Posts tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’
Money has never meant too much to me. Of course all of us need a certain amount to live but I have never yearned for too much of it. As my father used to say: No matter how much money you have, you can only eat 3 meals a day and sleep in one bed at a time. These days you also need some form of transport, a mobile phone and a couple of gadgets … but that’s it!
My parents came from middle class families and they worked hard to bring up 5 kids. As we were growing up, I remember that our home was modest. We ate simple food and wore simple clothes. My mother was a woman who was easily content. She never made any demands. She was happy as long as she had her family around her. Both my parents worked extremely hard to make sure we had a happy childhood and a comfortable life.
Even when we moved to Hong Kong, initially we lived in a small flat – all five of us kids shared a room. As my father climbed up the corporate ladder, we moved into a larger apartment and began to have more conveniences. But throughout the period we were growing up, we were never allowed to take our blessings for granted; we were taught to value what we had, to work hard for anything we needed. And we did!
As we grew older and started our own careers, these values stayed with us and served us well. However, of late, I have been wishing that I had more money – lots of it! I was speaking to a few friends about it the other day and trying to explain this apparent sudden ‘greed’ for wealth.
It isn’t really greed. As we carry on our work with young people who want to experiment with ideas for creating businesses involving innovative products and services, we are happy that P@SHA’s Tech incubator The Nest i/o has provided an oasis for them, has given them access to mentors and a network that they couldn’t have otherwise dreamt of. Yet there is one thing that is still missing … that is the cause of of a lot of frustration and many sleepless nights.
As these kids prove what they can do, as they create their startups and look for investment, we can see how frustrated they are at the lack of a proper angel investment network in the country. There are a growing number of angel investors popping up but, because they haven’t seen much of a deal flow yet, they are rather risk averse.
Some of them feel the need to take a large chunk of the equity and to take control. A few of the startup entrepreneurs have been lucky and have found great investors who have given them valuations that are fair and they have had to part with only a reasonable amount of equity. But there are others who want majority stake. I have watched helplessly as these young entrepreneurs have struggled with the decision to part with a larger stake of a company that they have invested their sweat and tears in to build. I have even advised some of them that bootstrapping is the best bet.. Generate some revenue, get traction and then talk to investors. What is the point of giving away a large share of your company, begin to feel like employees and lose the passion that drove you to start the venture in the first place, is my question to them.
I know it is easy for me to give this kind of advice because I am not in their shoes. Some of them desperately need the funds to take their companies in the direction that they want to. I shouldn’t really interfere. They are, after all, more than capable of making these decisions themselves. Most of them are very smart, have interacted with VCs, Angel Investors, seasoned entrepreneurs, legal experts and peers so they understand what it all means.
But I can’t help it. My heart goes out to them as I see them struggling with these decisions, as I see them engaging with lawyers and investors and discussing all the pros and cons amongst themselves ad nauseum. It doesn’t seem fair that at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, instead of being full of excitement and passion, they are instead having to make compromises.
If only I had a lot of money, I would invest adequate funds in all the startups who show potential – asking in return for only a minimum equity of maybe 4-5% which could be used for a rollover fund to continue investing in more startups. It is a dream I have that appears to be far-fetched at the moment but hey you never know. It could happen.
I believe that if free flow of funds were available to tech startups in Pakistan, it would result in creating the momentum we need to take entrepreneurship to an entirely new level in this country.
Yes we are back with another edition of the P@SHA LaunchPad series which are now in their sixth year.
