STARTUP GUIDE ISSUE 10
MUNEEB MAAYR INVESTMENT & ADDRESSABLE MARKETS
ZEESHAN ALI KHADIM ON WORKING FOR AIRBNB
FAIZAN ASLAM LESSONS FROM RAISING INVESTMENT
TAIMUR JUNAID JAMSHED TAKING HIS FATHER’S LEGACY FORWARD
Editor Shehab Farrukh Niazi Art Directors Aleeza Javed Mahnoor Haroon Niazi
For the 10th issue of Startup Guide, we focus on startups that have raised funding rounds - starting from Bykea.The founder Muneeb Maayr highlights the most important aspects founders need to keep in consideration if they want to raise investment - everything from the founding team and addressable markets to working experience and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Faizan Aslam, the founder of Bookme.pk shares the lessons that he has learned from the experience of raising investment. Zeeshan Ali Khadim tells the story of what it’s like to work for a company like Airbnb;Taimur Junaid Jamshed talks about Jazaa Foods and taking his father’s legacy forward. We take a look at what has been happening around the block - from the Connected Women Eid Gala and Women Will Karachi and Lahore to Sohni Dharti’s photo contest to raise awareness about climate change. We also talk to the incredible female-led startups that are a part of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech Program. All this and more in this issue - happy reading!
SHEHAB FARRUKH NIAZI
CONTENTS WOMENWILL KARACHI
11 WOMENWILL LAHORE
News and Events
05 08 10 11 12 14
EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NOTE GOOGLE I/O EXTENDED 2019 ISLAMABAD
WOMENWILL (LAHORE) LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2019
WOMENWILL (KARACHI) LEAD WORKSHOP
CONNECTED WOMEN ISLAMABAD EID GALA 2019
SOHNI DHARTI CLIMATEERS CALL FOR COLLECTIVE ACTION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CRISIS
20 22 26 29 30 32
TAIMUR JUNAID JAMSHED ON LAUNCHING JAZAA FOODS
COVER STORY WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
FAIZAN ASLAM ON RAISING INVESTMENT & GROWING HIS COMPANY
ZEESHAN ALI KHADIM ON WORKING FOR AIRBNB
SOHAIL ZINDANI 7 WAYS FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO CASH-UP
STANDARD CHARTERED WOMEN IN TECH PROGRAM
FEATURING “What differentiates a businessman from an entrepreneur is a larger purpose and mission”
What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur
“Keep your records and ﬁnances clean - they should be audited. A serious investor would ask for all these things” On Raising Investment & Growing his Company
On Launching Jazaa Foods
Taimur Junaid Jamshed
“Don’t try to do everything yourself; build out a strong team”
On Working for Airbnb
Zeeshan Ali Khadim
GOOGLE I/O EXTENDED 2019 ISLAMABAD
This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Google I/O Extended 2019 Islamabad has been an exhilarating and breathtaking roller coaster ride - with the biggest turn out of tech enthusiasts and developers from not only Islamabad but also Peshawar, Lahore, Mardan and many other cities of Pakistan. It really was an experience unlike any other presenting the best VR/AR experience, the most productive codelab sessions on Kotlin and Flutter and last but not the least a panel composed of some of the boss ladies of the tech and startup ecosystem. The event kicked off with Muhammad Bin Masood Manager and Houziafa Khan Co- Manager GDG briefing the audience about GDG Islamabad and how it is an entire journey in itself rather than just a community aimed to revolutionize the culture of technology in Pakistan by empowering developers, designers, technologists, and change-makers. This was followed by a screening of the Google I/O 2019 keynote by Sundar Picahai. Mr. Ahmed Rizwan from Devening - Remote Consultant Snappymob, led a very productive and informative discussion on Kotlin for Android App Development. Stating the benefits that Kotlin has for Android Development he established how Kotlin nullifies Java in many applications. Its implementation was further demonstrated in an Android Kotlin Codelab which was an introductory session by Attiq-ur-Rehman, who elaborated its many uses in the field. The UI/UX Design Mini-Workshop Mini(You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spell Design without Empathy) was an ice-breaker. Led by Talal Athar, the youngest design lead in Telenor Group, the workshop discussed some of the prime topics of the corporate world and gave the audience an entirely different perspective of Visual Thinking. The heart of the event was for sure that Dance Energizer Activity where the audience literally literal danced it all off and refreshed their brains for the upcoming sessions. The stellar panel of Women Techmakers Islamabad included influential women like Sidra Jalil (PWiC Islamabad Chapter lead), Saima Tariq (Community Lead - Developer Circles from Facebook), Khaya Ahmed (Narrative Game Designer & Lead Content Developer -
- Optera Digital), Nimra Sohaib (Manager Digital Channels & Partnerships - Jazz) & the panel moderator Ayesha Khawaja. With VR/AR being the talk of the town, this happened to be the very session everyone eagerly waited for where Ibrahim Ali from VisionX discussed how this technology works and how VR Spaces Showroom, AR Viewer, and 3D - 360 VR Web View has tremendously eased customer interaction through websites allowing them to view vi the high-resolution images within created environments from various vantage points. They further demonstrated this by allowing the participants to see this for themselves using the VR headsets. Google I/O Extended 2019 Islamabad was executed with the support of National Incubation Center Islamabad, TeamUp, Jazz xlr8, Ignite - National Technology Fund, DEMO, Women Techmakers Islamabad, Pakistani Women In Computing - PWiC, Bentley Systems Islamabad, Code for Pakistan, WomenInTechPK and OPEN Islamabad.
