Pakistani startups make their way to US summit

Published: May 26, 2016
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P@SHA president says US social media guru ranked one as among top-five. PHOTO: FILE

[email protected] president says US social media guru ranked one as among top-five. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Two Pakistani start-ups have received global recognition after being selected to showcase their functionality and social impact in international events.

According to Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and IT-enabled Services ([email protected]) President Jehan Ara, their time in the start-up incubator has helped them reach the higher frontier.

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“Guy Kawasaki, the guru of social media in the US, invited a Pakistani startup at the ‘Social Media Marketing Summit’ held recently and ranked the product among the top-five social marketing tools,” she said.

The 23-year old boy has developed a social media app for Twitter.

The other start-up is a game developed for special children and has been selected for the summit as well. “The creator is among those 15 people selected out of a total of 1,074 applications received from all over the world to participate in the international summit,” she said

The two startups are from The Nest I/O, a technology incubator run by [email protected] The incubator has got a sum of $1.37 million in grants from Google, Samsung, and the US government. “The incubator was established in January 2015 and the funding was provided for a period of three years,” she said.

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Some 60 startups have graduated from the incubator in the first 16 months. “The success ratio is 98 percent. The rest have either opted for higher education or switched to a traditional job,” she said.

She said around six or seven of them have got funding from recognised IT firms in the range of $100,000 to $250,000 each, while the rest have generated revenue for themselves.

Jehan Ara, citing the State Bank of Pakistan, said that IT exports were growing at the rate of 30-40 percent per annum. “Pakistan’s IT exports are worth $2.5 billion. This includes on-line receipts and export proceeds,” she said.

She said the national body should provide funding to every startup.

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“Countries provide funding to every startup. In case, they (startup) fail, countries celebrate their failure to encourage them. The story does not end here. They welcome the failed startup with new ideas and provide them with new funding,” she said.

She offered the support of [email protected] in the matter. “We can monitor the expenditure, as we submit statements on a quarterly basis to our funding partners,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2016.

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