Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Pakistani EdTech and FinTech Startups Win Prizes in International Competitions

Two Pakistani technology startups have recently won recognition in international competitions.  Sabaq, an EdTech startup, has been shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. Another Pakistani startup Tez Financial Services in FinTech space has been selected as one of the winners of $100,000 Prize at 2019’s Inclusive Fintech 50.  Growing availability of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband is enabling Pakistani technology entrepreneurs to offer technology-based solutions in multiple fields including education and financial services. These young ambitious entrepreneurs are beginning to attract venture investments from overseas. Tez Financial Services has received $1.1 million seed funding led by Omidyar Network.

Sabaq:

Karachi-based Pakistani education technology (EdTech) startup SABAQ has been shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. The award recognizes and endorses low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing countries. Earlier this year, Sabaq was selected among the Top 6 Global EdTech startups at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

Sabaq Tablet
Sabaq is among 11finalists selected from a 800 submissions from 86 countries.  It will be compete with other finalists for the top 3 spots in Cairo, Egypt next month. The award recognizes low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing regions. Projects submitted are judged on their technical functionality, local adaptability, social impact, team structure, and financial and business sustainability.

SABAQ has partnered with the National Rural Support Program and identified communities where it has set up SABAQ Centers, non-formal learning spaces for out of school students who are taught using the meraSABAQ Tab. This is SABAQ’s custom-made android tablet that features the meraSABAQ app for primary level, each containing digital learning resources for Urdu, Science and Math, developed in-house in accordance with the national curriculum.

Sabaq Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers a tablet app and a website. The meraSabaq is a custom-made tablet designed to be used both by  experienced and new teachers across formal and non-formal learning environments.  Sabaq's website offers online video tutorials with free video lectures for Pakistani students. The website provides tutorials for four main science subjects -- Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for secondary school students. The tutorials follow the exact syllabus of respective boards of education for Cambridge, Federal, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan.

Tez Financial:

Tez Financial Services is a woman-led financial technology startup in Karachi, Pakistan.  It has Visa Everywhere Initiative Women’s Global Award after Worldwide Search. It is the first fully digital financial institution in the country providing financial services to the unbanked/underbanked population via a smartphone app.

Tez FinTech App
Last year, Tez Financial raised $1.1 million in a seed round led by Omidyar Network, the impact investment firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. Other investors on this round include Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of global nonprofit Accion; and Planet N. Funds will help the company build its credit portfolio, enhance its mobile technology platform, and secure the company’s NBMFC (Non-Bank Microfinance Company) license.

The Visa Everywhere FinTech competition measures how competing companies leverage their companies’ unique ability to solve or transform consumer and/or commercial payment experiences locally, regionally or globally.

The founders of Tez were previously involved in the creation of Tameer Bank, Easypaisa, and CheckIn Solutions.

Pakistan Telecom Indicators. Source: PTA

Technology Entrepreneurs:

Growing availability of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband is enabling Pakistani technology entrepreneurs to offer technology-based solutions in multiple fields including education and financial services. As of May 2019, there are over 70 million broadband subscriptions in Pakistan and more than a million new subscribers are are being added every month, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority  (PTA). These young ambitious entrepreneurs are beginning to attract venture investments from overseas. Tez Financial Services has received $1.1 million seed funding led by Omidyar Network headed by E-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Summary:

Two Pakistani technology startups have recently won recognition in international competitions.  Sabaq, an EdTech startup, has been shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. Another Pakistani startup Tez Financial Services in FinTech space has been selected as one of the winners of 2019’s Inclusive Fintech 50. Growing availability of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband is enabling Pakistani technology entrepreneurs to offer technology-based solutions in multiple fields including education and financial services. These young ambitious entrepreneurs are beginning to attract venture investments from overseas. Tez Financial Services has received $1.1 million seed funding led by Omidyar Network.

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