The Annual Womenwill Leadership Summit 2019
The very first annual Womenwill Leadership Summit 2019, a full-day event filled with keynotes, discussions, hands-on workshops and networking, recently held in Lahore, organized by GBG Lahire, focused on Laho helping women reach their leadership goals featuring 18 amazing women leaders as speakers. Globally, only 36% of women hold leadership positions as legislators, senior officials, and managers for every 100 men. Addressing this leadership gap is crucial to achieving workplace gender parity - which benefits everyone. Womenwill helps women reach their ev leadership goals. This, in turn, helps to positively impact future generations. Womenwill is a Google initiative to create economic opportunity for women. Womenwill does this by helping women make the most of technology to build skills, get inspired and connect with each other through training, events and advocacy, we aim to drive conversations promoting gender quality to benefit everyone. The event was organized by GBG Lahore Supported by COLABS | OPEN Lahore | Ejad Labs | Coconut Studio For more info: www.gbglahore.org
The Women Will Lead Workshop: Inspiring Pakistani women to become successful corporate leaders of tomorrow Google recently conducted the Women Will Lead workshop for the first time in Pakistan to discuss the progress of young working women in today’s corporate and business environment. Th Women Will Lead Workshop The in Karachi is a training program organized by Google Partners and focused on career development and cultivating female leadership skills within digital and marketing landscape of the country. Speakin on the occasion, Country Speaking Manager, Pakistan & South Asian Frontier Markets, Farhan Qureshi said: “Every day more and more Pakistani women are becoming part of our corporate landscape; and in many cases leading big teams and brands. Pakistani women team over the years have proven that they are more than capable in
leadership positions and in particular, the advertising, marketing and creative industry has the opportunity to lead Pakistan in developing future talent, particularly with regards to rising female stars.”
viewpoints on the subject. The challenges they faced on their road to success were of interest to the audience and the panelists also gave career tips to the aspiring women professionals in the audience.
Th highlight of the event was a The panel discussion of notable women personalities from Pakistan’s corporate landscape: Dr. Ayesha Khan, CEO and Country Head, Acumen Pakistan; Ms. Sultana Siddiqui, CEO Hum Network; Ms. Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL; Sim Ms. Shazia Syed, CEO Unilever Pakistan along with Google’s Farhan Qureshi were amongst the panelists. Sarah Liu, Founder & Managing Director of The Dream Collective, flew in from Australia to moderate the event. The highly accomplished panel of women leaders shared their stories and
Women Will is a Google initiative to help women everywhere, with the aim of equipping them with the knowledge and tools to succeed. The initiative focuses on helping women to realize their true worth as professionals and to inspire them to dream and pass the the phases of grind with their heads held high. Apart from inculcating a deeper understanding of gender disparity and how it manifests in the work environment, the event also helped women to expand their network by connecting with thei peers, mentors and sponsors who can support their career.
Connected Women â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Islamabad Eid Gala 2019 An enthralling gathering of empowered women was held on Friday, June 21 at Islamabad Marriott Hotel by Connected Women-Islamabad chapter. The theme of the event was Urooj-e-Zan, Women, Leadership and Power focusing on women collaboration and support for its community.
The event aimed at bringing together empowered women of the twin cities (Islamabad and Rawalpindi) of Pakistan on a single platform to influence and support each other in building professional networks, capacity building and finding role models for other women. Top thought leaders from all backgrounds and belonging to diverse age groups unified for the cause of empowering, influencing and guiding each other through emp their expertise and shared their thoughts and experiences of being women. The event was attended by business leaders, entrepreneurs, educationists, freelancers, working women from various professional fields and aspiring women entrepreneurs. Thi successful event was organized by the Team leader, Ms. This Zia S. Hasan, Co- founder & Director of NShield Solutions with support from the Hashoo Group. Zia, who is leading a non-traditional business field of Automotive, is a community builder who believes that the large pool of talent, namely women, can be empowered to strengthen the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy. Th program was packed with enlightening speeches, activities, The a powerful panel discussion, skit on Workingwomen vs Housewives, Excellence and Recognition Awards. Specia talks were held discussing diverse range of topics Special focusing on the right attitude for success; importance of a growth mindset, self- awareness and C- Suit success to the role of women entrepreneurs in Pakistanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy, overcoming challenges and role of men in women empowerment. Lashley A. Pulsipher, Chief Marketing, Sales and Revenue Officer, Hashoo Group, was the keynote speaker of the event.
