Startup ecosystem: Emulating the Silicon Valley model in Pakistan

Founder Institute aims to help talented entrepreneurs launch own companies

Our Correspondent December 13, 2014


The Founder Institute, a leading entrepreneur training and startup launch programme, said it will create a startup ecosystem in Pakistan similar to that of Silicon Valley.

“We will launch over thirty meaningful and enduring technology companies per year in the city,” the company stated at the launch of its Karachi chapter.

The Californian-based programme’s aim is to help talented employees launch their own companies through a step-by-step training programme led by top local entrepreneurs, said the institute in a statement.

“Silicon Valley is not a place, it’s a mindset,” said founder and CEO Adeo Ressi. “The Founder Institute emulates this mindset in cities across the globe through what we believe to be the three tenets of Silicon Valley: talent, training and teamwork.”

How it works

The programme works such that it picks up talent using a ‘Predictive Admissions Test’ to identify entrepreneurial personality traits. Those selected participate in a part-time, step-by-step training programme, based on Silicon Valley best practices and taught by experienced startup founders.

Finally, through a unique ‘Graduate Liquidity Pool’, all participants in the program – including the enrolled founders, mentors, and local leaders - share in the equity of the companies formed. This shared equity approach creates a teamwork-oriented, pay-it-forward mentality conducive to building great companies, similar to those found in Silicon Valley, explained the institute.

In its five years of operation, the programme has helped launch over 1,310 companies in 85 cities and six continents, making it the world’s largest startup accelerator and covered by prominent publications, such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week and TechCrunch to name a few.

This model of ‘Globalizing Silicon Valley’ is now yielding an average of two new graduate companies per day worldwide, says the statement. Many of the institute’s most successful chapters are based in developing economies, such as Colombia and Vietnam.

“When we first launched in Vietnam back in 2011, for example, the startup ecosystem in the country was too undeveloped,” says Ressi. “Now, our graduate companies are employing hundreds of people in the country and advising new startups. Both domestic and foreign investment in Vietnamese startups is at an all-time high.”

“The most satisfying thing to me is seeing three graduates of the Vietnam Founder Institute recently sponsor several scholarships to help promising entrepreneurs attend the next programmes for free,” says Ressi. “This is the exact pay-it-forward mentality found in Silicon Valley that we are trying to build around the globe.”

The Pakistani chapter is led by serial entrepreneurs Sumaan Azmi and Hassan Qureshi who aim to fill the gaps in the country’s current startup ecosystem.

“I am certain that it will help Pakistani entrepreneurs create enduring global technology companies,” said Qureshi, Karachi founder Institute Co-Director. The other co-director, Azmi, said they were aiming to revolutionise the startup ecosystem in Pakistan, and create a platform for Karachi to capitalise on its untapped entrepreneurial talent.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2014.

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Adnan | 9 years ago | Reply

Bringing the Silicon Valley model in Pakistan, was a good initiative by The Founder Institute. They have definitely opened a window of whole new opportunities for the Talented Pakistan's. Following them now Microsoft, Google and other international incubators are also launching their chapters in Pakistan.

This kind of startup ecosystem is badly needed in Pakistan, to solve our current job crises. We have so many talented youngsters here, who just need some mentoring and proper guidance to launch their own business.

@Real Entrepreneurship and @fahim: If you guys want to cry then please cry louder. Your noise cannot stop the change that are coming for the better future of Pakistan. Those who understand the value of this change they are working hard to make their impact. Pakistan doesn't need people like you who make fun of their own country. There are many countries who have similar security threads and light issues, but they are working hard to overcome these challenges. If you can't understand the big words like 'startup ecosystem' then its your level. Pakistan is much more stronger and better then your small thoughts.

Rahul Rai | 9 years ago | Reply

I would say its a great step towards a more productive Pakistan by both of my friends Hassan and Sumaan. I see the year 2015 to be a dream year for all the Pakistani Entrepreneurs who will showcase their talent and launch their own companies which will boost up the economic system and will create great number of jobs as well.

Best of luck !

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