- About Us
This is the first Startup Grind conference in all of Asia, bringing together over 1,500 founders and thought leaders, for conversations around the role of technology for the future of Pakistan featuring globally successful Pakistani entrepreneurs, technology experts and local heroes.
He's the CEO of National IT Board Pakistan, Chairman of Ignite - National Technology Fund, Director of Universal Service Fund (USF), National Telecom Corporation (NTC) and Pakistan Telecom Corporation Ltd (PTCL). Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Ex Oracle, holds an MBA from MIT, Public Leadership program from Harvard Business School and Electrical & Communications Engineering from UET Lahore.
NADRA Pakistan (2002 - 2006)
- Chief Architect of the “Computerized National ID Card (CNIC)” process at NADRA that allocates 13-Digit CNIC number Citizens of Pakistan today.
- Project Head of NICOP and POC for overseas Pakistani citizens.
- Chief Architect of Paperless Workflow & Communication process at NADRA.
- Chief Architect of “Data Demographics” for critical policies & planning across government depts.
ORACLE Silicon Valley, California (2006 - 2014)
- Created Oracle Communications line-of-business across ASEAN (South-East Asian) countries.
- Founded NFV/SDN product line global business of Oracle in Silicon Valley.
- Created technology alliances with top Fortune 500 companies of Silicon Valley.
- One of the few leaders from ASIA invited to join Oracle Silicon Valley Telecom Team in California.
- Created Oracle Telecom Appliances business. $18M annual business in the first year
Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (2014 - 2019)
- Founder & CEO: Cronus Digital - A solutions company that brings innovation and creativity at the intersection of Telecommunications and Information Technology.
- Co-Founder: Helioswire Inc. - First Microsatellites powered blockchain and AI/ML solutions company of the World, focused on connecting machines and devices spread across global geographies.
- Founding Member: Spire Global Inc. – Big Data company focused on connecting maritime vessels across the World. Launched 70+ Microsatellites.
- As an Entrepreneur generated $100M+ business globally.
- Holds Executive relationships with the biggest commercial enterprises of the world spread across: ASEAN, EU, North America and Latin America.
- Leveraging executive relationships, propelled technology companies to become next generation Technology Power Houses.
Operations & General Management
- Track record of creating, training and managing large teams.
- Key Asset: Being an Engineer and an MBA, has equal command across Technology, Business & Management.
- Well known for operations management and known to transform distressed organizations into profitable and revenue generating organizations. Widely known in the Industry for his creativity, initiatives & leadership.
- One of the most distinguished alums of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Kennedy School of Public Leadership.
- MBA from MIT - Sloan School of Management.
- Public Leadership & Corporate Strategy – Harvard Business School & Harvard Kennedy School.
- Electrical and Communications Engineer from UET Lahore.
Adeel Raza is a serial tech entrepreneur. His first successful exit was in 2010 when his startup in the CRM space, ContactMe, was acquired by Webs Inc (a subsidiary of Vistaprint N.V.). Since then, he has founded multiple startups and is currently the cofounder and CEO of MailMunch Inc, Unlayer and CTO of Minder. He has scaled MailMunch to be a leader in the lead generation space with over 12 billion annual views of the lead-gen tools. Minder is currently the go-to marriage app for a million Muslims worldwide, and responsible for nearly 8000 marriages in the west. Adeel has frequently appeared in leading tech press and his startups have been featured by TechCrunch and others.
I am a social entrepreneur working on economic empowerment of women and youth. I am Co-Founder of CIRCLE, a social enterprise running advocacy campaigns and undertaking initiatives on youth and women's leadership, entrepreneurship & employment. In March, I initiated the Elevate Campaign in Pakistan to showcase women's potential & achievements & engage male leaders, from corporate, social & government to bring forward women's voices & perspectives. Join us to collaborate, deepen impact!
I bring the Adaptive Leadership framework taught at the Harvard Kennedy School to the Middle East and South Asia region having worked on leadership development programs in UAE & Pakistan with leading corporates and social enterprises. I consult International Finance Corporation on gender diversity & coach MBA students at INSEAD as a Social Entrepreneur In Residence (SEiR). I led Kashf Foundation as the COO & later as the CEO to grow Kashf from a pilot project in two rooms to serve 300,000 women clients, employ 2000 staff & disburse US$ 200 million to support micro-businesses in Pakistan.
Murtaza Zaidi is a seasoned entrepreneur; Founder of CyberVision International; a broad spectrum organization involved in creating world class custom application software & web solutions. CyberVision International’s mission is to offer custom software solutions and build niche market products.
Murtaza launched Quantum Geoservices Pvt. Ltd; first independent and privately owned Oil and Gas Seismic Data Processing Company in Pakistan, with its head office located in Singapore, provides a full range of 2D, 3D, 4D land and marine geophysical integrated/interactive solutions, he is one of the Directors of the company and also holds the Country Head position in Pakistan.
Being an entrepreneur himself, Murtaza feels a profound responsibility to create and promote an enabling environment for entrepreneurship. He is the Executive Director of TiE Islamabad Chapter of TiE Global; TiE is the world’s largest non-profit organization that fosters Entrepreneurship. He has established and leads WECREATE, a women’s entrepreneurship development incubation/co-working space, and organizes the Pakistan Startup Cup, an entrepreneurship development and competition program, which over three years has processed over 2200 entries including 50% women driven initiatives, many from the Northern Areas and KPK. He played an instrumental role in launching the TiE Islamabad Angel fund; one of the very first of its kind in the country to invest in Startup companies.
Member Global Board of Griffin Worx INC. (previously StartUp Cup Llc), which has grassroots entrepreneurial development programs in 46 countries around the world and is focused on developing and challenged socio-economies, being the Thought Partner (Advisor) he has played an instrumental role by advising StartUp Cup global initiative; StartUp Cup is a global program for the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems, startups and job creation, operating a global network of "accelerators without walls" in over 46 countries.
