Young Tech Entrepreneurs From Pakistan Visit Silicon Valley

The Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) hosted a dinner on Wednesday Feb 20, 2019, for young tech entrepreneurs from Pakistan who came this year to Silicon Valley to attend StartUp Grind Global Conference. About 50 people, including 20 from Pakistan, attended the event.

L to R: Shahjahan Chaudhry, Jahan Ara, Riaz Haq, Rehan Jalil

StartUp Grind:

StartUp Grind describes itself as a "global community of entrepreneurs connecting 1.5 million entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters". It has chapters in all major Pakistani cities. StartUp Grind organizes a global conference every year in Silicon Valley.

Young Pakistani Entrepreneurs with Riaz Haq

Pakistani participation in this conference is growing with 40 delegates this year, up from 24 last year. Arzish Azam, founder of Ejad Lab, organizes this annual pilgrimage of Pakistani techies to Silicon Valley every year under the banner of Pak-US Technology Exchange. Participants pay their own expenses.  In addition to attending the  two-day StartUp Global conference, Pakistani delegates visit several Silicon Valley technology companies and meet fellow entrepreneurs, including Pakistani-American entrepreneurs.

OPEN Dinner Attendees

OPEN Silicon Valley:

Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley is a community of Pakistani-Americans offering "a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, mentorship and networking opportunities to grow professionally in your career or your business".

L to R: Rehan Jalil, Idris Kothari, Naeem Zafar

OPEN Silicon Valley organizes an annual conference of Pakistani entrepreneurs that draws hundreds of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans. Last year, they converged on Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday May 12, 2018 for Open Forum 2018.  The attendees included entrepreneurs, technologists, business executives, investors, lawyers, accountants and others.What was different in 2018 was the presence of an unusually large number of attendees from Pakistan, including dozens of Fulbright scholars studying in the United States, entrepreneurs from Pakistan, and Husain Dawood of Dawood Group of Companies, the second largest business group in terms of market cap of the companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. Driverless vehicle tech and leading-edge brain research were among the new research and technology topics discussed at the Forum.

Dinner in Palo Alto:

OPEN Silicon Valley dinner for entrepreneurs from Pakistan was organized by Mobashar Yazdani, the current President of OPEN. A number of seasoned serial entrepreneurs and charter members were on hand to meet and greet the guests from the home country.  Guests included Shahjahan Chaudhry, Director of National Incubation Center at NED University in Karachi, Jahan Ara, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), Arzish Azam, founder of Pak-US Technology Exchange and  Naeem Asghar, reporter for Pakistan's Express News.   The dinner menu included Pakistani hot food and soft drinks.

OPEN Dinner Attendees

Idris Kothari, Rehan Jalil, Amer Haider and Naeem Zafar participated to share their experiences as entrepreneurs and answered questions.  Legal questions were answered by Riaz Karamali, a partner at the Palo Alto law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pitman whose conference room was the venue for this event. Naeem Zafar emphasized the importance of developing a short and precise "elevator pitch" that each entrepreneur should have ready to promote their idea to get funding, customers and other support necessary to succeed. Idris Kothari talked about having an experienced board of advisors for each startup. Rehan Jalil recounted how he succeeded with his two startups.  I explained how I use my blog and other social media to promote a positive image of Pakistan.

Rehan Jalil and Idris Kothari encouraged young guests from Pakistan to use all available free resources from online learning from courses offered at top American universities to using open source tools.

Summary:

OPEN Silicon Valley, the organization of Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, hosted a well-attended dinner for young entrepreneurs from Pakistan who recently participated in StartUp Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley. A number of successful Pakistani-American entrepreneurs were on hand to meet, greet and offer tips to the young guests.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

Pakistani-American's Tech Unicorn Files For IPO at $1.6 Billion Valuation

Pakistani-American Cofounders Sell Startup to Cisco for $610 million

Pakistani Brothers Spawned $20 Billion Security Software Industry

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fireeye Goes Public

Pakistani-American Pioneered 3D Technology in Orthodontics

Pakistani-Americans Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#China's Gobi Partners and #Pakistan's Fatima Ventures launch $20 million #VC fund for #startups. Fatima Ventures has already made investments in 5 local startups and Gobi Ventures had made their first investment in Pakistan last year
https://www.menabytes.com/gobi-fatima-pakistan-fund/ via @MENAbytes

Gobi Partners, a China-headquartered venture capital firm with big presence in Southeast Asia and over $1.1 billion of assets under its management is partnering with Pakistan-based Fatima Ventures that is investing arm of one of the largest conglomerates of the country Fatima Group to launch a $20 million fund to invest in early-stage technology startups in Pakistan, Gobi announced in a statement to MENAbytes.

---
The fund that will be co-manged by Gobi Partners and Fatima Ventures will focus on seed and Series A investments in tech startups of the country. Gobi Partners in a astatement said that the sectors they will be investing in include travel, logistics, fintech, healthcare, education, e-commerce, consumer tech, industrial internet and Taqwatech, an investment vertical that targets innovative startups offering products and services that cater for the global Muslim population.

Speaking on the launch of the fund, Gobi’s Managing Director Jamaludin Bujang, said, “Gobi began our ASEAN operations in Malaysia, and we have now ventured out of the region to other countries with potential, such as Pakistan. This is a nation that has all of the right ingredients to be one of the fastest-growing digital markets – it has a sizeable and young population, as well as a growing middle class, not to mention high Internet penetration, with about one million users going online every month. The country also has a high number of unbanked citizens which means that there is a lot of potential for FinTech startups in Pakistan.”

“We believe that the nation’s growth will mirror that of Indonesia, and as an early investor in that market, we have the insights and experience in seeking out successful business models which we can apply to the Pakistani ecosystem,” he added.

Gobi’s Chairman and Founding Partner Thomas G. Tsao, said, “Pakistan is the second largest Muslim market in the world and is at the center of a $200 billion Muslim digital market. It is increasingly evident to savvy investors that Muslims are one of the most powerful sets of consumer purchasers and there is an immense market opportunity as the communities’ digital needs are largely underserved.”

Fatima Ventures Founder and CEO Ali Mukhtar, said, “Pakistan is emerging, and we at Fatima want to help Pakistani entrepreneurs emerge with her. Through our partnership with Gobi, we will now be able to fully support and nurture early-stage companies and, when they are ready, we can help them to scale. Gobi’s region-wide network and wealth of experience together with Fatima’s large footprints and local expertise will also be a boost to the Pakistani entrepreneurial community.”

“For both Fatima and Gobi, the launch of the Fund not only means more funding options for Pakistani startups, but it will help to promote common values, the digitization of traditional industries, as well as further the inclusion of underserved communities as a whole,” Gobi Partners, said in a statement to MENAbytes.

Founded by Ali Mukhtar, Fatima Ventures has already made investments in five local startups and has also partnered with Lahore University of Management Sciences to set up, what it claims is the largest tech incubation center in Lahore (NIC Lahore).
Gobi Ventures had made their first investment in Pakistan last year by leading Karachi-based OTA SastaTicket’s $1.5 million Series A.

Last year, Sarmayacar, another VC fund for Pakistani startups had announced their first close of $30 million.

Popular posts from this blog

San Francisco Tech Firm to Invest $6 Million in Pakistan Game Development Studio

Racism in India

JF-17 Manufacturer's Stock Soars After Pakistan Air Force's Success Against India