Faraz Khan, social entrepreneur, investor, published author, public speaker, and CEO and co-founder of Seed Ventures jots down the six start-ups that are proving to be the most promising in the country
This was the first company that we invested in. This is probably the largest infrastructure media company in Pakistan that is going global right now. It’s promising because the business model is unique; we work on a public-private partnership basis with public sector authorities. We develop infrastructure with them and then sell it to the private sector. The reason why it’s unique is because people don’t like working hard these days and that’s the only thing this company has done. It’s picked up projects and products that everyone thought were too much work and offered too little money. In the end we put in the work and made a decent amount of money. It’s a true unicorn in the making!
This is an events and activations company, which started three years back. In terms of turnover it’s become the fifth largest in the country. We do major events, launches and activations for major brands like Pepsi and Bank Al Falah. We create customer engagement points for the brand and also do their launches and events. The reason it’s successful is because we focus on innovation and entertainment with creative ways of connecting the stakeholders. I think that’s why this company has become a very successful, profitable company in a short span of time.
This is a fairly new company, which started two years ago. It’s a digital company that provides social media solutions and develops mobile wallets for financial services. We’ve got major financial institutions working with us to develop mobile wallets. DG9 focuses on digital payments, grass root payments bringing financial literacy to the underprivileged market in our country.
Seed is a company we founded seven years back, and it works on three segments: first with micro-entrepreneurs, so thela walas, carpenters and cobblers, second with schools and third with universities. For these three segments we’re focusing on entrepreneurship, how to teach them entrepreneurship, how to incubate their ideas, how to finance their ideas and how to mentor these companies. Essentially we’re investing in three ecosystems. We started ahead of the market and people didn’t believe it would work. Right now we are amongst the top three companies in the whole country, that are in this field.
Stimulus focuses on the non-profit sector. When we started the company we told the non-profit and development sector that they need to bring sustainability and move away from donations, and instead offer products and services that will make their initiative successful. We were thrown out of their office, because ‘no one talks about business in charity’. Low and behold, the whole model shifted and now charity institutions are doing business to sustain themselves. In the last 10 years we’ve created a very strong brand in the development sector, as Stimulus is one of the top consultancies in the country at the moment.
Aerosync is a very interesting company! It’s a start-up that came to us for funding and we completely revamped it’s model. The idea of this company is to design products that improve the facilities of the underprivileged entrepreneurs, like thelas. So a conventional thela is four wheeled cart, and the new thela is solar powered, it can be pulled with a cycle or a motorcycle, it has a shelving mechanism that can work five things simultaneously, it has a digital paying system, essentially the new thela is sexy. There are four on the street at the moment!
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