Murtaza is also the Co-chair of Innovation Steering Committee of Higher Education Commission (HEC) driving the ORICS (Office of research, innovations and commercialization). Murtaza has also served as a Board Member of Skill Development Council, Islamabad, since 2010. Skill Development Council, Islamabad, was established by the Government of Pakistan, with the aim to identify, develop and arrange Vocational, Technical / Professional and IT Training Programs.
His recent engagement is as the Project Director of the newly established National Incubation Center, Peshawar funded by Ignite - National Technology Fund.
Mark's work combines collective intelligence with AI, networks, complex systems, behavioral science, and neuroscience. He works at the intersection of business, technology, and society in areas including innovation, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies.
Mark is the CEO and founder of Vork, a business social networking app. He also founded Orcasci, a consulting firm designing scaling strategies with recent clients including the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize. Previously Mark co-founded Imaginatik plc, a pioneer in crowdsourcing and collaborative problem solving for innovation.
During his 16 years at Imaginatik, Mark worked with hundreds of companies, including Allianz, Bayer, Cargill, IBM, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Whirlpool and Xerox.
The World Economic Forum nominated him a Technology Pioneer and a Young Global Leader. Mark is a Professor of Global Strategy at Hult International Business School.
Faizan Aslam, Founder & CEO of e-ticketing startup BookMe, was your typical college student. His first entrepreneurial endeavor was a simple printing business. Faizan, who shared his college dormitory with 2,500 other students, bought a basic Inkjet printer for approximately US$30 and started charging his peers a few cents for simple printing jobs. Alternative printing facilities were located a fair distance away and this rudimentary solution was cheap and convenient.
Unfortunately in the mid-2000s accessing the internet was a costly proposition in Pakistan. Luckily for him, a new internet service provider was setting up shop in Islamabad and was eager to cater to students. Faizan, at the time a college sophomore, visited their office and negotiated a special deal and helped market the service amongst his peers, earning commissions on each sale. In his first month alone he sold more than 500 modems, making a handsome profit of almost US$3,500.
Eventually sales hit a plateau but by now Faizan was hooked onto the entrepreneurial bug. He knew the internet was a great equalizer and wanted to leverage it further. Faizan, a software engineer by training, roped in a friend and opened an account on freelance site Rent A Coder. He nabbed his first few projects almost immediately: designing websites and logos, and dabbling in data entry and setup a formal company after graduation.
The new company, Makro Pak Solutions, no longer relied on freelancing platforms to source projects. Faizan’s roster of clients had grown to an extent that he was able to tap existing networks for outsourcing/consulting work. As he scaled up, his team grew to more than 30 people. Unfortunately, disaster struck and Makro Pak Solutions had to be wrapped up due to receivables of around US$65,000, Faizan was forced to lay off almost all his staff. The ones who remained did so out of personal loyalty rather than unbridled optimism for the future.
Faizan was now back to square one but determined to forge a new path. By now Faizan was married. After two failed attempts to buy cinema tickets with his wife, he understood this was undoubtedly a pain point experienced by other consumers. His new startup, BookMe, an online ticketing portal for movies, events, and buses was borne out of a desire to help others. Since launch, BookMe has been making steady progress. It’s been a Startup Arena finalist at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2014, expanded operations to Myanmar, and most importantly raised cash valuing the firm at US$4 million.
“I’ve applied all the learnings from my previous failures in BookMe,” explains Faizan. “We try to be as lean as possible, diversify revenue channels, and keep building products that our users want. Nothing can ever be perfect but it’s important to keep learning and growing.”
Ali Mukhtar is the Founder and CEO of Fatima Ventures. He founded the young and progressive venture capital in 2014 with the vision to support the startup ecosystem of Pakistan. He is a graduate from University of Pennsylvania and under his leadership, Fatima Ventures has already invested $615k to date in MangoBaaz, Beauty Hooked & Interacta and actively looking for more startups.
Muddassar Ahmed is Managing Partner at Unitas Communications Ltd, a British PR consultancy, where he’s led on projects for the United Nations, Amnesty international, NFL, the Hillary Clinton Campaign, the US State Department and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation amongst many others. He also founded the Concordia Forum, an annual retreat for senior Western Muslim leaders.
In addition, he’s President of the John Adams Society, the UK’s official US State Dept. IVLP Association. He’s a Director of the European Network of (US State Dept.) American Alumni, The IDEAS fund & Faith’s Forum for London. He’s also a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, an advisory board member at US Atlantic Council and a Global Advisory Council member for US Global Ties.
He also recently completed a term as an Independent Advisor to the UK Government on combatting anti-Muslim hatred. He has been listed for 3 years in a row by Georgetown University and RSCIS as amongst the 500 most influential Muslims globally. He has written and commented for the BBC, CNN, NYT, Jerusalem post and the Telegraph.
Meghan Mercier is serving as the Budget Advisor in U.S. Embassy-Islamabad’s Office of Economic and Development Assistance (ASSIST), which works to coordinate U.S. civilian foreign assistance to Pakistan across the U.S. interagency. This is Meghan’s second year in Pakistan, having also served as a Political-Economic Officer in Lahore. Meghan is a career diplomat who has a wide range of experience across four continents: promoting entrepreneurship and negotiating science and technology agreements in Madrid, Spain; providing American citizen and visa services in Bogota, Colombia; and managing $1 billion in foreign assistance to Mexico and Central America in the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assistance.
She has received several Meritorious and Superior Honor awards for reporting, negotiation, and economic development. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Meghan worked as an energy and environmental policy analyst at PFC Energy. Meghan holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri, a M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is a native of Omaha, Nebraska.
