- About Us
This is the first Startup Grind conference in Asia, bringing together over 1,500 founders and thought leaders, for conversations, collaborations and actions around the role of technology for the future of Pakistan. We are inviting globally successful Pakistani entrepreneurs, innovators and technologists to tell their story and how Pakistan as a country can emulate their achievement.
Startup Grind is the world’s largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting entrepreneurs in 600 cities, across 125 countries. Startup Grind is powered by Google for Startups.
Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world with a population of 220 million, around 50% of the population speaks English making it the world's 3rd largest english speaking country. With over 70 million people having access to high speed internet, Pakistan has more internet users than the population of all Nordic countries combined.
According to Bloomberg, Pakistan is the world's fastest growing retail market in fact Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said "Pakistan is one of Uber's fastest growing markets" after Uber's $3.1 billion acquisition of Careem, a ride hailing unicorn founded by a Pakistani entrepreneur.
Careem is not the only one, Pakistan has produced the minds behind some of the world's leading tech companies including Afiniti ($1.6 billion AI startup), KeepTruckin ($1.25 billion startup), FireEye (world's leading cybersecurity company), Cavium (sold for $6 billion) and many others.
Shoaib Makani is the Founder & CEO of KeepTruckin, a mobile and web based fleet management provider valued at $1.4 billion. Shoaib has extensive experience in entrepreneurship and venture capital. Prior to founding KeepTruckin, Shoaib worked at Khosla Ventures, where he led investments in consumer and enterprise technology companies including Instacart, Everlane, Yammer, and HackerRank. Prior to joining Khosla Ventures, Shoaib led business development for Google’s mobile advertising business in Asia and Latin America. He holds a BSc in Economics from The London School of Economics.
Prior to this Waheed had been the:
- CTO of the Mobile Platform Group at Citrix
- Founder, Chairman and CTO of Zenprise, an enterprise mobile device management and security company
- Founder Zambeel, a company that pioneered scalable cloud storage.
Waheed started his career at Excelon Corporation focusing his energies on object-oriented database management system. A computer scientist by training, his research has been published in several peer reviewed academic journals including ACM SIGMOD and VLDB. He is the principal inventor of thirty nine (39) granted US patents and his professional memberships include IEEE, ACM, Tau Beta Pai and Eta Kappa Nu.
Dr. Qureshi holds a Ph.D in computer sciences from the University of Southern California and recently attended the d.school at Stanford University where he focused on user experience and design in the age of AI. He is a charter member of both TiE and OPEN.
Sabah Baxamoosa is the Director, Business Development at GSVlabs, a global innovation platform based in the heart of Silicon Valley. We accelerate startups and connect corporations to exponential technologies, business models, and ideas. GSVlabs creates powerful network effects by catalyzing the innovation ecosystem and connecting Silicon Valley to the World and the World to Silicon Valley.
Aatif Awan is the Founder & GP of Indus Valley Capital, a VC fund for early-stage Pakistani startups. Previously, he was the Vice President of Growth at LinkedIn, Prior to Linkedin, he held various managerial positions at Microsoft. He holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from GIKI Pakistan and a Master’s in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Safwan is a payments, transaction and Internet technology professional with a proven track record of successful entrepreneurship and leadership.
Safwan Shah is the Founder & CEO of PayActiv, an employer-sponsored financial wellness platform and leader in Timely Earned Wage Access (EWA). PayActiv serves millions of employees world-wide, settles over $1B in timely EWA funds annually, increases employee retention by an average of 30%, and accelerates engagement: eNPS 84.7.
He previously founded Infonox (pioneer in payment aggregation and automated merchant acquiring, sold to TSYS in 2008). Annualized, Infonox systems served over 100M consumers, facilitated over $20 Billion in transactions, managed over 200,000 merchant accounts through acquirers.
He's an educator and lecturer associated with the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley and Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.
He holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, AI and Neural Networks researcher at a NASA center. Graduate of the Stanford Executive Program.
