Zafar Khan, CEO of Sofizar, tells his story on ITLoW
Zafar Khan is a person I have not known very long and yet, in this short period of time, he has impressed me with his sincerity, his passion for technology, his hard work, his integrity and his strong belief in Pakistan. Of course the fact that his company is literally a money-making machine that generates revenue for him while he is asleep, makes him an interesting person to talk to;).
Zafar is the CEO of Sofizar. He is a highly accomplished engineer from Caltech with several electronic advertising related patents under his belt and is very passionate about
As you will hear for yourself in this interview, Zafar worked at various organizations such as Nexiant and Gemstar in the US, Hong Kong and China before he moved to Pakistan and set up his own firm in 2004. He has made several mistakes and willingly talks about them so that others can learn from his experience.
Sofizar is a Carlsbad, CA based internet marketing company with development and operations based out of Lahore. The company has been aggressively pursuing a very rapid growth path since its inception in April, 2004. With annual sales of around US$20 million, they continue to look at a 800% growth rate. Sofizar’s excellence was recently recognized by its recent signing of a deal with one of the largest telecom companies, Korea Telecom. Korea Telecom has been selected by Sofizar to market Sofizar’s technology in Korea.
This is a photo of Zafar in Karachi at the MITEF Business Acceleration Plan competition which Sofizar won in 2007 (he is the one in the green checkered shirt). You may recognize some of the other people in the picture including Ken Morse, Hussain Dawood, Farroukh Captain, Junaid Iqbal, Jawwad Farid and Imran Zia. Some of us actually came to know Sofizar and Zafar better only after his participation in the MITEF BAP activity.
His excitement about what he does is truly contagious and many have commented about the fact that his eyes light up when he talks about making money :). He thinks businesses need to create wealth and employment in addition to creating value. Innovation in technology is one way to do it. He also believes in making a difference to the community in which you live. That is why he is usually a part of all activities which involve sharing of knowledge and experience. He is currently also a member of the P@SHA Central Executive Committee.
As a consequence of the MITEF BAP competition, Zafar went to MIT and hobnobbed with a lot of VCs and technology entrepreneurs. It is also where he met Carlos Cashman who has now become his partner. He says he feels honoured that three members of the MIT Sloan School faculty are now on his board of advisors – Ken Morse, Imran Sayeed and Bill Aulet.
In addition to interviewing Zafar, I spent some time talking with the Sofizarians – a team of really bright kids who realize that they are part of an exciting young company headed by an individual who is bound to scale the heights.
Sofizar is looking to revolutionize e-commerce, and is hiring “the best” to meet its growth and profit objectives. These include engineers, SEO specialists, analysts and content writers. It is one of those companies that is growing despite the recession and is certainly one we should watch over the next 12 months.
I didn’t have to ask Zafar Khan too many questions in this episode of ITLoW. He usuallydoes not talk too much about himself but once I got him started, he was thrilled to share his experience and the latest about where the company is headed.
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