The vision behind P@SHA LaunchPad is simple – find the best technology ideas and start-ups, bring them in front of the Pakistan IT industry’s most experienced and influential professionals and entrepreneurs and highlight them through online showcases and social media. The purpose is to create a platform where young people with great ideas, and where early-stage companies with innovative products, can have the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of people who ask relevant questions, make suggestions to help develop the idea or product, assist with market identification, mentoring and possibly investment. Ideas with the following characteristics are encouraged to participate in P@SHA LaunchPad Events
- A new startup with a product or service that you have been working on and wish to launch
- A young person/team who have an idea for a product or service that you want to pitch
- Anyone who has a product or service idea that uses technology for Social/Community impact
Startup entrepreneurs and young people with Ideas are put in the hot seat where some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business executives will grill them in front of an audience of their peers. Each category will carry a cash award of Rs.100,000/- for the winners in each of the cities. This year we are planning to hold the event in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad on June 24, 25 and 26. The P@SHA LaunchPad event will be held in Peshawar and Faisalabad after Eid. We may add on another city or two if we have the bandwidth to do so. This year we have been fortunate enough to get the Pakistan Software Export Board to provide partial the sponsorship for holding these events. Thank you PSEB. To apply for entry into the P@SHA LaunchPad event, please fill up this form http://goo.gl/XiNWN2 and prepare your presentations. If you are shortlisted you will be informed by the morning of June 23. You will have 5 minutes to present to a panel of judges in your city and there will be 5 minutes for Q&A. Deadline for entries is 6 pm June 21, 2014. The dates, venues and time for the events are as follows: Karachi – June 24 – IBA Main Campus – 1 pm to 5.30 pm Lahore – June 25 – Lahore College for Women University – 1 pm to 5.30 pm Islamabad – June 26 – in partnership with Kuch Khaas – 1 pm to 5:30 pm
It is that time of year again. P@SHA is on the lookout for innovators in the tech space. We want to recognize and celebrate innovation in the ICT space. This is our 10th year and we are really excited because we know that there are many more techies – young and old – out there who have yet to be recognized. But in order for us to do that, you need to come forward. You can only win if you take part. Go to the P@SHA ICT Awards 2013 website and submit details regarding your product or service so that our panel of judges can shortlist the best of the best in each category.
The categories are divided into two distinct parts: Products and Services. There are 17 Product Categories and 12 Service Categories.
Product Categories include:
Best in Communications Applications
Best in E-Government Applications
Best in E-Learning Applications
Best in E-Health Applications
Best in E-Inclusion & E-Community Applications
Best in E-Logistics & Supply Chain Management Applications
Best in Financial Applications
Best in Green & Sustainable IT Applications
Best in Industrial Applications
Best in New Media & Entertainment
Best in Research & Development Applications
Best in Secondary Student Project
Best Startup Company
Best Tertiary Student Project
Best in Tools & Infrastructure Applications
Best in Tourism & Hospitality Applications
Note: Winners in the Product Categories will be required to represent Pakistan in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards in Hong Kong in November 2013.
Service Categories include:
Best in Animation
Best in BPO
Best in Brand Development
Best in CSR
Best in Export Growth
CIO of the Year (Private Sector)
CIO of the Year (Public Sector)
Best in Gender Diversity
Best in HR Excellence
Best in Mobile Applications
Best in Managed Services
Best in Project Management
Best in Service Innovation
Best in Social Media (IT Company)
Best in Social Media (Non-IT Company)
If you are a technology innovator, or you know of any ICT innovators across the country, make sure that all of you take part in the P@SHA ICT Awards by submitting your product or service to the P@SHA ICT Awards 2013. Deadline for entries is August 8 2013. Please don’t wait till the last moment. Apply NOW!
Very often I am asked why I put so many hours into my work at P@SHA, why whenever I am on a visit to Lahore or Islamabad I try and meet as many people as I can. Admittedly, at the end of a long day trip, I am totally wiped out. So why is it worth it? Or is it worth it at all? I think it is and the reason for that is that in every corner of this country there is interesting work being done in technology – and I love being part of it. I love talking about it. I love cheering on each and every person and company in this space because of their passion, their technical competence and the image they project of a Pakistan that is so different from the one that is projected in Western media.
of mobility. This team of young, energetic and dedicated bunch of engineers & designers have always been eager to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Their passion for mobile software and their ability to deliver engaging solutions has brought them much acclaim. Early adoption of Windows Phone 7 meant that they were one of the first companies globally to deliver an app to the Microsoft Marketplace although their expertise is not limited to Windows Phone 7. It encompasses all platforms including iOS, Android and Palm’s WebOS.
The latest in their stable of applications is Candy Pot, a simple yet addictive game. It is a new app available for the iPhone and the iPod touch. There are two versions of the game – a full version which consists of 45 levels and a lite version which comprises 15 levels. As soon as you start the app, you are introduced to the main character – TinTin.
The objective of the game is to somehow move a spherical candy to a candy pot by using the basic principles of physics. A few friends – biscuit bars, cotton candies and ice pipes – can help with the task. Some of the candies are heavier or bouncier than others. Each type of object is introduced to you at a different level of the game.
Features include 3 delicious worlds, 45 challenges, 2 awesome candy balls, 5 different objects and hundreds of hints to help you get through! This promotional video is worth watching.
Candy Pot has certainly performed well since its launch on November 18th 2011.
- Immediately after launch it was ranked in the top 50 games in more than 17 countries including US, China and India in both Puzzle and Family Category .
- It was ranked at #1 position in the Pakistani App Store for several days in both the Puzzle and Family Games Category (Above Cut The Rope and Angry Birds)
- It was amongst the top 25 in China during the Christmas/New Year holidays in both the Puzzle and Family Games Category.