- Entrepreneur and innovator with success in creating significant shareholder and customer value.
- Deep understanding of financial service products, transaction processing, unbanked market segments, self service delivery and monitoring.
- Business development visionary who has closed many multi-year, multi-million dollar deals with fortune 500 companies.
- Safwan's work has been featured in the New York Times, WSJ, the Los Angeles Times, on NPR's All Things Considered, NPR’s Life Kit and more.
Murtaza Ahmed is a Managing Partner at SoftBank's Latin America Fund, before which he was at SoftBank's Vision Fund.
Murtaza started his career in investment banking at Deutsche Bank and then joined Goldman Sachs where he was promoted to Managing Director and Head of the EMEA Emerging Markets Structuring and Sales Strats team, providing structured capital and derivatives solutions for clients in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Murtaza is on the board of EMPower, a global philanthropy focused on at-risk youth in emerging market countries, that strategically invests in vital, local organizations who work to empower youth.
Murtaza read Mathematics at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, before which he attended Eton College.
Saad Bashir was nominated in Jan-2019 as the of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Saad’s team overseas a team of 800+ staff with P&L responsibility of $350 Million. Saad leads all aspects of technology management for the $6 Billion corporation. Prior to Seattle, Saad was based in Canada’s capital, where he served as Director of Economic Development and Innovation and later as Chief Information Officer for the City of Ottawa.
Saad brings several years of experience in the private and public sectors. He has held positions with organizations including Citibank, Flextronics, Canadian Pacific, Nortel Networks and Calgary Economic Development. He is passionate about strategic planning, innovation development, culture transformation and change management.
Saad has a degree in Computer Engineering from Queen’s University. He has held various volunteer board positions including Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, Ottawa Tourism, Oxfam Canada and others. He is also a 2013 recipient of “Forty Under 40” award.
Thomas G. Tsao co-founded Gobi Partners in 2002. With over US$1.1 billion in AUM, Gobi has raised 11 funds to date, invested in over 200 startups, and grown to nine offices across China, Japan, Hong Kong and ASEAN. Gobi’s regional platform supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages in the innovation and technology sectors. In China, Tom and his partners were first-round investors into Airwallex, Brite Semiconductor (strategic investment from SMIC), Camera360, Dianwoda (acquired by Cainiao), Kr Space, Madhouse (acquired by BlueFocus), Opzoon (acquired by Harbin Gong Da), Teambition (acquired by Alibaba), Tuniu (NASDAQ:TOUR), UR (acquired by HLA) and Yoyi Digital. He was named to the Forbes List of “China’s Top VCs” from 2013-2015 and 2017.
For two years, Tom served as the CEO of DMG (acquired by VisionChina), the largest operator of passenger information systems and digital media networks inside China’s subways. At DMG, Tom was the executive producer for the company’s award-winning A Sunny Day, Dancing Without You, and A Starry Night programs, the world’s first series of subway soap operas sponsored respectively by Starbucks, Nine West and the MDA of Singapore.
Tom leads the team that manages the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, which has invested into companies like DayDayCook, GoGoVan and WeLab. Tom also helped build out Gobi’s investment team in Southeast Asia, which has invested in over 50 companies including Carsome, CiB (acquired by AsiaSoft), DeClout (SGX:5UZ), Hermo (acquired by iStyle), and Mainspring (strategic investment from ByteDance). Tom is now building Gobi’s TaqwaTech investment practice focused on innovative startups serving Muslim communities.
Tom graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in Economics and was the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Movie Phone episode. In 2006, he founded SEO China, a non-profit organization, which has provided more than 180 internships for underserved college students. He also serves as Chairman of the Presidential Scholars Foundation, which cultivates, connects and celebrates U.S. Presidential Scholars (161 of the nation’s top high school seniors who are selected annually and honored by the White House).
