Bookmarking Desi Innovators & Ventures

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…)

 

Ashar Nisar | The .PK Man | Entrepreneur of the month

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry March 27th, 2011

Every day we come across website addresses trailing with “.com.pk”, “.net.pk”, “.org.pk”, “.edu.pk”, “.gov.pk” or simply “.pk”. To land on this site, you also typed “entrepreneurs.pk”. However, majority people in my network don’t have an idea who operates this “PK” thing for us. It is sad to mention that even many IT Professionals and Computer Science students in Pakistan don’t know about PKNIC (Pakistan Network Information Center (Pvt) Ltd.), the registry responsible for the .pk country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Pakistan since most of the people acquire domain name via resellers with a hosting plan. Those who know about PKNIC are unaware of the fact that it is owned and run by Mr. Ashar Nisar, A Pakistani – American who graduated from UET Lahore in the 80s. (more…)

 

You still can

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 29th, 2010

One of my mentors and colleagues still regrets about certain startups that he should have done a decade ago. He had resources, registered some really good domains back in 90’s and got the portals developed but didn’t launch or market them. Today some people are doing the same business and earning really good money. Recently the following inspirational animated video from Adcom was released to which we both agreed completely.

Pakistan at the moment needs real walk persons instead of real talk ones. Don’t get carried away when gurus advise you that you don’t have a business model or a proper plan, and that there are giants against whom you can’t survive. Just believe in yourself and your idea or product. If its really good, you can eventually make 100 business models out of it. Give it your 110% and Insha’Allah you’ll succeed. If you fail, try again. One day you will.

Don’t wait. Somebody else might have the same idea. Go and grab the opportunity NOW. Even if you’ll let it go due to failure someday, at least you won’t regret that you never tried.

 

P@SHA – TiE Lahore Interactive Talk with Imran Sayeed

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 26th, 2010

P@SHA and TiE Lahore are joining hands with LUMS to bring to all entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs an Interactive Talk with Mr. Imran Sayeed, a very distinguised entrepreneur and technologist from the US.

Imran Sayeed, a serial entrepreneur, a consultant, an engineer, a mentor, a rainmaker, and a great supporter of many initiatives in Pakistan including the OPEN-MITEF initiative would be in Lahore on July 29.

Imran is the Senior Vice President, Global Architecture, Application Development and Management Practice and leads all commercial sector industry practices for Keane, a global BPO and IT Services company with ~14,000 professionals worldwide. Industry practices include Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality & Travel and Energy, and together comprise most of the key business lines and customers for Keane.

Imran Sayeed came to Keane through its acquisition of netNumina, a boutique technology strategy and consulting form that he founded and grew from a 15 person startup to one of Computerworld’s Top 100 emerging companies. netNumina won more than 30 of the leading financial services & pharmaceutical institutions in the world as clients, raised more than $25MM from venture capitalists and strategic investors and received more than 20 industry awards for its work. (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…)

 

How to Guarantee Your Company Will Fail

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry April 21st, 2010

Pamela Lund recently wrote the following post on her blog. I couldn’t agree more to her. There are some of the mistakes that I did too during my earlier days so thought of sharing these with all our followers and those who are looking forward to establish their own startup. (more…)

 

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