Entrepreneurship in Pakistan
A new wave of creative and confident Pakistani entrepreneurs has emerged developing innovative start ups both locally and abroad. To add to this, incubators are helping entrepreneurs develop ideas and financing is picking up. With a range of speakers from seasoned entrepreneurs to venture capitalists, this discussion will shed light on the nuts and bolts of setting up and financing entrepreneurial ventures both within Pakistan and in the United States. Questions will address include: What needs to be done to promote a culture of innovation? How can financing be incentivized and how do we create an ecosystem for development? The discussion will also look into the role entrepreneurship has to play in shaping the future of Pakistan. On a more local level, many attendees would be interested in starting a business in or outside Pakistan and could gain immeasurably from reflections and experiences from our panelists: what were their unique perspectives on starting a business, from navigating corporate structures, to obtaining funding both within Pakistan and in the United States? What are key factors to consider when deciding to take on an entrepreneurial venture? What were key lessons learnt in their respective fields?
Former Google Pakistan Country Consultant; Partner & EIR at Bramerz
Badar Khushnood is working with Bramerz as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) and Chief Commercialization Strategist. For the past 8+ yrs Badar was Google's Country Consultant for Pakistan.
Badar enjoys helping companies focus on digital strategies that significantly contribute to their overall success. Digital media is becoming an essential component of every business's marketing campaign. As a mobile & digital strategist, Badar helps organizations, large and small, develop highly targeted & effective digital solutions that incorporate cutting-edge technologies for customer acquisition, retention and ecommerce, etc. One of Badar's personal passions is to help non-profits leverage digital tools for advocacy, community mobilization and fundraising!
Badar is a strong believer in cutting-edge technology and brings along more than 17 years of diverse experience. He has worked for ASUSTeK Computers, SMEDA and Nishat Textiles earlier. In his previous lives, Badar secured his Masters in Economics & Management from the Lahore School of Economics (LSE) and undergrad from the Government College (GC), Lahore.
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President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT
Jehan Ara is the President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT; ITES (P@SHA. She has to a great degree been responsible for developing the P@SHA brand and for creating linkages between P@SHA and local and international partners.
Jehan has 29 years experience in Marketing, Communications and interactive New media in Hong Kong, the Far East, the UAE and Pakistan. She is a motivator, an entrepreneur, a social activist and a strong propagator of extending the power and use of Information and Communication Technologies beyond pure traditional business, to empower and enable communities. She is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences and at colleges and universities across Pakistan and the region. She also writes for various industry publications.
Policy Advocacy through the use of cutting edge technology is one of Jehan Ara’s passions. Cyber Crime, Privacy and Data Protection legislation are some of the things she is advocating for. She is currently also collaborating on an initiative called Take Back the Tech which is meant to create awareness on how technology can be harnessed to end Violence against Women and girls.
In addition to her role as President of the industry association, she is working on an initiative known as the Women’s Virtual Network which will connect educated women with potential employers, mentors and peers remotely, thus bringing more women into the economic fold and creating a community that will evolve into a support network for professional women.
Founder and CEO of i2C
As founder and CEO of i2c, Amir is responsible for defining a clear vision and setting strategic direction for the company. Recognized as a pioneer in the prepaid/stored value industry, Amir founded software development firm Innovative Private Limited in 1987 and led the global launch of the transaction processing platform FastCash. Propelled by the success of Innovative, he founded i2c, Inc. in 2001 to bring next-generation processing solutions to the payments industry. Contributing to the company’s expansive growth curve, under Amir’s guidance, i2c has introduced a number of industry firsts, including card-linked offers, event-driven account holder communications and gift card voice personalization.
Today, as market opportunities for payments & emerging commerce continue to expand at a dramatic rate, Amir is leading i2c’s continued push to innovate the enabling infrastructure and solutions that transform commerce. Today’s consumers want choices, and Amir’s vision is to build the flexible solutions they seek in an increasingly mobile and global world.