He founded Startup Weekend, three other startups and was employee #1 Techstars. With roots in freelancing and design, he can hold a conversation about best interface practices as well as how to build cabins with hand tools. He is also a marathoner, Ironman competitor, blogger and event organizer. He started Ignite Boulder, TEDxBoulder, Startup Weekend, Startup Week as well as many smaller events. Most recently he wrote a book named This Book is About Travel which reached the #1 sales slot for iBooks and Amazon’s travel sections. He is a co owner of his favorite cafe in the world in Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder, Colorado. He is the director of Glider.com, a 501c3 nonprofit that throws some amazing community events.
His work has been featured in the NYTimes, NBC World News, Washington Post, Boing Boing, Boston Globe, INC, Entrepreneur, Daily Mail, The Australian, Yahoo! and the Nepal Times. He has written for Laughing Squid, The Next Web and Read Write Web. He is the author (although mostly in name only) of nine patents with variations of the name “Aggregation of an Aggregation System.” What I’m trying to say is that I just hope you are not reading this through an aggregation system, and then aggregating it.
Felipe Millan is a dedicated entrepreneur since the age of 18, he's been part of Startup Chile and Startup WiseGuys. Felipe has pitched at dozens of events and conferences, including LeWeb, FinovateEurope, Visa Future Insights and much more. He has a diploma in web development and professional crossmedia creative. Felipe is focusing on growing the SendGrid startup community at events and accelerators in the EMEA region.
Melissa Sassi is a Startup Program Manager at IBM focused on IBM's LinuxONE product. In her role at IBM, Melissa partners with early stage startups and the venture capital community to evangelize IBM Z and LinuxONE with a focus on key enablers such as blockchain and fintech. Prior to joining IBM, Melissa spent several years at Microsoft in Microsoft's Airband Initiative. Melissa is Co-Chair of IEEE's Digital skills Working group within IEEE's Internet Inclusion Initiative. She is the Founder & CEO of MentorNations, a youth-led digital literacy movement, aimed at transforming the lives of the underserved via access, skills, and utilization of technology. Melissa holds two master's degrees in supply chain and finance and is working toward her PhD in international business at Northcentral University. Her research focus is the digital inclusion of indigenous communities.
Tania Aidrus is leading the Prime Minister's Digitalization Initiative. She's the Former Chief of Staff on the Next Billion Users (NBU) team at Google which is focused on building new products and services that are aimed at addressing the emerging trends and needs of users in growth markets.
Prior to this, Tania was a leader in the Global Business Organization at Google in the US and then in Singapore where she was the Country Manager for South Asia Frontier Markets at Google focused on expanding the Internet ecosystem, increasing product adoption amongst consumers and businesses and accelerating innovation.
Prior to Google, Tania co-founded a mobile health diagnosis company called ClickDiagnostics, focused on connecting rural patients in emerging markets to doctors globally. She also spent a portion of her career consulting for Fortune 500 companies and the US Government at Booz Allen Hamilton.
She holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BSc from Brandeis University.
Riyad Abou Jaoudeh has more than 6 years of strategy and management consulting experience in the telecom and media sector in the Middle East. Prior to joining MEVP, Riyad was a Senior Associate with Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company). Riyad also helped launched an e-commerce platform focusing on toys, was Country Manager for Qatar at Careem, and launched a mini-burgers restaurant in Beirut.
Riyad Holds an MBA from The Wharton School, a Masters in Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut.
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.
Mashhood Alam is the Senior Director of Product Management at SAP Ariba.
Helping enterprises move from “atoms to bits”. Partner with C-Suite, LOB heads and innovators in enterprises to drive Digital Transformation by focusing on customer experience and foster innovation culture with Design Thinking. Lead co-innovation projects to realize new business models, business processes and user experiences using emerging exponential technologies - AI, Machine Learning, Big Data on Cloud.