Over the course of 15 years Muhammad Nasrullah (Nash) has started 4 startups in Pakistan and sold 3 of them. He’s grown companies to millions of users, hundreds of business customers and has raised several million dollars from Pakistan and abroad. He’s a technical founder and has written several patents and has designed architecture that scale to billions of transactions. He’s also an enterprise sales veteran and is passionate about using technology to bring change.
He’s currently on a mission to connect all the world’s apps together as founder and CEO of Integry.
Syed Ahmad is the Founder & CEO of DPL, a leading software company based in Islamabad. Like no one else, DPL is setting a trend in Pakistan defying popular culture with its own counter-culture movement called “Rebel Ethos”. DPL’s mission statement reflects this: “Liberating minds to become the model IT enterprise in the region”.
Syed founded DPL in 2003 with three co-founders straight out of university. Learning from its ruthless mentor i.e. the market, DPL is now a multi-million dollar company that has top global companies as its clients in the US and Northern Europe. Syed wants to build DPL into the first large-scale IT company from Pakistan that can compete at global stage with likes of InfoSys and Accenture. In order to achieve its goals, DPL is focusing on building a team comprised of top talent and giving them an environment and culture that is no less than the Silicon Valley. DPL has already won various awards and recognition and currently going through high-growth phase.
Nadeem Hussain was the founder, CEO and President of Tameer Micro Finance Bank, Pakistan’s first private sector microfinance bank and world leader in branchless banking. His efforts towards financial inclusion of the economically marginalized have impacted over 10 million people by extending credit and mobile banking facilities to unbanked Pakistanis. Mr. Hussain’s bank introduced the first stand-alone micro health insurance program in rural areas to protect poor households from falling further below the poverty line and, therefore, has been asked by the SECP to lead its micro-insurance forum
Mr. Hussain’s bank is a pioneer in mobile and branchless banking in Pakistan and serves over 4 million people making 7 million transactions per month. Mr. Hussain forged a partnership with an international telecom to provide mobile banking solutions to a large segment of the unbanked Pakistani population. This initiative has become Pakistan’s largest mobile transaction channel in a short span of three years and has been recognized by the World Bank as one of the top three branchless banking solutions in the world.
Mr. Hussain champions the causes of financial empowerment, access to healthcare, environmental sustainability, affordable housing and provision of alternate energy to all Pakistanis. He has spent the last 8 years focusing on these areas through his leadership of Tameer Micro Finance Bank and through his involvement with various organizations. Mr. Hussain serves on the advisory board of Institute of Business Administration. He is a Chairperson of the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) and Institute of Capital Markets. He also fulfills his Trustee responsibilities for the Indus Foundation and the Jinnah Institute. Mr. Hussain is an active member of the State Bank’s and SECP consultative groups on various initiatives including Microfinance and insurance. He is also leading the effort to implement Universal Standards of Social Performance Management (USSPM) across all PMN member banks and institutes.
Prior to pursuing his passion of making a difference, he worked in international banking for over almost 3 decades with Citigroup in seven different countries and major financial centers of the world. Mr. Hussain’s illustrious banking career included working in corporate banking, consumer banking, risk management, insurance, transaction banking and treasury. He served as General Manager and Head of Consumer Banking for Citibank, Pakistan. Under his guidance, Citibank Pakistan pioneered the concept of consumer banking, with the introduction of credit cards, auto mobile financing and residential mortgage financing. Nadeem effectively turned the bank around after it went into loss due to the freezing of foreign currency accounts in 1998.
He also served as board member of the Honk Kong Commodities Exchange. Nadeem has also served as Chairman of the Y2000 Bank Committee and the Overseas Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Government of Pakistan Investment Advisory Board.
Nadeem Hussain is globally recognized for his dedication and service to financial inclusion. He chaired the United Nation’s MDG Session on Financial Inclusion in New York in September 2010, and is a frequent speaker at international forums on branchless banking and Microfinance. He was invited to speak at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Johns Hopkins University in 2012 where Tameer Bank was showcased as Asia’s solution to financial empowerment. He was awarded the Global leader award in 2011 by C5 in Geneva.
Zouhair is a business executive with global experience in telecom and technology with deep experience in Board strategy, operations, startups, turnarounds, M&A, mobile money, micro-finance and real estate. He is Managing Partner at ICE Advisory LLP, Co-Founder and Partner at TeamUp, the service delivery partner to the National Incubation Centre, Former CEO of Jazz (previously known as Mobilink). He holds a portfolio of Advisory and Non-Executive Board positions. He has worked with Orascom Telecom Holdings, the GSM Association, Gemini Holdings (Sawiris Family Office), Motorola UK, the Dhabi Group, Millicom International, the ICI Group and PWC.
Zouhair was a key part of the launch team at Mobilink in 1993-96. As CEO, June 2003-08, he led Mobilink to be the largest mobile operator and the largest private sector company in the country and amongst the top 5 fastest growing mobile companies in the region. He's led group initiatives in mobile money, infrastructure sharing, restructured a mobile company and carved out a Wi-Max business for sale. He has led mobile operator launches in Egypt, Algeria,Tunisia, Pakistan and Jordan. He has served on the Boards of mobile operations in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Jordan, and on the Boards of Islamabad Stock Exchange, the Ignite Fund and as Senior Advisor to the Better Than Cash Alliance, UNCDF. He was till recently Non Exec Director at Du (Emirates Integrated Telecom Investment Holdings Limited_
He is currently an advisor on tech startups, Co-Founder of TeamUp, an incubator and mentoring platform, and the service delivery partner to the National Incubation Centre in Islamabad, a Public-Private Partnership with the Government. He is Managing Partner ICE Advisory LLP, Non Exec Director at Engro Foods Limited, and on the Advisory Board of FieldForceLLC, a software analytics company. He is on the Board of Regents, Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and an alumni of INSEAD, France.
