Disclaimer: This Article is updated by Yusra Qasim.
The 5th Edition of the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 wrapped up in Islamabad and moved towards the bustling city of Lahore, with equally talented individuals and promising start-ups. The first day of the Build-A-Business Workshop commenced on 31st October, 2018, at the Pearl Continental Hotel, despite the current nationwide political unrest.
Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 is a business model competition, powered by GriffinWorx of Silicon Valley, with the collaboration of TiE Islamabad and the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. It is an initiative to encourage and include individuals who are looking to enhance their businesses. It is a lucrative opportunity for businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups to bring their business ideas in to actuality. It aims at promoting a healthy ecosystem that supports and emboldens entrepreneurs. The workshops are held for two days in the major cities such as, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Quetta. About 2500+ start-ups take part in this competition to pitch their business ideas and be mentored by highly experienced entrepreneurs who are a veteran in their respective fields. The selected start-ups go on to the next round where the most apt ideas are rewarded into becoming viable businesses in the market.
Zeeshan Shahid, Executive Director TiE Islamabad, welcomed the mentors and the selected start-ups on the first day at the Build-A-Business workshop Lahore. He gave a general introduction along with heartiest congratulations to those who made it this far with best wishes for the next round! Kevin McClelland, mentor, judge and facilitator of the Build-A-Business workshop as the representative of GriffinWorx, took the floor with his congratulatory speech to the participants and a general schedule of the day’s events. He explained the Business Model Scorecard that was to be used by the participants and the important take away from this workshop. As soon as, the opening addresses were done, the participants were handed out sticky notes and markers, and set off on the days’ task. The mentors roamed amidst the participants and gave advice and guidance to those who needed it. They helped refine the ideas of some participants while streamlined the processes for others.
Although the workshop was conducted for a day, due to the increasing political unrest in the city, the second day was postponed till further notice. However, the first day seemed to be quite fruitful and promising for the start-ups present. Build-A-Business workshop aims to facilitate the expansion of current businesses, teach business model designs, identify solutions to issues that hinder the businesses’ ability to generate revenue and eventually, generate revenue. It also, provides useful insights from the mentors who have experience in identifying the market strategies to target customers, raise funds and connect the like-minded entrepreneurs from among the community.
Among the list of talented and experienced mentors, were the names of Bilal Athar founder of Wifigen, Iftikhar Hussain representative of Women Innovation Network, Mughees Tahir of PlanX and Ahmed Khan of Cheetay. Each mentor proclaimed their amazement and appreciation for the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. They agreed to the fact that such ventures help empower individuals to start their own business and further enable them to collectively be a part of start-up ecosystem for its growth. This particular Start-up Cup 2018-19 is a great learning experience for start-ups in terms of increasing customer validation, go-to market strategies and makes the product better fit to the market. Bilal Athar believes that, ‘It’s never about the great ideas but about the people behind those great ideas.’ He is of the belief that with the right kind of motivation and energy, one can build great companies irrespective of the ideas they have.
The participating start-ups had diverse and innovative ideas, as every single one was different from each other. Some focused on bringing solutions to the technological challenges that businesses faced, while, some emphasized on merging virtual reality in to the fields of Medicine, Architecture, Real Estate and other industries.
Following are some of the Start-ups that participated in the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19, Build-A-Business Workshop, Lahore;
- ShahRuh: Maryam Qureshi, the co-founder of ShahRuh, talked about her learning experience at ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore. She explained about ShahRuh being an overlooking branch for all the event management related vendors. ShahRuh is an online platform that provides all the event management services in one place. The ShahRuh website will encompass all the event management related vendors’ profiles and those who require the services of such vendors can look them up on the website and book them.
- Mytrainings.pk: Ryan Niaz Khan, an electrical engineer by profession, explained his start-up, Mytraings.pk at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. He has learned from the mentors with diverse experiences and has gained useful insights in the business management world, aiming to win the competition. Mytrainings.pk functions as an online marketplace where individuals are trained on the basis of their skills; online, offline and customized. The sole purpose is to empower the youth and bring them skill based training opportunities from the renowned trainers from all over.
