In a city like Karachi, it’s not easy to keep up with everything that’s happening. You may not have heard about that play at NAPA, or that meet-up at T2F. Likewise, if you wanted to tell people about the charity fair you’re organising in Lahore, or the upcoming art exhibit at the Taseer Art Gallery, where would you go? Daniyal Shahid has the answer.
“KiaSceneHai.pk revolves around keeping people updated with the latest happening in their city, making sure the ‘scene’ is always on,” says Shahid, co-founder of KiaSceneHai.pk, Pakistan’s foremost event discovery portal.
“Everyone wants to go abroad, people dream of getting a job in the US, but we wanted to do something for Pakistan,” says Shahid. The idea of an events portal was coined at lunch, as minds really do work better on a full stomach. “Kia scene hai? is always the question asked by Pakistani youth when deciding what the plan is for today or tonight,” says Shahid.
“Whether it’s the movies or just hanging out at a friend’s place, people always ask this very question and we thought, why not connect this phrase with event discovery?”
The aim of the portal is to catalogue all the events taking place throughout Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. People can not only search for events under different categories such as art, theatre and sports, but also add their own. “We have major plans to promote events culture, where people don’t just click the ‘Going’ button on websites like Facebook, but actually go out with their families and friends to celebrate festivals and events,” says Shahid.
Following the fateful lunch that sparked the idea of the portal was a string of meetings with people in the technology entrepreneurship industry to determine the feasibility of the venture. Work on the website began officially in March 2013, and KiaSceneHai.pk went public two short months later, on May 1.
Two months is a seemingly short time to launch a start-up from scratch, and is definitely a difficult feat. “We haven’t come across any major challenges as such; the community has been of great support. People love the idea, the phrase kia scene hai? puts a smile on people’s faces, and that’s what’s helping us through,” says Shahid.
According to Shahid, Microsoft has offered tremendous support to early stage start-ups and KiaSceneHai.pk was no different. “We’re currently located at Microsoft Innovation Centre at Arfa Software Technology Park in Lahore, which is a walk-in facility with an incubation program through which resources are offered to help Pakistani start-ups grow,” says Shahid. Microsoft has not only offered the KiaSceneHai.pk team office space, but also technical resources in terms of software and technical support. The innovation centre also provides regular, free workshop sessions, which are of great help, according to Shahid.
KiaSceneHai.pk aims to not only catalogue events happening throughout Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, but also provides Pakistani audiences with the option of online ticketing, a rare amenity in the country. “Events can partner with us, and people can order their tickets online with a cash on delivery option,” says Shahid.
KiaSceneHai.pk has had a number of events on board with online ticketing, including the play Naql-e-Makani by the Independant Theatre Company in Lahore. “While our online ticketing facility is currently only available in Lahore, we have more events lined up in the coming months. We’re pushing as much as possible to get our mobile apps out in the market, so that more ticket sales through KiaSceneHai.pk are possible, and more event managers get their events on board,” says Shahid.
A Windows Phone Mobile application for the portal has already been launched, and iOS and Android versions are under development. “iOS and Android Apps are our number one priority right now, and they should be out under 2-3 weeks’ time,” says Shahid.
Now that the portal has been officially launched, and online ticketing and apps are in the pipeline, what’s next for KiaSceneHai.pk? “KiaSceneHai.pk was formed to change how Pakistan is perceived by in International community, by promoting the events and culture of Pakistan,” says Shahid.
“The next few years will be even more exciting, as we’re planning to bring almost all cinemas in Pakistan onboard our online ticketing scheme through KiaSceneHai.pk.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2014.
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