In January 2018, I had a hunch that there are extraordinary adventures just outside my doorstep: in the wilderness, in the mountains, in the steppe. At a crossroads in my life, I listened to that voice, left everything behind and moved out of London.
Here's what happened in the time since then:
1. I rediscovered my motherland - Poland - and shared its beauty with the world in a month-long campaign with the Polish Tourism Board.
2. I trekked to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
3. I fell in love with and went viral in Pakistan! See here.
As I continue my travels through India, Vietnam and China, I'm inching closer and closer to the Mongolian steppe, where I intend to spend the summer.
Want to know what I did prior to all this? Here's the low-down:
As the company's first employee, for four years I led the growth of Culture Trip, a travel media start-up, from 300k to 10M monthly visitors and from 0 to 5M social media fans, plus 1BN video views in a single year.
Before that, I worked at the European Parliament in Brussels, travelled like a madwoman and studied French & German at the University of Oxford. Didn't think an artsy degree would get me very far.
I’m an adventurous executive with global experience across several industries - hospitality, luxury travel, technology, real estate, and wellness.
After 11 years in Dubai and 2 in Pakistan, I'm able to adapt quickly to diverse settings and I’m accustomed to the dynamic pace of emerging & growth-leading economies. With an academic background in policy and political science, I take a straightforward approach to leadership and can quickly analyze issues and offer clear, objective recommendations to inform and guide stakeholders.
As Chief Marketing, Sales, & Revenue Officer at Hashoo Group - Pakistan’s largest hospitality company, I lead a team of 100+ people and drive the divisional strategy with a focus on profitability, innovation, and cross-functional collaboration. I also work closely with key public and private sector partners to promote tourism in Pakistan.
Outside of work I devote much of my time to supporting entrepreneurship by serving as a guest speaker, coach, and mentor to local startup programs, as well as a sector expert and judge for the USAID SMEA Challenge Fund and National Incubation Center.
At Kempinski Hotels I was responsible for brand communications in India, the Middle East, and Africa and managed a team of marketing managers in 20 hotels. I developed communications strategies for Kempinski as they rapidly expanded their portfolio by adding 12 more hotels in the region, focusing on brand outreach in new markets and building on brand equity in feeder markets in Europe, Asia, and North America.
At Dubai World, I managed budgets in the 10s of millions USD and oversaw global launches of major real estate projects - The World Islands, Trump Tower Palm Jumeirah, and the openings of Fontainebleau Miami and W Hotel Washington DC. Working with some of the best events and branding agencies in the world we crafted global communications plans for launching iconic North American brands in Dubai such as Cirque du Soleil and Sea World.
Zeeshan Khadim is the Head of Corporate / IT Information Security at Airbnb HQ in Silicon Valley. With over 13 years of professional experience, Zeeshan has worked with global companies including Facebook and Google. Zeeshan did his Bachelors' in Computer Systems from GIKI, Pakistan and Masters in Computers & Information Sciences from University of Delaware.
Haseeb Awan is a Financial Technology (FinTech) entrepreneur with a track record of two successful business exits, raising over 100M in venture capital & growing the customer base from 0-4 Million users & expanding to 15 countries across 4 continents within 18 months. He has been included among the top 100 influential people in FinTech globally, won multiple international awards, wrote for and is mentioned on multiple international media & frequently speaks at international conferences & government committees. He is an engineer by degree with Master’s in Engineering Management & also has studied Financial Markets from Yale University & holds Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. He is also a Y-Combinator Alumni as well Next Founders & couple of other associations. He is among the earliest entrepreneurs in blockchain space & personal investor in 30+ companies & advisor to over 10 companies.
I have recently completed the Sloan Fellows program, a one year mid-career MBA in Innovation and Global Leadership at MIT Sloan School of Management. I was previously working as Director Customer Care & Customer Experience Management with Mobilink in Pakistan, after earlier roles with the company including Director CEM & Advisor to the CEO and Director Marketing – Brands & Media.
At MIT, I have spent my time to refine my vision with respect to how technology is transforming the world and its implications for businesses, to brush up my leadership skills and grow my network of friends, professional connections, and influencers. In line with my interest, most of my electives have been focused around Digital Marketing, Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Transformation in Digital Age, Product and Service Design in the Internet Age, Global Business of AI & Robotics, and Internet of Things.
In order to leverage my focus on innovation, customer centricity and analytics to drive business success in the digital economy, I have joined Careem, an on demand mobility solution provider, as GM Lahore, Pakistan.
Dilawar is President at Freshworks (formerly, Freshdesk), heading up the cloud-based software company’s North America business overseeing enterprise sales, marketing, customer success and partnerships. Freshworks has rapidly grown to more than 100,000 customers globally. Backed by Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Google Capital and Sequoia Capital, the company has raised $149 million in funding.
Prior to joining Freshworks, Dilawar was CEO at Yonja Media Group and launched digital brands in the Turkish market. At Yahoo, Dilawar was responsible for the company’s platform and infrastructure strategy and business operations. Previously, Dilawar spent several years in product management in enterprise software at SAP and Siebel Systems (acquired by Oracle).
In parallel to his entrepreneurial track, Dilawar has been a leader in civic efforts globally. As President Obama’s Commissioner for Asian American communities, Dilawar led White House’s charge with entrepreneurs across the U.S. advocating for immigration reform, and access to capital and federal government resources. Dilawar was on the front lines of U.S. presidential campaigns as a surrogate in both Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s campaigns, stumping amongst immigrant communities. Following the 2016 election, Dilawar has continued his work to protect civil liberties leading the charge in the Tech community. Dilawar is co-founder of the AAPI Victory Fund which drives voter registration and mobilization across the Asian American community.
He holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned Bachelors in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Startup Grind with Sana Mir, former captain of the Pakistan women’s cricket team, also the most admired and successful female athlete in the history of Pakistan.
The country’s most celebrated women cricketer, Sana Mir, former captain of the Pakistan women’s cricket team, also the most admired and successful female athlete in the history of Pakistan.
She has led the Women Cricket team to numerous victories, including two gold medals at the Asian Games (2010 and 2014).
Sana, the brilliant all-rounder, reached the desired milestone of 146 wickets in just in 118th ODI while playing against South Africa
she has taken all the challenges on the chin to emerge taller each time makes Sana Mir really special and a living legend of Pakistan women’s cricket.
If you want to meet, Pride of Pakistan, Sana Mir then spare an hour for Startup Grind Abbottabad with the legendary Sana Mir
Ahmed Khan is the Founder & CEO of Cheetay Logistics Pvt. Ltd. One of Ahmed's startups, Kaymu.pk got aquired by Rocket Internet GmbH and he later joined the company as the MD Asia & Europe. Ahmed has been involved in a wide variety of roles from Analytics to IT to Operations to Consulting to Marketing to Finance. Currently he is pursuing an entrepreneurial wave, setting up companies for ECommerce all over the world. He has set up online ventures for Etail, Classified and Marketplace in general and various verticals. Geographies he has launched include Pakistan, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia and a few others. He also serves on the Board of Punjab Mineral Development Corporation.
Starting out with a Bachelors Degree in Economics, History and English Literature FSJ as he is commonly known brings 30 years of experience in advertising, Television, 3G telephony, New media and digital publishing to his current role as an entrepreneur, angel investor and mentor to a number of technology startups in Pakistan.
In his current involvement with companies like XGear, Travly, Patari, Cfx Comics, AutoX, Fictive Labs and Bookme he develops, articulates and helps execute business strategies for growth.
Recognising the inexorable shift towards e commerce, information, data flow measurement and analysis FSJ is the key evangelizer for going digital with almost any business and is a strong believer for data being key to customer understanding and the most important growth driver.
He is currently the Director of LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Ali Gul is an entrepreneur and the Co-founder of Mangobaaz. Ali started working on his first startup while he was pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Babson College. After graduating from college he spent a couple of years working in the United States before moving to Pakistan where he co-founded Mangobaaz with his best friend from school. Mangobaaz is on a mission to publish content users love to read and is now recognized as the most popular online entertainment platforms in Pakistan.
Shahid has a passion for technology, entrepreneurship, music, family & friends and is innately entrepreneur focused. His first start-up Cricingif aims at revolutionizing cricket consumption and fan engagement with the sport through technology driven innovation.
Technology has converted this world into a flat digital carnival, anyone and everyone can setup shop and start making business, under the realization, Shahid envisions of being part of the booths that actually make a difference.
From graduating from one of the top IT universities in his country to being the CTO of one of the best digital agencies, to founding the best Startup in all of ASIA PACIFIC region, Shahid has worked in both corporate and startup environments enabling him to think beyond the convention.
In a nutshell, Shahid is an IT Enthusiast, a musician & a stern competitor.
Shameelah Ismail is a social entrepreneur, business graduate, home-maker and mother. She is the founder and CEO of GharPar, a social enterprise that supports women who work in the beauty industry in Pakistan.
Ms. Ismail grew up in Lahore, but spent many years living in France as a teenager. During this time she travelled extensively throughout Europe and North America, and was able to build a world view for herself that was inclusive, moderate, creative and above all empowering for all genders and age groups. Ms. Ismail is a firm believer of women empowerment through economic independence, as she herself comes from an affluent and well connected family in Pakistan, and wants to create a world where every women has access to opportunities and privilege just like her own.
Her initiative, GharPar, is an innovative, never-done-before venture that was conceived as a product of this world view, and her compassion for others. Ms. Ismail's educational training in business administration, and her heart felt desire to create a business environment that connected women to the source of their livelihood motivated her to launch GharPar, where beauty services are brought to the client in the comfort of their homes.
The beauty industry in Pakistan is mostly unregulated, but a highly popular field of work for both client and the service provider. Yet, most workers get their training at often sub-standard privately owned salons, and there are no quality checks on training standards. Ms. Ismail recognized the potential in regularizing these services and provided a training and business platform to women beauticians.
And the result of this innovative idea is GharPar, where clients are brought to the beauticians, and beauticians are brought to the client. It’s GharPar, where beauty is done comfortably.
Mrs. Irum Bukhari is a bureaucrat in Grade 21 from Pakistan Administrative Service. During a career spanning over 27 years, she has demonstrated her expertise and proficiency at the operational, strategic and policy levels at various positions in District Administration, Provincial and Federal Government, and Autonomous Organizations. A trailblazer within public sector since early 90s, she holds the distinction of being the first female Assistant Commissioner and Sub Divisional Magistrate of Saddar sub division at Lahore, the first female Additional District Magistrate of Dera Ghazi Khan and the first female Additional Commissioner of Bahawalpur. Under the new governance set up introduced in 2001, she became Pakistan’s first female Executive District Officer (Revenue) exercising powers of Commissioner and set the unique record of serving as the first female EDO Revenue of three districts successively, including Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan where she further set records of highest revenue recovery.
Irum served as District Coordination Officer, Dera Ghazi Khan and made history as the only female officer of the country who has commanded the Baluch Levy, a Para Military Force in a Provincially Administered Tribal Area. She further holds the honour of being the only female civil servant to have commanded the Border Military Police.