- IoT Cloudware: Shaf Ali, representative of IoT Cloudware, has the start-up incubated in Plan9, and got to know of the Start-up Cup Competition through Facebook promotions. IoT Cloudware is an industrial internet platform. It is a platform that provided information to industries or industrialists regarding their working machineries, the raw material consumptions, production progress or energy consumptions, etc. All the industrial asset information and tracking of the industrial progress is provided at the palm of the industrialists. IoT Cloudware is the facilitator in this process and they aim to gain clarity over their start-up’s competency, networking and marketing initiative. The mentors at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore have been exceptionally helpful in guiding them.
- HopOrbits: Ayesha Ibrahim, founder of the start-up, HopOrbits, has a project management and administration background. HopOrbits is a technological company that provides digital shops to anyone who wants to start a business. The core purpose of HopOrbits is to empower the local retailers by connecting them with the buyers closest in their vicinity. Their vision and mission is to provide a hyper-localized, seamless and secure experience to the buyers and sellers involved. It is open to any retailer from the food, fashion, pharmacy and/or grocery to come to their platform and do business. HopOrbits also gives a business manager feature, which is called an order management service, where you can track, receive and report your orders. Moreover, the buyers can keep a tab on the orders that they have placed and depict their buying patterns.
- MedCoffee: Usayd Ur Rehman, the co-founder of MedCoffee, which specifically supports medical students to prepare for their exams by leveraging technology. He explains that through web application technology, they have come up with this business idea to help doctors prepare for their exams. Even though the content was already available in the market, but it lacked proper help in preparation of the medical students from an exam point of view and further enhance their concepts as well, which MedCoffee does. The questions they have on their application have explanation with the answer options to further explain why a particular option is correct. This helps in content revision and concept enhancement. They explain that they learned at the’ Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore on how their market size can be defined and how their sales can be defined along with the relevant resources to be used in the future. This product is 7 month sold and has crossed the MVP stage, helping students in their post graduates examinations. MedCoffee acknowledges that Start-updotpk is a huge support in helping anyone starting their own venture.
- Propergaanda: Muhammed Ghaznavi, co-founder Properganda, which is a democratic platform that wants to change the Pakistani content curation by being the first global digital content platform. We found out about the Start-up Cup through Plan9 and it has been a learning experience at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore, with the mentors helping and guiding us to improve our idea and implement a few new things.
- Czarina Beauty: Simoneel Czar, CEO and founder of Beauty, explains how her company’s all natural oils help in stimulating hair growth on the scalp, brows, lashes, etc. They also, have a men’s hair care line and special oils for beard hair growth. They also, have edible oil products because the company prides on being organic and natural with zero added chemicals. The oils are infused with crystals, spices and natural herbs that increase the overall quality of the products as well. The core purpose for them to participate at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore, is to change the idea of beauty and encourage people to go from using fake extensions, nails and overall makeup use to taking care of themselves by natural and organic means. The mentors have been exceptionally helpful with their diverse opinions and experiences that has helped her to learn how to pitch to mentors which gets easier and better every time.
- Render Lounge VR: Bilal Majeed, founder and technical lead, explains about Render Lounge VR being a virtual reality visualization company that is seeking to initiate the customer engagement through our simulations and techniques. It is a start-up that tackles different fields including, Architecture, Real Estate, Medical, Product Development and Military. Majeed believes that events like the ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore bring together mentors and entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan to increase the networking opportunities and assess where else the market for our products can be expanded.
- Orbitrack: Arsalan, founder of Orbitrack, found out about the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore through Facebook and his friends. He expects to get useful insights, mentorship and possible investments from this competition, meanwhile increasing his network. The need for Orbittrack arises when the conventional management of fields related staff results in low ROI and low profits in any organizations. Traditionally, the sales management offers these staff results in very low performance and decision making processes, and here Orbittrack steps in. He explains how his product enables an organization to improve its management by tracking its sales force and integrates it with geographical data.