- Candy Pot was amongst the top 10 in India last month in both the Puzzle and Family Games Category
Well done boys! All of us who know you are absolutely certain that this is the beginning of many more interesting apps that will top all stores worldwide.
On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 Entrepreneurs Roundtable (ERT) Pakistan is holding its kickoff event in Karachi from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at T2F 2.0 at 10C Sunset Lane 5, Phase 2 Extension DHA.
Come prepared to pitch your startup product or prototype. This is an informal meetup of entrepreneurs and promises to be a lot of fun.
So what is the objective or the thought process behind the ERT event? AR Rafiq, who is an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, says that entrepreneurs deserve more than just 30 seconds or 3 min. to tell the story of the idea and the product that they have passionately developed out of their love for technology and nights and days without sleep or rest.
Entrepreneurs Roundtable began in Silicon Valley. The idea was for startup founders/geeks with more focus in the Software, Web, and Mobile space, to meet every month and genuinely share ideas, technical expertise, business experiences, to vent and of course to network. Sometimes ideas attract investment from other attendees and that is really the aim – partnerships, growth, scalability, investment, sharing and learning.
Each entrepreneur is put under the spotlight, either as a speaker to demo or as a participant.
According to AR Rafiq, those who attend must fit the following criteria:
— Out of four functional roles : Founder, Entrepreneur, Developers, Self-inflicted-slave-driver, you have to play at least 3 out of the four leading title roles above. Honestly, if you don’t, you’ll probably get seriously bored by our meetings.
— Our live demos are for real internet or mobile products. We usually *try* to avoid glossy ppt stuff, although with exceptions from time to time.
We welcome entrepreneurs and geeks to join, so long as you are willing to share your experiences and knowledge too.
If you’re an entrepreneur or geek with an idea or better working prototype, let us know so we can schedule you in to pitch at the meetup. Email Abdulrahman Rafiq firstname.lastname@example.org. Copy me too at email@example.com. See you there!
In April 2010, the Center for Advanced Research in Engineering (CARE) applied to the National ICT R&D Fund for a grant to research and develop an Arrhythmia and Sudden Death Syndrome Detection Hybrid Network Based Telemedicine System. The grant amount was Rs. 13.5 million.
So what was the problem that they were trying to solve? This is how they explain it.
Electrocardiography (ECG) is one of the tools of cardiac monitoring. The dilemma is that despite the installation of hundreds of ECG machines in hospitals and clinics throughout the country, patients with severe arrhythmic abnormalities are often misdiagnosed or mistreated usually in rural areas due to unavailability of expert cardiologists at the ECG monitoring station. Moreover, most ECG machines presently installed do not have capabilities like High Resolution signal acquisition, remote monitoring, real time data storage and patient database management.
The project proposed to develop a prototype system to demonstrate geographically distributed installation of network enabled ECG recording and analysis stations with normal and High Resolution digital ECG machines capable of self diagnosing a patient for different arrhythmic abnormalities as well as early detection of risks associated with fatal arrhythmias which can lead to sudden cardiac death by running state of the art signal processing algorithm. The system was to provide 24/7 ECG recording and analysis facility with universal connectivity through dialup, Ethernet, GPRS, Radio and Satellite for connection to the central server located in the Cardiac Control Center (CCC) of a Central Hospital. The system would also have the capability to provide expert opinion to patients with severe arrhythmic abnormalities by transmitting their physiological data to the cardiologists at a central hospital through a universal communication device already developed in CARE. Here the expert cardiologists would receive ECG data and profile of patients with severe arrhythmic abnormalities and suggest treatment in real time. The ECG record and the patient profile would be stored at the server and a database for patients and their cardiac history would be managed for future reference as well as for off-line analysis and data-mining.
This was the solution that Dr. Shoab Ahmed Khan and his team researched and developed at CARE. This was the solution that won the top prize in the e-Health category in the P@SHA ICT Awards 2011. In November Dr. Shoab, Dr. Zaheer and Dr. Mohsin then accompanied the rest of the innovators from Pakistan, as well as the mentors and judges, to APICTA in Thailand. Here they competed against 162 other products in different categories and in the e-Health category they won hands down and came back with the winners’ trophy.
Last week Dr. Shoab and I went to show the coveted trophy to Dr. Aun Abbas, the CEO of the National ICT R&D Fund. It is important for us to show organizations like the National ICT R&D Fund that their investment in applied research helps innovators in this country to develop technology products that are useful to the citizens of this country and to the world and are actually world class products that can compare with the best in the region.