After performing her duties as Chief Executive Officer of Child Protection and Welfare Bureau Punjab, Irum Bukhari was assigned the task of establishing a new administrative department for women in the province. Consequently, she served for more than three years as the founding Secretary of Women Development Department Punjab. During this period, she established Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, the Office of Ombudsperson for dealing with workplace harassment and the Punjab Day Care Fund. Irum Bukhari is acknowledged as the motivational force behind numerous legislative amendments and procedural changes introduced by the Govt. of Punjab for gender equality and socio economic empowerment of women. She represented Pakistan at the United Nations CSW Session at New York in 2014 and has been conducting sessions on gender for under training judges at the Punjab Judicial Academy. In April 2019, she was invited to speak as the sole representative of Pakistan at the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development held by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia at Beirut, Lebanon.
Irum has served as Secretary to Government of the Punjab in Industries and Higher Education Departments. In the Federal Government, she was posted as faculty member in the National School of Public Policy and led an all-male official delegation to Nigeria. She has also performed duties as Director General in the office of Federal Ombudsman.
Currently, she is serving for the second time as Secretary Women Development Punjab.
Muneeb Maayr graduated with a bachelors in Economics from the University of Virginia and worked in investment banking at Bear Stearns in New York City before returning to Islamabad to set up a back office for US-based SNL Financial, a financial content collection company. From 2004 to 2012, Muneeb helped build a 600 person back office for SNL operating 24/7 collecting data on public companies in the US.
In 2012 when PE firm New Mountain Capital acquired SNL, Muneeb exited to join Rocket Internet as Co-Founder and CEO of Daraz, an Amazon style marketplace of consumer and fashion goods that sold to Alibaba Group in 2018. After 4 years of building Daraz, Muneeb founded Bykea, a marketplace of services offered by a network of motorcycles that today serves over a million Pakistanis, where he continues to build products and find tech solutions for urban Pakistanis. He has not given any TED talks before.
Jehan Ara is the President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA). She has been spearheading efforts at P@SHA for the past 10 years during which time she was responsible for developing the P@SHA brand and for creating linkages between P@SHA and local and international partners. Jehan has vast 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 sits on the Advisory Boards of the Punjab IT Board, Plan 9 Incubator, LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship incubator “The Foundation” and several universities. She is also the President of Bolo Bhi, a Research Based Civil Society organization that focuses on Open Access.
During her last 10 years at P@SHA, Jehan has initiated and worked on many initiatives including Startup Insiders, the P@SHA LaunchPad series, the P@SHA ICT Awards and the P@SHA Career Expo and The Nest I/O P@SHA's Tech Incubator.
Imran is the founder & CEO of NexDegree. Through his firm,he has helped both large enterprises & startups alike in coming up with data management strategies thereby driving better value to downstream customers. Imran holds a degree in computer science from Stanford University and is the founding president of the Stanford Club of Pakistan.
While in the US, Imran worked as a research analyst and consultant for a biometrics consulting firm in New York City where his clients included both private and government institutions such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and Honeywell.
Besides NexDegree he has also co-founded startups in cleantech, computer vision, health and fintech.
In 2013, he also co-founded Karachi’s first technology incubator / co-working space, DotZero, to help aspiring entrepreneurs to launch, fund, run and succeed in their businesses.Later on expanding into Dotzero Ventures focusing on early stage/angel investments.
He has also served as an advisor and mentor to other incubators and angel groups such as Nest I/O & Planet-N.
Mr. Khalid Nawaz Awan is co-founder and Chairman of TCS. Mr. Awan businesses developed over the 30 years are collectively called the ‘Tranzum’ group. Besides business, he devotes his time to several welfare, and professional bodies.
Under leadership of Khalid Awan, TCS has host of remarkable management practices which enables it to remain highly competitive while maintaining a formidable presence all over Pakistan with thousands of employees. These practices as well as its history have been subject of a case study at Harvard Business School making TCS among few organizations from this part of the world to be featured at such coveted platform.
Nabeel Qadeer, a prominent catalyst of Entrepreneurship in Pakistan, most recently assumed his role as Project Chair at United Nations Conference of Trade And Development (UNCTAD) – Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project. He is also the driving force behind Idea Croron Ka, Pakistan’s First Business Reality Show in Pakistan. His vision was always to promote entrepreneurship and played a key role in establishing the startup ecosystem in Pakistan. However, he soon realized that without investment the startups die down. Thus, with the notion to help entrepreneurs scale their startups into large-scale companies, he laid the foundation to this TV show in 2017, which acts as a platform between investors and aspiring entrepreneurs. With over twelve years of managerial experience, Nabeel Akmal Qadeer also assumed the role of Director of Entrepreneurship at Punjab Information Technology Board. His work experience encompasses multiple domains including management information systems, entrepreneurship, change management, strategy & planning, business analysis and project management. Not just this, he is also the co-founder of a business & IT consultancy firm by the name of Technopsis. With offices in two major cities of Pakistan and a client base spanning across the Middle East, Asia and United Kingdom; he has ample experience in effective strategy development, positioning a brand in new markets and managing end-to-end operations of an organization effectively.
Nabeel as the former Director of Entrepreneurship steered all initiatives that fell in the space of technology entrepreneurship backed by the Government. Projects like Plan9 – Pakistan’s Largest Technology Incubator, PlanX – Technology Accelerator, TechHub Connect – a co-working space for freelancers, Herself – an initiative to empower women and Whizkids – an initiative to instill entrepreneurial spirit in school going students are the initiatives he took charge of under this umbrella.
Nabeel has recently assumed the role of Chief Innovation Officer at Superior Group. As the CIO of the group, he has the responsibility of instilling the agenda of innovation in the education system of Superior Network (which includes 1 university, 150+ colleges & 350+ schools). Apart from academia, his role spans across the entire media group that includes 2 TV channels; Neo television Network & Lahore Rang, Nai Baat Newspaper and Radio FM 106.6 – The Voice of Entrepreneurs.
