The world recently observed World Entrepreneurs’ Day (WED). The day is celebrated to create awareness for entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership throughout the world. It’s a day when people who start a business all by themselves are celebrated.
According to the WED website, it’s the day of founders, managers, producers, contractors, industrialists, innovators, administrators, designers, and producers.
Entrepreneurship is vital because it has the potential to raise living standards and generate wealth, not only for entrepreneurs but also for connected businesses. Entrepreneurs also contribute to change through innovation, as new and improved products enable the creation of new markets.
And when it comes to startups and the prospect for their growth, only a few global markets show such strong potential as Pakistan. A country with a total population of 217M and a consumer spending worth $257B, Pakistan presents a ripe market rich with untapped potential for startups in the world.
In Pakistan, we have seen some remarkable progress made in the past few months alone with two of our homegrown startups raising over $100 million in funding. With such a thriving startup scene, we thought it’d be the perfect time to celebrate our own founders who are making waves in the global startup landscape.
While there are many young entrepreneurs from Pakistan who are driving a global change, here are some of them that we take pride in celebrating on this special occasion.
Shoaib Makani, Co-Founder, and CEO, KeepTruckin
Shoaib Makani, Co-Founder, and CEO of KeepTruckin is innovating the way trucking companies manage their fleets by making them more organized and productive. The company has raised over $200 million at a $1.4 billion valuation from investors like Index Ventures, Google Ventures, IVP, Scale Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, and ITOCHU Corporation.
Set to build a modern electronic log to fleet management program for the trucking industry, this has been one remarkable startup to reach the high skies ever since its conception.
“We started with a core problem for drivers. We recognized that paper logs are inefficient and there could be a better way, so we created a free app for drivers to do logs on their phones. Once that was adopted by hundreds of thousands of drivers, we developed the ELD and broader fleet management program based on mobile and smartphones,” shares Makani while explaining the idea behind his inventive solution.
“We now have a really comprehensive fleet management platform for trucking companies that spans compliance, telematics, and soon video monitoring,” he adds.
Mudassir Sheikha, Co-Founder, and CEO, Careem
Being an exceptionally innovative service in the Middle East, Careem has been crowned the first unicorn in the region. Mudassir Sheikha, an alumnus of the University of Southern California and Stanford University, built the idea of Careem upon his work experience in a Silicon Valley early-stage fund.
Together with his Swedish colleague and partner in crime, Magnus Olsson, Sheikha ached to do something more rewarding, which is how the idea for Careem came into inception. Within five years, Careem had amassed 10 million registered users in 60 cities in 11 countries.
Talking about his trade secrets, Mudassir Sheikha says, “There are no secrets. We love what we do and we work hard for it. We are on a mission to simplifying lives and are excited to build a lasting institution from the region. Everyone at Careem shares a common set of values that include being ambitious, focused, collaborative, and agile.”
“This combination of a deeply-held joint purpose, winning personality traits, and strong ownership produced magic for us, where the bar on aspiration and execution is high, where there is mutual trust between colleagues, where taking initiative proactively is the norm, where transparency is a basic right, where feedback is considered a gift, where things move rapidly from thought to execution, and where people do whatever it takes to delight our captains and customers,” he adds.
Usman Gul, Co-Founder and CEO, Airlift technologies
A Pakistani transportation startup that’s building a decentralized mass transit system to offer users a reliable daily commute option, Airlift looks like the next big thing in the market. In a short span of two years, Airlift has surmounted to have hundreds of routes and buses in Lahore and Karachi.
Just a few days ago, Airlift Technologies announced an $85 Million Series B financing led by some of the most iconic investors on the globe. This is the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history, according to a data tracker from venture capitalist fund Invest2Innovate.
While speaking to a digital media outlet, Usman Gul, Co-founder and CEO, Airlift sounded motivated about the future of this service in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has a lot to offer. The fundamental value system in both ecosystems is the same, taking initiatives, being bold and aggressive works here too. You will find a lot of self-made entrepreneurs in Pakistan. There is enormous latent talent in Pakistan that is underutilized, stuck in nine-to-five routines. It is easy to recruit that talent. When it comes to investors, they are quick and don’t run back and forth,” he said.
Sara Saeed Khurram, Co-Founder, Sehat Kahani
It is always a delight to see women step in step with men for the progress of the nation. As far as entrepreneurial activities are concerned, Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram and Iffat Zafar Aga, Co-Founders of Sehat Kahani are proving that women are no less than any man.
What started as a network to connect home-based female doctors to patients through telemedicine-enabled brick-and-mortar health clinics, Sehat Kahani, is now a national success. It gives a large number of female doctors, who are unable to practice medicine due to family commitments, the freedom to connect with patients in underserved communities through a network of nurse-assisted health clinics.
“We work across markets, so in low-income communities where people don’t have access to quality healthcare or doctors and they don’t have smartphones or the internet, we upgrade traditional clinics into telemedicine centers. Ultimately what we’re trying to do is connect patients to qualified doctors through technology, through our mobile app, so they can get quality healthcare, which is affordable, cost-effective, and easily accessible,” explains Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram.
These women of steel are serving in remote locations of the country where such basic facilities are much needed and ironically, scarce.
Shamoon Sultan, CEO Khaadi
Pakistan’s leading retailer, Khaadi’s CEO, Shamoon Sultan, is a graduate of Indus Valley and a creative mind with an abundance of unconventional ideas. Khaadi is among the very few retail brands that made their mark upon the working class and the elites alike, in no time at all, due to their affordable rates and exceptional quality of fabric.
Shamoon credits this huge success to his team of profound artists who are exceptional at what they do as he says, “Building a good team is essential, no one can do it on their own and you have to trust your team and delegate authority. As you continue to do this, it becomes easier. I always believed in the product and I think that is what made the difference.”
Shamoon’s story is one-of-a-kind as his vision propelled his rise from a small boutique owner on the streets of Karachi to the head of one of the most successful textile houses in the country.
Saad Jangda, Co-Founder Bazaar Technologies
A B2B marketplace that provides merchants with the ability to procure inventories at a standard price and choose from a wide catalog, Bazaar is available in Karachi and Lahore. Bazaar’s suite of digital products empowers merchants to simplify and grow their businesses. It is currently serving 5 million merchants across Pakistan.
While talking to TechCrunch about Bazaar’s future in the country, Saad Jangda, Co-Founder Bazaar Technologies, said, “Bazaar is going after a massive opportunity with the ultimate aim of creating a generational story in and from Pakistan. In a country with incredible talent and huge market opportunity, it’s about time we create an inspirational story that brings together the country’s best talent who can go on to create many such stories in the future.”
Policies that focus on giant companies providing one percent of their profits to the start-ups and tax exemptions to the companies investing in start-ups could propel Pakistan’s entrepreneurial landscape in the right direction. With the amount of talent advantage that Pakistan has currently, Pakistani startups are well-positioned to dominate all major industries in Pakistan and also expand to MENA.
Source: Pro Pakistani