KARACHI : “The most unique aspect of Pakistan’s tech landscape is the startups themselves,” says Jehan Ara who heads The Nest I/O – the tech incubator behind 021 Disrupt.
“Our young community is passionate and to be an entrepreneur you have to be a passionate problem solver.”
Disrupt – the word itself is what a successful startup hopes to do – alter an industry the way Uber has for transport or Amazon has for e-commerce.
021Disrupt aims to bring together stakeholders and as evidence of its ability to do this, Jehan Ara names three startups that came to fruition out of Disrupt’s 2017 iteration: ModulusTech, Dreamnode Studios and Smartchoice.pk.
ModulusTech develops sustainable flat-packed homes that can be assembled within three hours and their team has won a UN award for innovation in clean technology.
“The idea came as a solution to the 2016 Syrian refugee crisis,” says Nabeel Siddiqui, one of the three co-founders. A large influx of people needed housing in a short time span and the conditions they are forced to live in are detrimental to public health and mental well-being.
The team has also pitched the solution to Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan but see themselves as a solution to global housing issues.
Siddiqui is back at 021Disrupt to meet new investors as are many of the attendees.
One such investor is Khaled Talhouni of Wamda Capital, a Middle East startup investment company with offices in Dubai and Amman. Locally, their most well-known investment is in Careem, the ride-hailing app.
Talhouni says he is here to understand the local ecosystem as the company looks to invest in Pakistani startups.
That local ecosystem is diverse, startup attendees ranged from e-commerce innovators to those adding to the ever-expanding food and beverage industry.
Husband and wife duo Areeba Zeeshan and Zeeshan Sheikh have been working on machinesells.com for a year.
“We want to revolutionise the way machines are traded.”
Their platform offers a marketplace for machine and machine part sales with services including valuation and transport of machines.
FIKA coffee & co is Fahad Moten’s passion project, a business to business project that works with cafes looking to offer cold brew coffee on their menu. They offer artisanal brewed beverages including nitro coffee.