Founder and CEO of Arbisoft (Pvt.) Ltd
Yasser Bashir is the founder and CEO of Arbisoft (Pvt.) Ltd - a software and technology development company named among the fastest growing software services businesses in the region by the AllWorld Network (allworldlive.com). Arbisoft employs over 180 people and has been building technology partnerships with some of the leading businesses and institutions around the world including KAYAK, edX, Indeed and Stanford University . Yasser is also the CEO and founder of DeepPixels which is a medical image processing company. Before the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Yasser held key leadership positions at Orthoclear, Align Technology and WorldWerx.
Yasser received a BS from LUMS (Lahore University of Management Sciences) and an MS from Stanford University.
Director of Real Time Communications Products at Slack
Jahanzeb Sherwani is currently the Director of Real Time Communications Products at Slack, a communication platform for teams valued at more than $1B, created by the founders of Flickr. Prior to this, he was the co-founder and CEO of Screenhero, a Silicon Valley-based software startup that enabled remote teams to work together, which was widely regarded as the best product in its class. Screenhero was recently acquired by Slack as their second (and largest) acquisition to date. Previously, Jahanzeb was the founder/CEO of iTeleport, an iOS & Mac app that let users control their computers from anywhere in the world, which grossed more than $5M on the App Store.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Jahanzeb graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where he focused on technology for developing regions. As part of his thesis research, he worked with researchers at Aga Khan University and HANDS (a Karachi-based non-profit focused on healthcare) to design, develop, and evaluate an interface for voice-based access to health information by community health workers with limited literacy skills in urban and rural Pakistan. Prior to this, he graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences with degrees in computer science and social science.
Founder, Dirigo Advisors
Patrick McGinnis is the Managing Partner of Dirigo Advisors, an investment and advisory firm focused on Latin America and other emerging markets. He is an active seed and angel investor, and has invested in companies in Latin America (NXTP Labs, The Fan Machine, Bunny, posto7, BlueSmart, and WeHostels) and the United States (ipsy, SatMap).
An advocate for entrepreneurship in Latin America, Patrick serves as a mentor at NXTP Labs and is an independent board advisor to Socialatom Ventures, a seed investment fund based in Medellin, Colombia. He also advises the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation on projects related to private equity and venture capital. In 2013, Patrick co-authored a World Bank Policy Working Paper entitled "Private Equity and Venture Capital in SMEs in Developing Countries: The Role of Technical Assistance." Patrick is a board member of The Resource Group (TRG), a global IT and BPO company listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. With over 14,000 employees worldwide, TRG has over 1,200 team members at its offices in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
Prior to founding Dirigo, he was a Vice President of PineBridge Investments, where he invested in companies in Pakistan, Turkey, Colombia, Ecuador, and China. An avid traveler, writer, and speaker, Patrick has visited more than 60 countries. His first book, The 10% Entrepreneur, will be published by Penguin Books in early 2016. More at www.the10percententrepreneur.com Patrick is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Business School, and attended the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
MBA Candidate at Harvard Business School; Former VC at Bessemer Venture Partners
Anna Khan is currently an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. Prior to HBS, Anna was a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners with a focus on enterprise software and consumer technology. Anna began her technology career as Chief of Staff and CEO’s Associate at 4INFO, a mobile advertising platform that served large CPG and Auto brands, with over $50M in funding.
While at 4INFO, Anna co-founded Palindrome Advisors, a nonprofit that seeks to change the way young executives give back, through board matching programs and startup mentorship. Palindrome was featured in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes at launch.
Before her technology career, Anna worked in Investment Management at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. She graduated from Stanford University with a double major in Political Science and English Literature and with Honors in Science, Technology & Society. She was also inducted to the Stanford Cap & Gown Academic Honor Society and was President of Stanford Women in Business, one of the largest student groups on campus. Anna serves on the board of the Echoing Green Social Investment Council and is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.