- ZIPSHIP: Uzair Ali, founder of ZIPSHIP, has brought the concept of ‘Advertisement on Wheels’ at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. He explains how the increased ride sharing demand has led to the creation of an interactive outdoor advertisement opportunity with the help of Geo-targeting and Hyper-targeting technology. His start-up will utilize the rear screen of cars as a digital outdoor advertisement screen, displaying the advertisements of bigger brands like Coco Cola or Pepsi or even Car for sale ads. He has found the workshop to be informative and thought provoking with the mentors guiding his team in dealing with possible challenges and set-backs.
- Persona: Nadra Ramzan, founder of Persona, talks about ‘Changing the Persona of Entrepreneurs’ at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. Her start-up aims to be a finishing school but for start-ups and the entrepreneurs who wish to enhance their careers. This will target fresh graduates, young entrepreneurs or those who lack confidence, or spoken English barriers. The coaches and professional trainers in the start-up will help the individuals to become refined and sophisticated with a polished and well-groomed personality.
- SE Drop: Usman Javed, founder of SE Drop has built a small plant that aims to tackle water scarcity and waste water management issues in the country. His compact plant is capable to run in a small house that filters the hardness in the water table of the area that is mixed with the sewage water system. He has found exceptional advice and guidance from the mentors at the ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore, and plans on implementing the information he has received.
- Qayam-Gah: Ahmed Awan, founder of Qayam-Gah has built a start-up that listens to the plight of young people living in hostels and offers a complete directory for students to pick the hostels to their suitability and well within their budgets. The start-up offers nearby locations, affordable rates and exceptional facilities being offered by the hostels in the vicinity on a singular online platform. Also, present are reviews left by those who have availed the opportunity so, that a check can be maintained by those who are offering the services and those looking for them. Qayam-Gah offers all this information through their web portals and guarantees to save the time of both the stakeholders. His team has found the experience at the ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore to be enriching and informative and enabled them to network with other start-ups.
- Track Trace and Secure (TTS): Shehroze Ahmed, founder of TTS, represents one of the shortlisted start-ups at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. TTS aims to tackle issues that are related to mishandling and misplacement of goods in the logistics industry. They have integrated RFID and GPS modules in one solution that will provide solutions and services like real time tracking and tracing of goods and shipments to the unit level.
- A.S Pottery: Arshia Salman, founder of A.S Pottery has brought the solution of making branded products avail at affordable prices to your doorstep at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore. Her start-up bases on the ideology of providing good quality and branded products to the middle class population. The high end brand products are available in the market at high prices, which the A.S Pottery is aiming to change. The products will be second hand but not broken or faulty or in poor conditions. Hence, the slightly used but good condition products of high end brands will help the middle class population to decorate their houses in a stylish and trendy manner.
- Vceela.com: Akeel Khalid, founder of Vceela.com brought the vision of his company at the ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore, which brings every artisan in the world directly to the market. Vceela.com aims to create an ecosystem where hand-made crafts are brought to the door-steps of individuals under one platform. This enables the artisan to get the profits out of their products which are rightfully theirs to keep instead of going in the pockets of the middle men, which were conventionally involved.
- TajirBazaar.com: Ali Hassan, the founder of TajirBazaar.com, has brought the ideology of connecting the manufacturer with the consumer market directly, and by-passing the middle man. He pitched his business idea at the Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop in Lahore, and explained the need for a single platform in the trade industry where the manufacturer directly deals with the consumer market instead of involving multiple middle men which makes the product expensive in the consumer market and creates further issues in marketing and selling of the manufactured good.
Know more about these startups from the founders themselves here:
- Sehatmp: Gulfam Abid, founder of Sehatmp, revealed that shockingly, 0.5 Billion people die every day due to bad quality and/or fake medicines. However, he has brought his start-up of Sehatmp at the ‘Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 Build-A-Business Workshop’ in Lahore, to provide a solution to this crisis. The home delivery service enables the customers to get quality medicines at their doorstep. His team has met exceptional mentors at the workshop that have helped them refine their business idea further.