Bookmarking Desi Innovators & Ventures

When the Going Gets Tough..

by Asma Abbas Mirza April 25th, 2016

Tough

Pakistani Entrepreneurs Share What Keeps Them Motivated in Tough Times

“Failure is success in progress” remarked the renowned Father of Physics, Albert Einstein. Have we ever cared to wonder that the awe-inspiring mind behind the smartphones we carry today or the MacBook, Steve Jobs, dropped out of college? In fact, he was even kicked out of his own company. We all may have a dispositional inclination towards enshrining such eminent entrepreneurs as legendary, but we tend to neglect the fact that they too went through highs and lows in the corporate arena. Their graphs of entrepreneurial success too witnessed steep dips through their lifecycles. And the existence of these negative gradients is precisely why these entrepreneurs learned to pick themselves up, to not fear failure but conquer it, to continue with unflinching conviction and to become the celebrated business magnates they are today!

We see tons of motivational quotes from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and they are all amazing (no doubts here) but those are not the only great minds. We have immense talent right around us and that deserves to be highlighted as well. So one day I decided to ask a very important question on one of the startup forums, As an entrepreneur, when you come across a moment of decline or find yourself in a dark place, what brings you back? How do you motivate yourself?

I got many answers but realized that somewhat their essence was the same. The answers could be condensed to form one solution to the entrepreneurial problem. Some of the responses I collected are as follows:

I read books. This time, first 140 pages of ‘The Hard Thing about Hard Things’ helped me”. Madeeha Hassan, CEO Savaree.

Of course, all entrepreneurs face rough patches in the lifecycle of their brainchild, but keeping staunch faith is the key to survival! We came across a particularly elaborate response from the Chairman and CTO of Soloinsight, Farhan Masood.

When I founded my startup with zero capital and no background but just a dream to build a globally significant company out of Pakistan specializing in our own facial recognition systems and the whole world of Internet of People around it, I was declared a maniac and crazy… I was never taken seriously… Everyone laughed but no one helped… I was told the companies who were working on such things were 1) Jewish and 2) have hundreds of millions of dollars as grants and funding. 3) Fingerprint systems had already taken over the world by storm and even if I did succeed in building such technologies which one doesn’t even can find a book or a research paper on, I was way too late to enter and won’t be able to make any difference… I am glad I did not listen to any of the naysayers… I am glad that they did not help me and with persistence I proved them wrong… Today I have a company that is spread across 3 continents… Our 3D Facial + Iris + Palm Vein recognition technology is well received in United States… We have raised a $3 Million seed round and we are on a path to become a globally significant company…”.
Aptly put, even if an entrepreneurial journey witnesses obstruction or any sort of degradation, the conviction to not let your brainchild die, the conviction to push harder and have unending faith would aid you in overcoming that decline but this may only seem plausible if your heart is where your work is, as passion is the sole fuel that drives the vehicle of success.

Another essential tool for success is positive energy and its rightful directional radiation. Furqan Ahmed of AliffIqra.com elucidates the notion stating, “The only thing that ever lift me up when I’m down and in despair is a walk among other entrepreneurs, understanding their issue and help others while I can. Helping others is the best source of positive energy for me; it works like a charm.

Where some entrepreneurs believe that positive energy and confidence boost equip them adequately to combat the moments of pitfall and decline, others have taken on an entirely different approach on the matter. For them it’s the force of negativity and criticism that strengthens the fibres of their motivation and makes them believe that they have to strive to be the best because the laws of nature only allow the survival of the fittest!

The founder and CEO of Daastan, Syed Ommer Amer says, “The negative feedback and the mockery of the people drives my passion. At one point where it breaks me from inside, it also makes me furiously mad and determined to actually prove myself and shut the mouths of those who ridiculed me. To put it simply, I channel the negative feedback to drive my passion to unlock the hidden potential within myself. By the Grace of Lord, I have always overcome adversity with my resilience and my every achievement, be it of national or international level, has enable me to inspire people and prove the worth of my idea.

Irtaza Ahmed Qureshi, Founder of JaldiSe, also has to offer something on the matter. “I always listen to the translation of Quranic Verses and then listening to some related industry companies story which inspires and motivate me to be great and perform best and bring a best possible outcome. Best part for inspiring myself is that I am hoping for more work from some new and different clients”.

Similar stories came our way when budding entrepreneurs shared their diverse range of pitfalls and the sort of lessons that were learned as an outcome! Asad Memon of Remote Interview adds to the list, “Most startups die from suicide, not murder. Founders should realize that it is supposed to be like that; a rollercoaster ride. The Zuckerburg-like stories they enjoy reading everyday are only blinding them more. The only thing to do is make any little progress they can and live through it. For us, it’s just getting one more user”.