Akif Malik is the Managing Partner at PodiumVC, Startup Accelerator and Venture Fund for Sports, Media and Entertainment. Founder of Olympic Bid, Startups
Podium SV (formerly Sports Colab):
* Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator, venture fund and community based in across sports technology, media + entertainment, including working with startups, investors, teams, athletes, venues, sports organizations, brands, events, mentors in areas including sports, tech, media, AR/VR, eSports, gaming, health, fitness, wearables, sensors, social, mobile, data, analytics, IoT, events, fan experience and more.
Specialties: startups, sports technology, sports business, ventures capital, angel investing, partnerships, alliances, digital strategy, idea/concept development, business development, communications, public relations, public policy, government relations, international relations, media relations, sponsorships, marketing, planning, communications, marketing, fundraising, technology, digital media, content development, sports events, olympics, world cup, global strategy, consulting, social media, innovation
Omar Chaudhary, a French-Pakistani, CEO of PlayerMatch.com, a unique sport networking platform, started his career in automotive and heavy industries.
After meeting Tahir Siddique, Omar Chaudhary decided to follow his passion and to give to his career, a digital impulsion/footprint by managing several projects.
In fact, his creative spirit and motivation push him to open doors and present strategy plan to Apple during his uni. years.
He reported that “My brain goes a million miles an hour resulting on many news ideas every day. I like to think out of the box, to reshape models and markets, to bring disruptive innovation/thinking. In order to do so I took one of the best decisions I've ever made, the one that my gut said yes to start working with amazing people”.
Naheed Afzal LLB qualified as a solicitor in the 90's and practiced Human & Civil rights. Social inclusion, equality and fairness are the driving force behind her and her business which differentiates itself through its conscious leadership and its purpose.
Contracts IT Recruitment Consulting has been powering innovation in the private, public and the third sector through tech diversity and tech inclusion. It has been connecting exceptional technologists with some of the most innovative organisations in the world, fuelling social change for over nineteen years.
Since 1999 she has been a co-founder & Director of a Women Business Enterprise, where she has contributed to the success of the organisation. The company is a globally recognised supplier of tech talent and cultivates a strong diversity ethic. It is an executive member of the UK's largest supplier diversity organisation MSDUK, driving inclusive procurement with global links in the US, South Africa, China and Canada.
Naheed has experience of working in many types of business, she deals with the commercial aspects and development of marketing strategies across Contracts IT's multiple business lines, technology road maps, bid management, organisational design and transformation.
Contracts IT has established a reputation of building global ready diverse Tech talent and is particularly noted for its focus on WOMEN in technology, board level and C-level positions, helping to promote all strands of diversity: BAME, LGBTQ, DISABILITY within IT workforce solutions. It works with a range of clients and with international governments, many of whom share her belief in recognising, respecting and valuing people's differences.
The creation of inclusive workplaces & of different supply chains will play a critical role in the twenty-first century, aiding economic growth, alleviating poverty in the most deprived areas of society, eliminating the gender pay gap and is critical to the success of any company today.
Bilal Ahmed is the CTO and VP of Engineering for SonaSoft, an AI-first company which turns information into intelligence. Sonasoft’s products and services are known for preserving enterprise information through archiving, backup & recovery, migrations, business continuity, and replications. It then makes this information discoverable for eDiscoveries as well as compliant to regulatory statutes and mandates.
Most importantly, Sonasoft transforms enterprise information into new solutions and insights through its Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms and services. Sonasoft is a public company and is listed on the OTCQB Market with the ticker OTCQB:SSFT. Founded in 2003, the Company is headquartered in San Jose, California.
He is an alumni of NED University and previously worked with leading tech companies in Silicon Valley and Canada including iBM Canada and University Planet.
I am Mudassir Azeemi, the product designer, solved the problem for 532 million Urdu speakers, and the creator of UX game which ignites the empathy into its player.
I enjoy creating user-centric, delightful human experiences. I am leading the interaction design effort for the Commercial Electronic Portal UI framework for Wells Fargo, which is doing 13 trillion-dollar transaction per year.
Some interesting facts about me:
7+ years of experience as a lead interaction and product design. You can read my story that how I migrated from software development to user experience design field here.