Last but not the least; Nabeel is also the founder of a new startup incubator called Innovation District 92 (ID92). Innovation District 92 operates on a model that is new to Pakistan's entrepreneurial ecosystem & startups get first hand access to resources of the Media Group to market their accomplishments.
Nabeel has been involved as a Project Manager with numerous SMEs across Pakistan helping them streamline and automate their business processes. He is currently the best-known teacher of entrepreneurship in Lahore, teaching at multiple institutes including FAST, ITU and Superior University.
He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He topped the batch at one of the best business schools in UK; Strathclyde Business School.
Among his major achievements is the Young Leaders Award 2016 presented to him by the Government for his exemplary services in Entrepreneurship. He is a true patriot and all his efforts are backed by his motivation to make Pakistan an economic force. He hopes to achieve this by bringing a positive impact in the entrepreneurial landscape of Pakistan.
Adil Moosajee is a serial entrepreneur, educationalist, personal development coach and a mentor.
He is the brainchild behind the widely successful women’s clothing brand, EGO; an eclectic fine dining restaurant, The East End and recently launched café, The Funky Crow.
He also serves as a key mentor at The Nest I/O, a google funded incubation space for small businesses.
Adil’s latest endeavor is personal development coaching, dealing with individuals on a one-on- one level to drill them to their envisioned ambitions. His passion is to work on and develop projects that help define the identity of Pakistan locally and internationally. His ethos is to push the boundaries of individuals and businesses to try and achieve their full potential.
Sadia Bashir is the founder of PixelArt Games Academy (PGA), which is Pakistan’s first Video Game Development Teaching & Training Academy.
She has done Masters in Computer Science from Comsats Institute of Information Technology and has been working in the Game Industry as an artist/game designer for the last 8 years. Sadia started doing research on video game development as a part of her educational degree. She has been teaching collaborative learning experience in her training programs to empower Pakistani game developers with skills to create their own innovative ideas in video games.
She has represented Pakistan Game Industry internationally on many platforms and was also invited as a speaker at Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and GameLab at American University, Washington DC.
Sadia has organised multiple international events & games jam in Pakistan. Games Emerge Conference in Pakistan is one of her popular initiatives.
Recently, she has also been listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 Enterprise Technology in Asia.
Business & Market development professional with 22 years’ experience across Pakistan, of managing and leading teams nationally for Pre-Sales, after Sales, Subscriber management and retention, Processes and Service operations, Segments and marketing, Fixed Broad Band Products and IoT Solutions Development, Channel development, CEM and Customer Services. Track record of Business development within various market verticals including Energy sector, Pharmaceuticals, Government, Education, Consumer, Banking, Insurance, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Technology, Trade bodies, real estate, etc.
Witnessed and Actively Participated in leading the transformation of Telecom industry from Classic to Smart Devices, Voice to Data usage, manual metering to smart metering, First Call Activation to Revenue Model, Sales & Service Model Consolidation. Key strengths are leadership, adaptability, organizational & operational excellence, market research & analysis, new market penetration, business & channel planning, value creation, outcome orientation and ability to deliver effectively & efficiently under pressure.
Umer Hussain is the Founder of Sweet Tooth, by using networking skills, an entrepreneurial spark, and something one is passionate about, a person can not only turn their passion into a business, they can use it as a platform to give back to society in many ways. A baker, an Ice-cream guy, Pundit, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Adventurer and a Designer; Everything Umer is passionate about, he links It up with food. His vision is to positively influence all those places that show up on a Google search of the word Pakistan. He uses food as a means to do what he loves; from hiring transgender and disabled people in his restaurants in order to give them a source of earning, and giving away free Ice-cream on his pop-up rickshaws to spread smiles, to empowering women by training them vocational skills, he has done it all. His journey is what made him who he is today.
Before Sweet tooth he launched Clothing Brand named Revolt and also the CEO of Umer Textile. Umer is a drop out from Lahore School of Economics.
Faisal Qureshi holds a Degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University. He is the ex-Chairperson of Pakistan Software Houses Association and has also served as the Founding Chairperson of Mensa Pakistan (An international society of people in top 2% of global IQ). Faisal started 247online.tv, Pakistan's first and only organised Web TV channel.
He started his career as a host with “Loose Ends” on Business Plus and later went on to host "Breakfast at Dawn" on Dawn News, talk show "Ankahi" on Samaa TV and "Bang Dara" on News One. He decided to take time off and travel around the country on his own expense, to motivate the youth at schools, colleges, and universities. He believes in inspiring the future leaders of Pakistan and plays his part in helping them prepare for the inevitable duties that awaits them.
Faisal is an early adapter of technology and is a person who is capable of identifying true market needs. He is an avid social media vlogger on all popular social media platforms, where he highlights social issues and motivates the youth.
In the leadership arena he has formerly been active as Founding President of Cloud Security Alliance Pakistan (2012-2014), and Chapter leader of Open Web Application Security Project in Lahore (2012-2014). He is now establishing as Chairman the Cyber Security Association of Pakistan (CSAP), an organization dedicated to develop the national Information Security community in Pakistan, and ensure its linkages with regional and International entities.
Nahil has a total of 20 years experience in networks, Information Technology, and Information Security. He has held senior positions at IBM Pakistan, WorldCall Telecom Group, and Wateen Telecom. Since 2012 he has been instrumental in setting up one of Pakistan’s leading Information Security consulting firms as an entrepreneur. Today Delta Tech is recognized as a premier IT and Information Security consulting organization delivering distinctly superior & world-class ISO27001:2013 (ISMS) programs and a broad range of security implementation projects for banks, telecoms, and enterprises.