Some entrepreneurs have various mottos or mantras that they religiously follow and believe in. They deem that these mantras or mottos work like a charm for anyone facing a daunting plight. For instance, Sana Khalid (CEO of Minerva) says, “I think entrepreneurs are driven by challenges. A problem or challenge is all the more reason to do better”. Faizan Chughtai, who is the Director Software Solutions – Vexellum Pvt. Ltd, adds, “There is no hard line for everyone to follow for motivation. For me, every morning I say to myself in the mirror. “Is this how I want to see myself tomorrow?” That gives me enough juice to keep going”!

Hence, it is inevitably clear that almost all entrepreneurs follow a particular element of entrepreneurial fuel to aid them in driving onto the road that leads to success. These motivational drivers are exactly what shall turn these startups into huge corporate businesses, if followed with diligence. They may seemingly sketch a canvas of an array of mantras but in the end if condensed, the essence of it all is the same!

Here’s ending this long piece with a light note from Muhammad Shariq, CEO of Taplando: “For me, its food, as a temporary fix. Gets me out of the dark state, makes me feel better and clears my head. It’s like a mental reset button. That’s all I need to refocus. Also, recalibrating”.

 

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship welcomes its second batch to The Foundation Incubator

by Farwa Mahmood November 22nd, 2014

 

IMG_1740

 

After a tough competition between startups scouted fromall overPakistan, 8 teams are selected as the second batch at The Foundation

 

Lahore: The Foundation Business Incubator at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship has recently completed the scouting and induction process for its second batch of startups.

The new batch, as usual, was open for aspiring entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan. Over 35 short-listed startups were considered for incubation or acceleration at the Foundation and about half were presented to the illustrious Foundation Council for final selection. The selection involved founder interviews and evaluation of the business models by leading entrepreneurs and businessmen of the country.

With the new batch, a few changes have also been introduced based on the feedback from the first batch of entrepreneurs. The program is now following a weekly theme of topics, objectives and activities. For the first two weeks, the startups completed an intense Entrepreneurship Development Program which gave these startups a much-needed initial boost. Following this has started the regular program with weekly milestones, sessions by mentors and other activities.

This time around, five startups have been inducted in the incubation program and three start-ups have been selected for the accelerator program. The incubated startups include, H&O Solutions which is a one-stop shop for home maintenance and repair services. AutoGenie offers auto maintenance service at doorstep or nearest workshop. P for Plan is a comprehensive marketplace that connects individuals, event planners to venues by procuring event management related services. Scontly is a discount-based, hyper-local, digital marketing solution for businesses and Jewelry Design Pro is an online marketplace for trading digital downloadable designs of jewelry. Among the three accelerated startups, Fictive Labs offers smart home solutions that bring the control and management of electric appliances in homes at the consumers’ finger tips through their mobile phones; Appify Systems offers ease of browsing and ordering food online, food delivery services and customer order tracking; and A.H Paper Products provides recycled paper and packaging solutions for businesses.

Talking about the second batch, Khurram Zafar, the Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship said “There was a lot of IT focus in our first batch and I am pleased to see the startups and entrepreneurs are choosing to diversify into other sectors also. Seven out of the eight businesses from first batch are operational and several are negotiating with investors for funding. We have similar high hopes from our second batch as well.”

The second batch is due to graduate in February, 2015 with a coinciding investors summit as before.

 

 

LUMS introduces the first batch of The Foundation incubator at LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry June 20th, 2014

LCELUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, recently inaugurated by Pakistan’s leading businessmen, including Syed Babar Ali and Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood, has already inducted its first batch of startups into The Foundation business incubator.

LUMS, the nation’s most prestigious higher education institution, built the Center for Entrepreneurship with the vision to make it the largest breeding ground for sustainable, high-growth and high-impact businesses in Pakistan.

The management of the center, headed by Mr. Khurram Zafar, an entrepreneur himself, as well as an independent council of leading entrepreneurs of the country scout for promising upstart businesses all over Pakistan and inducts the most promising ones into this four month program. The Foundation offers co-working space, utilities, internet, and other administrative support to the startups as well as access to a network of world-class mentors, business leaders and investors who guide and groom these young, passionate entrepreneurs. The center is also collaborating with investors to put together a seed stage investment fund for the startups as well as collaborate with business center developers to offer subsidized office space to the graduates of the Foundation program.

The teams that have been inducted as the first batch of The Foundation includes, Cognitica which develops augmented reality based mobile and marketing solutions. Beed, based on research done at LUMS, this team is working on making all broadcast content interactive with the aid of smart phones. Savaree, this company is building a trust-based, ride share social network that allows drivers to monetize the free passenger seats in their cars by posting routes and connecting with riders that share that route. Bugdev Studios, a team of very passionate mobile game developers and designers that build and publish creative, fun, action-packed games that make people think, feel and enjoy.