Enterprise UX experience designer. My contribution at Wells Fargo Design System equipped me with the experience designing on multiple platforms (Desktop, Mobile, etc.) for a complex and for a trillion-dollar business.
An excellent communicator, I presented in front of large and small number of groups from executives to our internal partners at Wells Fargo.
Highly proficient with design and interactive prototyping tools (Sketch, ProtoPie, etc.) – I do believe the UX designers should be tool-agnostic.
I am a self-motivated team player able to work with a highly collaborative, cross-functional team. My strength finder result reads me as a communicator and a collaborator
Can initiate and drive multiple projects concurrently.
Excited about working in a fast-paced, dynamic startup environment.
I am a curious soul, I will ask questions before jumping on the whiteboard, or opening a design tool.
Thinking beyond the screen is my forte, UX is not about screens-only. I wrote about my vision with Steven Hoober at UX matters here, that how ubiquitous computing can enhance the life around us.
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.
Huma Hamid is a tech-maker mom of two boys, a community builder, a software test engineer turned software developer turned business analyst, now an aspiring product manager, the co-founder of Pakistani Women In Computing - PWiC and she is not done evolving yet.
She started her career in software testing with Bentley Systems Islamabad and later transitioned into a software development role while working at Schweitzer Engineering Labs, USA. She is currently part of Cisco's Digitial Learning Platform team as a Business Analyst. She is an expert generalist who loves to learn new technologies, frameworks, and tools to find solutions to challenging problems through the use of knowledge and experience of multiple domains.
She actively volunteers with organizations that promote community building and learning through technology. As a volunteer she has worked with OPEN Islamabad, Code for Pakistan, Grace Hopper Celebrations of Women in Computing and GHC India. She has also participated at Google's Women Techmakers conference.
Huma was the driving force behind Code for Pakistan's Open Source Day for Women (2016) in collaboration with Habib University Karachi to promote learning of open source technologies in girls so that they can become part of the global open source development community, where women are still a minority. She also started OPEN Islamabad's Women of Inspiration blog series in 2015 featuring Sophia Saleen and Sheba Najmi.
She is passionate about diversity, inclusion, equal growth and learning opportunities for all. She would like to share her journey and how it led to the formation of a global network of Pakistani Women in Computing.
Sheba Najmi is Founder and Executive Director of Code for Pakistan, a non-profit that’s driving citizen-focused technology innovation and civic engagement across 5 cities in Pakistan. She's working as the Senior Manager, User Experience Design at Linkedin. Sheba was a Code for America Fellow in 2012, where she led the creation of Honolulu Answers, an open source web product that has since been re-deployed in over a dozen cities around the world.
Sheba has a 12-year background in User Experience (UX) and Product, and prior to stepping into the world of civic technology, Sheba was a UX Lead at Yahoo! for nearly 7 years. In addition to running Code for Pakistan, Sheba is Senior UX Strategist at Exygy, a digital agency in San Francisco that works with civic technology and social impact organizations to empower changemakers. She holds MS and BS degrees in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University.
Jamaludin Bujang is the Managing Director for Gobi Partners. He was appointed as the CEO and Board Member of Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd. (MAVCAP) in 2011. Prior to joining MAVCAP, Jamaludin was the Director Investment Division Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) where he initiated and executed the implementation of investment database system.
Jamaludin graduated with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration (Economics) from Wichita State University, US and a Masters degree in Business Law (Executive) from International Islamic University, Malaysia.
Shane is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Shorooq Investments. Founded in 2016, Shorooq Investments is a leading early stage, technology focused venture capital firm in the region and is acclaimed by Forbes Middle East as the Top-20 VC in the entire Middle East. “We are Founders’ Partners, Company Builders and Value Investors” is the fundamental principle at Shorooq Investments.
