Pakistani Startups are building their own Silicon Valley

Pakistani Startups building Silicon Valley

Technology is the core growth driver in this century and governments can’t ignore it while making their policies. The 21st century is the century of tech entrepreneurs and you can’t neglect the role of Pakistani entrepreneurs in tech evolution. In the population of over 200 million, about 30m people are among internet users and it’s anticipated that number of 3G/4G users will increase up to 110 million by 2019. The statistics portray vast opportunities of technology in the country and it’s not possible to ignore a population that has many tendencies for a digital world.

Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley:

Pakistani entrepreneurs proved their mettle in the USA and made remarkable achievements. Ashar Aziz launched cyber security firm named FireEye in California with the funding of Goldman Sach and Silicon Valley bank. The setup gathered much appreciation from all over the world and provided flawless cybersecurity worldwide. Rayid Ghani is another big name who researched on big data and handled data during the President Obama’s second elections.

Related: Top 10 Most Influential Tech Leaders in Pakistan

Zia Yusuf and Faizan Buzdar started Streetline and Convo startups respectively. Streetline offered smart parking solution while Convo lets the entrepreneurs and teams collaborate via messages, images, and video calls.  It would be unjust to ignore the names of Rehan Jalil and Ali Rehan who astonished the world with unique ideas and initiated startups ‘Eyedeus Labs’ and ‘Elastica’. The renowned app ‘Keep TruckIn’ recently used by American truck drivers is developed by Shoaib Makani, Shaneeb Kamran, and Khushnood Qadir.

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Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference in Silicon Valley:

More than 700 Pakistani-American entrepreneurs participated in Silicon Valley conference headed by Qasar Younus.  Well-known entrepreneurs like Atif Rafique, Chief Digital Officer at fast food giant McDonald’s Corp participated in it and analyzed the opportunities and difficulties for Pakistani entrepreneurs in the USA. Following are some prominent points of the conference:

  • Indicating the serious issues like islamophobia and automation
  • Future of capitalization and its impact on tech industry
  • Sharing of ideas and educating the attendees
  • Different ways to help Pakistani tech industry and entrepreneurs

 How is Pakistan Suitable for Tech Industry?

Pakistan is the largest populated country and 60% aged 15-45. About 139.9 million people are using mobile phones and the number of users is increasing day by day. People encourage and accept technology readily and many private and government setups are digitized. Young minds have immense potential to provide unique ideas, observe the issues in society, and digitize them.

Related: 8 Best Healthcare Startups from Pakistan

Though the government efforts aren’t satisfactory, but it would be unjust to ignore the role of Punjab IT Board. It provided space and facilities to entrepreneurs, empowered workers with smartphones, and provided them with a platform to discuss their ideas. Following are some impressive statistics about Pakistani tech industry that also show the potential of Pakistani entrepreneurs and their capability to make their own silicon valley.

  • 2500+ registered IT organisations in Pakistan
  • 20,000 CS graduates every year
  • 12,500 Pakistani’s working in Silicon Valley
  • Pakistani share of global IT sales is $2.8 billion
  • 25 tech incubators and co-working spaces
  • Ranked 3rd and 4th on freelancers.com and upwork
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Pakistan’s Top Incubators

  • Microsoft Innovation Centre aims to transform high-potential software startups into successful businesses. It’s located in Lahore and making remarkable achievements.
  • Plan9 and Social Innovation Lab have been setup in Lahore. Plan9 is backed up by government and project of PITB and known as the largest incubator in Pakistan while Social Innovation is utilizing social media in marketing. Plan X is initiated after the success of Plan9
  • Revolt and The Incubator are present in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Revolt provide training programs while the latter is the GIKI’s project
  • LUMS Centre of Entrepreneurship and Technology Incubation Centre NUST and CED IBA have conducted by their respective universities and making notable work for the digitizing of small and large businesses

Related: Best Incubators, Accelerators and Co-working Places in Lahore

Top Pakistani Startups

  • Patari is music streaming website with a vast collection of 30,000 Pakistani songs
  • EatOye is designed to provide online food facility and available 24/7
  • Bookme lets you book tickets online. The facility is available for transport and cinemas
  • Eyedeus Labs reduces disruption in video advertisement and garnered appreciation globally
  • You can find and book beauty salons by sitting in your home with the help of ‘Beauty Hooked

Related:Successful Pakistani Women Entrepreneurs under 25

IT Barriers for Startups in Pakistan

There are many social and technical barriers in the field of IT. In an interview, the owner of zameen.com termed a major issue of low penetrating rates of 3G/ 4G and asked the government to take serious measures for IT industry. Social and cultural issues trigger bans on social media channels like YouTube. People aren’t aware of the benefits of e-banking and online money transaction ways. However, the situation is getting better and improving rapidly.