Other start-ups include BizClout, a one-stop solution to fully e-commerce enable SMEs with-in 15 minutes using a proprietary content management and ecommerce platform. The company offers value-added products to promote and market these online brands as well. MARO, oven baked bread (tandoori Roti and Naan) is one of the most commonly consumed food item in Pakistan and MARO aims to setup a network of ‘Tandoors’ that provide healthy bread and an immaculate consumer experience at the same price as traditional ‘Tandoors’. Appography, the company aims to improve the customer experience by introducing a visual navigation IVR (Interactive Voice Response), in a clutter-free, simplified and more consumable manner on customer smart phones.

Speaking about the Center, the Executive Director, Mr. Khurram Zafar said “Entrepreneurship is the future of our country and LCE aims to scout the best entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan and provide them everything they need to succeed and turn their dreams into realities.”

The Foundation is one of the many innovative projects under the LCE banner with other centers in progress such as the Skills Commercialization Centre and a Corporate Innovation Center amongst others.

 

 

Plan9: A Vision and A Will

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 6th, 2013

“Roofi, in our meeting with Mian Shahbaz Sharif, it has been decided to set up a Government Technology Startup Incubator. Dr. Umar Saif has been asked to make a proposal regarding it.”  A friend informed me over a phone call when I was in Canada. He was amongst the people who attended the first public meeting of IT professionals with Punjab’s Chief Minister last fall at Arfa Software Technology Park. Though I am no longer an ardent fan of incubators after experiencing various startup ecosystems, but a country like Pakistan where there are no government grants and incentives, I thought it was a right move provided it being executed well. Some of us had seen the PSEB experiments in the past so my only concern was that they need right people in the team to make it a successful program. Therefore I immediately wrote a note to Dr. Saif with few suggestions and he was quite kind to reply promptly.

If there’s one industry in Pakistan where entrepreneurship is erupting nowadays, it would be none other than the technology sector. The low startup capital required for a technology company as well as the general appeal of computers to young minds make it the go-to industry for anyone hoping to make their mark on the entrepreneurship landscape. And in that sector, if there’s any one organization that has emerged as a hub for tech entrepreneurship, it would be Plan9 – PITB’s Tech Incubator (more…)

 

My Biz Pakistan Initiative

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 16th, 2012

While we are different personalities, there is one vision that brings both Nabeel Akmal Qadeer and myself on a common platform i.e. “Educating, Motivating and Inspiring Pakistani Youth”. Both of us want students to follow their passion and field of choice after graduation.

In order to achieve these objectives, we launched a startup, went to educational institutes in various cities, and tried whatever we could do at our end to help the ambitious lot. Last year, both of us left Pakistan to pursue higher studies in management that we have successfully completed recently.

So Nabeel recently called me up and shared this initiative “My Biz Pakistan”. My immediate response was “What’s so different in that?” Nabeel said “It has what we were lacking before.” Then he continued to elaborate why it’s different and I somewhat agreed to the root cause why we failed in the earlier iterations of our plans. In short, it was the lack of resources at hand. Though I am not part of this team, the plan discussed by Nabeel totally resonates with how we should support Pakistani Startups. It’s time to mature our angel investment market.

Many of you might know about Amer Qureshi. Amer is a highly experienced Australian Chartered Accountant, Business Advisor and Author. Born in Pakistan, but having spent most of his professional life in Australia, Amer has developed a passion for helping business owners, entrepreneurs and professional improve their lives. This passion has led him to write four books, develop numerous seminars and TV Shows with the aim of motivating and inspiring people. An excellent speaker and presenter Amer has contributed to the development of a large number of professionals and business owners in Australia, Pakistan, Dubai and Qatar.

My Biz initiative has been developed with Amer’s vision to help the young Pakistanis become entrepreneurs and take control of their lives. My Biz Pakistan would provide training, tools, networks and access to Angel funding for starting small businesses. The angels would also act as mentors to these young entrepreneurs. It is not a charity, a micro finance institution, an NGO, a government authority or anything of the sort. This is a setup where few Pakistani Business Leaders are trying to make a difference.

The angel investors will fund innovative business ideas that are considered to have great potential for success. The funding arrangements are negotiated between the investors and the entrepreneurs, however, the organization would provide the framework, ideas and advice and help you through the process. Typically for small startups, the funding will be limited to between PKR 50,000 and 200,000 and will be made in stages on achieving agreed milestones.

Both Investors and Entrepreneurs can work with My Biz Pakistan. Terms for both the parties are mentioned at http://www.mybizpakistan.com. For students, the My Biz Ambassadors in your city and your university are your first point of contact, and will be able to provide all the necessary information and advice that you need. In the event of any additional assistance, you may also contact one of My Biz consultants. If you want to be the ambassador at an educational institute, you can also apply for that by following the application process at http://www.mybizpakistan.com/join-us.html

Moreover, the inside scoop is that some former CEOs of multinationals would soon be joining the My Biz Board, and that the organization has already engaged investors from Australia and Dubai. If you have a good proposal, they can invest right away. So what are you waiting for?  Now you don’t have an excuse that you are short of cash to take the jump.