Shane has built his career as an investment professional, investment banker and entrepreneur in the US. He used to work at UBS, TD Securities, Lazard Freres & Co., Alpine Investors and GlobalFoundries – wholly owned subsidiary by Mubadala Investment Company – and was transitioning to Mubadala Capital Venture Capital team prior to founding Shorooq.
Shane concentrated in Finance and Mandarin at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with Summa Cum Laude, Joseph Wharton Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar Honors.
Shane was born and grew up in South Korea and has studied and worked in the US, Canada and China prior to settling down in UAE. Having played the piano and clarinet for 15+ years, he has a strong passion for music and community service – and played in many musical concerts as well as volunteering centers like community nursing homes.
Kunal co-leads with Shane on all Shorooq decisions, spanning across investments, portfolio management, sourcing, fundraising, exit strategies, team building and training among others. Kunal has significant entrepreneurial experience in technology and fintech. Having studied law at London School Economics he soon realized his passion for founding and operating businesses and has set up various businesses in the financial services sector in the UK, UAE and Africa. Kunal has a passion for sports which has served him well in the business world as he is a big believer in the power of teams. He also has a voracious appetite for reading which led him to investing in multiple tech enabled companies over the past decade.
Bernhard completed his Ph.D. in economics and business from University of Vienna before joining Morgan Stanley where he met Rabeel. He later led J.P. Morgan’s Austrian business and acted as the cofounder-business angel of fifteen early stage companies in Europe. He started investing in Pakistani startups in 2016 and is now one of the two managing partners of the Sarmayacar ventures' fund.
Kalsoom is the Founder/CEO of Invest2Innovate, which aims to support and unleash the potential of young entrepreneurs in growth markets like Pakistan. She’s also a Partner at i2i Ventures, Invest2Innovate’s early stage investment fund for Pakistan, and the country’s first female-led fund.
She has also trained young entrepreneurs, changemakers, and civil society leaders in Kosovo, Nepal, Cambodia, Ireland, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, and has spoken at numerous venues, including the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. State Department, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
She was previously a Washington, D.C. co-ambassador for Sandbox, a global network of innovators under 30, and was a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. She was featured in Diplomatic Courier's Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders under 33 in 2012, and was named an Ashoka Changemakers/ American Express Emerging Innovator for 2013.
Zouhair Khaliq 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.
Yaseer Bashir is a veteran of Pakistan's growing tech industry. In a career spanning 20 years, Yasser has helped build software for diverse problems in industries ranging from online travel, to online education, immersive learning, healthcare and retail.
Yasser is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of Arbisoft which is among the fastest growing software and technology development companies in the country. Arbisoft employs over 400 people and has been building technology partnerships with some of the leading businesses and institutions around the world. Before the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Yasser held key engineering leadership positions at Orthoclear, Align Technology and WorldWerx. Yasser holds a BS from LUMS and an MS from Stanford University.
Ali Mukhtar is the Founder, 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 to date in MangoBaaz, Beauty Hooked, Interacta, Airlift and others.
Khurram Zafar is currently serving as Country Director of 47 Ventures, an international Venture Capital firm exclusively focused on early stage investments in high-growth-potential technology businesses in Pakistan. He is also a private sector, independent member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy. Previously, as Executive Director at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), he founded the Center for Entrepreneurship, now called National Incubation Center, Lahore. Aside from founding and managing center operations, Khurram provided technology, architecture, financial and investment related mentoring to incubated businesses. Khurram has been an adviser to both Federal and Punjab governments in matters related to higher education, research, technology, agriculture, investments, innovation and startup ecosystem. He is also a founding member of the Pakistan Innovation Foundation.
Previously Khurram was Chief Information Officer at Lahore Stock Exchange where he led the technology operations for one of the highest transactional throughput and massively federated capital markets technology platforms in Pakistan. He was recognized as the best private sector CIO in Pakistan while at the Stock Exchange.
