She stressed the need for providing the youth the right kind of education and skills as well as the opportunities to fulfil their roles as responsible, productive citizens, and drivers of economic growth.
She noted that in many countries, startups and entrepreneurship play a very important role in job creation. She further observed that Pakistan’s startup ecosystem is still in its embryonic stage compared to other nations of the world. “There is a dire need to propel our efforts towards promotion of technology and innovation-based Startups in the country and to boost the overall Startup ecosystem,” she emphasised.
The grant winning start-ups included ezGeyser, mimAR Studios, Funkshan Tech Pvt. Ltd., and truID Technologies Pvt. Ltd. from National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST); Savvy Engineers Pvt. Ltd. and Arm Rehab Technologies from International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI); Avero Life Sciences from Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar; Wonder Women from University of the Punjab; Orko Pvt. Ltd., Boltay Huroof, and Poter Pakistan from NED University of Engineering & Technology (UET), Karachi; VisionRD and Oxbridge Innovative Solutions Pvt. Ltd. from Bahria University Islamabad; 110 Innovate from IBA-Sukkur; and Shahruh Technologies Pvt. Ltd. from UET, Lahore.
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