 

Few famous Risk Takers of the Land of Pure

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 29th, 2010

A pictorial tribute to some of our famous risk takers and DOERS who are acknowledged worldwide.

 

 

TEDxLahore: Collective Genius – 31st July 2010

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 26th, 2010

It was late 2005 when I started promoting entrepreneurship, social media and startups amongst the techies in Lahore. I came up with a name called “Technology Entrepreneurs Den (TED)” for our meetups but little did I know that there was already a global phenomenon known as TED. I got to know about it when few people asked me if I am coming up with a local TED event. I had to drop down the name but at least it introduced me to the wonderful TED Platform and since then I have listened around 80-90 phenomenal TED Talks.

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TEDx program and the annual TED Prize.

The TED Conference, held annually in Long Beach, is still the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend — indeed, the event sells out a year in advance — and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter pieces of content, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.

Last year in July, when Asim Fayaz told me that a license has been acquired, I was overjoyed that finally we would have a platform to share ideas and reach out to masses. Asim did invite me to earlier events at LUMS and Kinnaird which were held on July 25 2009 and February 23 2010 respectively but few professional commitments didn’t let me join both the events. On May 22, 2010, I got an email from Asim for the third event. I decided the very day that this time over I’ll definitely register for TEDxLahore and make it to the event. (more…)

 

SeenReport and Jaroka Tele-Healthcare, winners of mBillionth Award 2010

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 24th, 2010

 

Winners - mBillionth Awards 2010

It was Jehan and Rabia Garib’s twitter feed that led me to register my product for the mBillionth Award 2010. When I registered, I knew that we’ll be rejected in even short listing as we couldn’t find an appropriate category to nominate our product. Moreover our application was unlaunched and running in private alpha amongst our own company employees. We thought that by the time jury will judge our entry, we will launch the public alpha. But if you are in a telecom business where operators have an upper hand, launching your service independently becomes a herculean task. I don’t know which place did we end up in Grand Jury held in Colombo last month but I am happy that we were at least shortlisted for jury.

The m-Billionth Award South Asia 2010 was the first of its kind in the region recognizing and felicitating mobile innovations, applications and content services delivery. It was arranged to honour excellence in mobile communications across South Asia spread over 10 core categories. The m-Billionth Award is designed as an annual South Asia’s leading mobile content’s award platform towards larger regional Mobile Congress in media and policy advocacy. The platform was created with the help of DIT and Digital Empowerment Foundation who have come together to create a regional platform and had support of partners like mint newspaper, VAS companies like IMImobile, OnMobile, One97 and the umbrella organization such as IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India). Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA) was the Country Partner, Bytesforall , the Strategic Partner and CIO Pakistan, the Media Partner from our side. (more…)

 

Economic Times – The Power of Ideas

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 14th, 2010

I have been approached by few of my Indian friends since last year seeking advice to startup a business or do a joint Indo-Pak venture with them. Considering the relations between the country and money exchange issues, I have been quite careful.

Recently, one of my friends told me about the Power of Ideas organized every year in India. The promotional video (below) just blew me away and refreshed memories of initial struggling time I had while starting my first venture.

The Power of Ideas is the intellectual property of The Economic Times, India’s leading financial daily. In a unique three-way public-private-academic partnership, The Economic Times has joined hands with the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) and the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad’s CIIE (Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship) to create a formidable force that can champion the cause of entrepreneurial culture in India. It leverages on the Government’s remit to encourage innovation and IIM-A’s demonstrated experience in mentoring and incubating start-ups. (more…)

 

K-Jam : Entrepreneurs of the Month

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry May 16th, 2010

Jamil Goheer and Khurram Mir at APICTA 2008

I clearly remember it was December 2006 when I got to know about a Pvt Ltd. Company working within the CS Department at LUMS. I was like WoW! Why don’t we have such a culture here at FAST-NU.  Later, I got to know that men behind this venture are ex-FASTians who graduated a year before I actually came to FAST Lahore.

After June 2007, we extensively started hearing about this company which called itself the First Quality Assurance Company in Pakistan mainly because by that time Khurram Javed Mir, the CMO of the company was out from LUMS with an MBA degree. He definitely had a plan how to take this company forward. I remember how people used to gossip about this company especially their batch mates. Some liked the idea considering that their companies can now outsource the QA work whereas some were of the view that what a stupid idea they have come up with as every software company has its own QA department. In the opinion of the second lot, they were definitely a failure.

(more…)

 

Media Supporters

Media Supporters

Mentors and Advisors

 
Entrepreneurs.Pk on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow EntrepreneursPk on Twitter Please Use Wordpress Widgets.