Before that, in Silicon Valley, California, Khurram co-founded Epiance and Insight Technologies. Epiance was a product company that automated the process of documentation generation for software systems while Insight Technologies used the IP for automation of human-executed, IT-enabled businesses processes for the BPO industry. Earlier in United States, at eForce and Haddon Hill Group, Khurram worked as Vice President of Technology and served Fortune 500 companies across the globe in various consulting capacities for customer relationship management, business process automation, document and workflow management, enterprise applications integration, infrastructure and security projects. Key clients included Visa, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Sony, DHL and several venture capital firms including Greylock, Norwest Venture Partners, CapitalZ and Visa Ventures. Khurram also founded and led the Security and Infrastructure Technology practice at eForce. He is a Prentice Hall published author on wireless networking technology.
Khurram did his Bachelor in Computer Engineering from McGill University in Canada in 1997, and while there, won an IBM led North America wide Java language programming contest spanning 1500 participants from Ivy League and other top universities. Khurram is a Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance approved, LUMS trained, independent director also. Khurram loves reading, writing and farming.
Khurram’s current board engagements include Karandaaz Pakistan, Mobilink Microfinance Bank, Aequitas Information Services Limited and Punjab Pension Fund.
Rabeel Warraich is the Founder and CEO of Sarmayacar, a seed fund syndicate dedicated to investing in Pakistani startups. Previously, Rabeel was a Vice President in the Private Equity division of GIC, a sovereign wealth fund established by the Government of Singapore.
Rabeel has experience of directing investment worth over a billion US dollars in investments across technology, financial and business services, healthcare, and energy sectors. Previously, Rabeel worked in Mergers and Acquisitions with Morgan Stanley based out of London after graduating from MIT. He also serves on the board of Patari, ProCheck, and Plan9.
Faisal Aftab is the Managing Partner of Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC). With close to two decades of experience as an investor, entrepreneur and executive in industries such as media technology, venture capital, management consulting and financial services, Faisal Aftab is a veteran in his field. He has been employed by, or acted as an advisor to several public and private sector corporations as well as the Government of Pakistan. Since 2018, he has held the role of Managing Partner of Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC). LIVC is backed by a top corporate conglomerate in Pakistan and is focused on local opportunities that use technology to create new business models or disrupt those already in existence.
Prior to leading LIVC, Faisal held the role of Executive Vice President at Intel Capital backed CloudStream Media Inc., a Silicon Valley-based technology company that provides streaming services catering to developed markets. Before his position at CloudStream, Faisal served as an Executive Director for MTV Networks International at their Pakistan franchise. He was also a Vice President of the New York-based financial services and wealth management firm, National Financial Partners and a Management Consultant at Deloitte, where he advised a portfolio of asset management, broker dealer and investment banking clients.
His notable technology sector investments include: Bookme.pk (E-Ticketing), Knowledge Platform (Ed Tech), Mediamorph (Media Tech), Medicast (Healthcare Tech), Rigalii (FinTech), SendHUB (Communications Services), Apptimize (Enabling Technologies), MediaSpike (Gaming & Ad Tech), Isloo Fresh (Agribusiness), Ethereum (Distributed Computing Platform), OmiseGO (Blockchain FinTech), Ripple (Distributed Transaction Protocol), Cardano (Internet of Blockchain Platform), ADEX (Blockchain Ad Exchange).
Faisal is a limited partner of the Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups.
He holds an MBA from Oxford University Said Business School. Additionally, he holds joint bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting, Economics and Management Information Systems from Michigan State University USA.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Sidra Iqbal is a celebrated broadcast journalist and development activist from Pakistan. She is one of the most powerful youth icons recognized as an influential big-picture change agent who champions thought leadership for positive impact.
She is the first Pakistani to be presented the GR8 Women Award for Journalism 2014 by the Government of UAE. and to be invited to the esteemed International Leadership Program, a diplomatic fellowship initiative of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK.