Muhammad Ali Iqbal is amongst one of the very few computer professionals who have been working in solving social problems using digital means in all three: academia, research, and industry. He currently works at IGNITE (formerly National ICT R&D Fund), a premier National Technology Fund as General Manager Solicitation and Evaluation. Mr. Ali brings with him over 17 years’ experience in Project Evaluation and Monitoring, Investments, Project Management, Research and Business development and Training with a record of high achievement in both technical and functional roles. Mr. Ali also worked at Vista Research as a Consultant, and was responsible for providing Technology & IT consultations and doing Market Analysis Research for the Vista Research’s clients from Asia and Middle East Region. He is working on different digital inclusion projects related to SDGs focusing on health, food security, education and innovation. Mr. Ali is a certified HL7 professional and has an MS in Computer Engineering.
Khurram Zafar is the Founder of 47 Ventures, the first and largest international venture capital fund exclusively focused on Pakistan. He is the Founding Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellow at Pakistan Innovation Foundation. Previously, he worked as the Chief Information Officer at Lahore Stock Exchange where he was awarded the best private sector CIO of Pakistan by P@SHA. He has also served as one of the founding board members of Plan9, a technology incubator of Punjab Information Technology Board and adjunct faculty for entrepreneurship at Information Technology University.
Previously, he was a visiting faculty member at the Beaconhouse National University’s School of Computer & Information Technology. He has also co-founded two software product start-ups in the Silicon Valley and has been part of the founding team of 2 global IT consulting firms. Khurram has also consulted for Visa, DHL, Sony, AT&T, Agilent, Merrill Lynch, and several other Fortune 500 and venture-funded start-up companies in varying capacities. Khurram is also an angel investor with an interest in the technology and agriculture sector and has been an adviser to several Venture Capital firms in the United States.
Khurram has been published by Prentice Hall. He is also a progressive farmer, an avid investor in North American securities markets, an absentee landlord, a poet, and a proud father of three.
Junaid is a results-oriented, entrepreneurial and people-focused senior management professional with a consistently strong record of accomplishment in leading turnaround and growth strategies.
With a background in economics and financial leadership, Junaid’s professional experience is varied, demonstrating his ability to tackle diverse challenges head-on. He has been successful in different sectors; from being on the launch-team for CNBC Pakistan in 2005 and anchoring its flag-ship show 'Power Lunch' to co-managing a $381mn transaction in 2014 as CEO of Elixir Securities, the largest such transaction in Pakistan in the last 7 years.
As a result of his years of experience steering institutions towards growth, innovation and success, Junaid is often invited to provide his expertise in multiple forums, including US President Obama’s 2010 Summit on Entrepreneurship and on TV as a regular commentator on Pakistan’s economy.
More than anything else, Junaid, who is one of the youngest CEOs in Pakistan’s financial sector, enjoys a good challenge – the tougher the challenge, the more rewarding it is to resolve.
Atif Azim is the Co-founder and CEO of VentureDive Pvt Ltd. VentureDive develops bespoke technology solutions for businesses and is the company behind the success of Careem. Atif has also co-founded DotZero, Pakistan’s first private tech focused incubator and is an active angel investor. Atif is a world class professional and a huge source of inspiration for entrepreneurs of all ages.
Rai Umair (Former MD - EatOye.pk) - Technology Edge - 14+ Years of professional experience in IT and information management in Pakistan, Australia and USA. Past Roles: Director, Mentor, Principle Consultant, SharePoint Maste and CTO - Past organizations: Worked for and consulted with Fortune 500 companies and Australian Government i.e.: Unique World, Stargate, AGL, Maventor, KPMG, Microsoft, AGS, Rio Tinto, PWC etc. At EatOye.pk - Responsible for strategy and leading the processes at the company. Oversee and direct technology, product and SEO teams.
Chief Executive Officer at Tranchulas, a multinational information security company having its offices in UK, USA and Pakistan. Honoree for Asia-Pacific Information Security Leadership Achievement Program by (ISC)2. Information security researcher. Regular trainer and speaker at world's renowned security conferences including Hack.lu Luxembourg, Hack In The Box Malaysia and Infosek Slovenia.
Accomplished and result oriented with proficiency in information security services and business management. Analytical expertise in overseeing technology improvement initiatives. Regarded for the ability to develop and motivate high-performance teams. Track record of profit growth and raising investment capital up to $2m.
Specialties: Information security services, penetration testing, IS audits, computer forensics, incident response, corporate leadership & operations, complex negotiations, startups & high growth, business management, strategic planning, tactical execution
Tayyab is a Data Scientist with a specialization in Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and Artificial Intelligence. Tayyab is CEO of RedBuffer, a Machine Learning services company that has helped companies in financial, legal, telecommunication, clean energy and food industry to augment and improve their products through applied machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision. The projects have ranged from financial sentiment analysis and prediction, text analytics and understanding, computer vision, food and flavor recommendations!.
Tayyab is also the co-founder and CTO of CreditFix - a lending marketplace that connects borrowers to lenders and provides credit scoring facilities. Like RedBuffer, CreditFix applies cutting edge machine learning techniques on a combination of conventional and non-conventional sources of data to provide innovative and accurate consumer credit scoring for emerging markets.
Tayyab is an Advisory Board Member at Exactly Business Data Corporation. Exactly is building the world's first fully-automated B2B Marketing & Sales solution. Powered by advanced AI, Exactly's NextGen SaaS 3.0 interface simplifies the process of finding the best potential customers, and reaching them with targeted messaging, at the right time. Exactly is located in Pasadena, California.
Prior to joining RedBuffer in 2013, Tayyab attended Stanford University where he obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Science, focussing on Artificial Intelligence. Tayyab is a Fulbright Scholar (2011) and Gold Medalist at FAST National University (Batch 2006).