Sidra won the English Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Champion 1999 in London and was invited to the Buckingham Palace to receive her Winner’s certificate from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip. This early achievement catapulted her as a powerful voice of development activism in the international arena. She successfully represented the youth of Pakistan at a number of power-packed forums in Australia, Cyprus, Japan, Turkey, UAE, US and many other countries.
She was selected as an International Youth Advisor by the Ministry of Education, UAE for their global initiative ‘Women as Global Leaders’ at the Sheikh Zayed University in Dubai. In 2007, she won a scholarship to attend the International Relations Summer Program at Oxford University and was also invited as a Global Shaper to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Over the last 10 years, she has gained an in-depth understanding of national and regional security, political, economic, governance and human development challenges & environments, based on extensive experience in broadcast journalism and political commentary in Pakistan. Sidra tweets as @SidraIqbal
Misbah Naqvi has 20+ years of global experience in finance, impact investing, development, and fintech in Pakistan and the US. She is currently the Managing Partner of i2i Ventures, a US$15m founder friendly, seed capital fund, focused on early-stage enterprises in Pakistan to address the capital gap faced by Pakistani startups & SMEs.
Misbah has previously worked at Boloro Global Ltd, a US-based fintech startup, Acumen, a social venture fund in Pakistan and the US, and Citibank Pakistan. She has been on the Invest2Innovate (i2i) Board of Advisors since 2011. Misbah holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Hassan is a Business Consultant at QA Ltd, one of the UK’s largest digital education and skills providers with a presence in technical, management and other associated professional skills.
Zain Haider Awan is a multi-award winning advocate and youth in development specialist. With over 8 years of experience, Zain’s work in humanitarianism was ignited by his passion for youth in international development. As the youngest serving director of the British Youth Council in its 60 years, Zain implemented specialist programs and partnerships including a nationwide campaign for education advocacy in Pakistan with the British Council, leading workshops for the Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting in Mauritius and co-managing a youth opportunity fund for young social entrepreneurs.
Through his experience in digital campaigns, Zain has worked as a marketing and communications consultant to the Department for Communities and Local Government (UK), served as the Director of Marketing for a Y.C. backed tech start-up and established an innovation department for one of the fastest growing NGOs in the UK. His advocacy work has centered around youth inclusion in policy making, education equality and internet rights for developing nations with the European Commission.
Zain in his current role at Re:Coded oversees operations and growth, with direct management of the cutting edge facilities and offerings at Re:Coded House. Working on his strength, Zain’s is passionate about establishing multi-disciplinary and creative approaches to developing the next generation of leaders. He is regularly invited to consult on innovative and creative solutions to development issues.
Ahmed Khan is the Founder & CEO of Cheetay Logistics Pvt. Ltd. One of Ahmed's startups, Kaymu.pk got acquired 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 E-Commerce 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.
Dr. Umar Saif is an award winning scientist, entrepreneur, innovator and a tech tycoon. Founder and CEO, SurveyAuto.com; Chief Digital Officer Geo/Jang Media; Chief Investment Officer at Khudi Ventures. Before that he was the Ex Chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board. He is the brains behind digital governance of Punjab, Plan9, ITU, E-Rozgar and several other initiatives. Dr. Saif recently launched 20 Million Dollar fund for startups in Pakistan called Khudi Ventures and Khudi movement, which will incubate and invest in innovative startups with the aim to scale them.
My name is Magnus Sparrholm. I founded the company Talkpool in year 2000 and I'm still working on developing its business including M&A, Joint Ventures and franchising. I enjoy spending time in the nature, especially while practicing sports.
I aim at improving people's lives by providing smart technology. By connecting things to the internet and managing those things in a sustainable manner, I believe we can create a better environment. Internet of Things, digitization and Artificial Intelligence are at the cutting-edge of innovative technologies that combined will enforce massive disruptive change across all industries. I believe we need to control the ever-smarter things in a very secure manner.
I'm looking for small and medium-sized businesses that have products that could be connected to internet and sold to clients in different parts of the world. I'm also looking for entrepreneurs with sustainable ideas that we could explore together.