Excellence Awards were given to the speakers and the organizing team for their efforts for women empowerment. Othe than engaging fun activities, Other a powerful panel discussion was also held. The panelists shared their successes and challenges and urged on creating an enabling environment for women to progress. Connecte Women-Islamabad is an Connected incredible network of professional women residing in the twin cities (Islamabad and Rawalpindi). Networking is proven way to get more of the right clients, to build your confidence and meet likeminded people for collaboration. Connected Women organizes global networking meetups every 6 weeks. CW-Islamabad welcomes and encourages all the professional women of the twin cities to join its community and Share, Connect, Work and Learn. Learn
SOHNI DHARTI CLIMATEERS CALL FOR
ACTION TO COMBAT
About Sohni Dharti Climateers: Th brainchild of Samar Hasan and Saira Ishtiaq Ahmad, Sohni Dharti Climateers, The the force behind Nature & Us Photo Contest, is an award-winning initiative supported by an Australia Awards alumni grant, made possible through the Regional Alumni Workshop 2018: Australia Awards Alumni as Champions for the Environment and Climate Action. It is known for taking novel approaches to promote understanding about climate change and instigate climate actions to prepare the nation against the impending crisis. Through the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concerted efforts, Sohni Dharti Climateers has spurred climate actions ranging from tree ef plantation drives to water conservation advocacy and beach cleaning initiatives under a digital hackathon held in November 2018 as well as stimulated climate crisis stories through Nature & Us Photo Contest.
In an attempt to create urgency about the looming climate crisis, Sohni Dharti Climateers, a digital awareness and community engagement initiative to counter climate change, organized a nationwide photography competition in May 2019, aimed at telling stories of the negative impact of climate change on people, water, air, earth and wildlife. The photo contest culminated ea in a final event, “Climate Change Through Your Eyes: Sohni Dharti Nature & Us Photo Contest”, comprising of a photo exhibition and advocacy and awareness generation session. The event gathered together environmentalists, development practitioners, civil society, concerned citizens, media and government concerne officials. The event kicked off with an introduction about Sohni Dharti Climateers, followed by a keynote speech, “Global Climate Crisis and Planet Earth: Visualizing Our Struggle for Survival” by Dr. Imran Khalid, Research Fellow at Sustainable Development Policy Institute. After this, an interactive panel discussion, “Managing Risk and interacti Building Hope: Climate, Environment & Pakistan” was curated by Ms. Samar Hasan, Co-Founder of Epiphany and Sohni Dharti Climateers. Panelists included Mr. Hassaan Sipra, Scientific Officer, COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology, Ms. Anam Zeb, Senior Research Manager, Civil Society Coalition for Climate Manage Change (CSCCC), Mr. Muhammad Waseem, Manager Conservation, WWF-Pakistan and Ms. Shirin Ahmed, Freelance Photographer & Videographer. The discussion highlighted key statistics about climate crisis; climate mitigation and adaptation, with special emphasis on the role of individuals, communities and government. “Nature & Us Photo Contest is a continuation of the work that we began last year to stimulate
climate action by concerned citizens across Pakistan. We are blown away by 100 plus heart tugging photos submitted by 70 individuals from all walks of life as part of this competition. They are powerful depictions of the plight of Pakistan and vividly express the need to take action on emergency footing.” - Samar Hasan and Saira Ishtiaq Ahmad, Co-Founders of Sohni Dharti Climateers Dr. Raja Shad from Tharparker, Sindh won the first prize for his photograph, “Water crises in Desert of Tharparkar.” The second prize was awarded to Mr. Afzal Shaheen from Dalbandin, Balochistan for his photograph, Balochista “The Nature”. Mr. Abdul Wahab from Sindh secured the third prize for his photo, “Injustice to Environment to Result in Death of Innocents.” Mr. Atif Hussain Kazmi from Jalalabad, Gilgit Kazm Baltistan won the People’s Choice Award for “Trees are Worth More Alive than Dead”. Top 16 photos comprising three best images under each theme and the People’s Choice were displayed at Artcade Gallery at The Marriott, Islamabad. The photographers behind these photos are also being offered an opportunity to participate at a photo walkthrough and an advanced photography workshop.
I am Abdul Razaque Channa from Hyderabad, Sindh. I am an anthropologist. Photography and ethnographic film making has been an integral part of my academic research
I took this photograph in February, 2019 while doing a documentary shoot for Waste Hero (our initiative that promotes waste segregation and reduction).
MANAL KHAN Through this photo project, Manal aims to create awareness about how a one-time convenience is hurting our planet and life around us.
RAJAB KARIM This experience increased my interest in nature and wildlife which ultimately connected me to do something more to improve our environment to make it healthy & green.
Now that I am a university student and surrounded by people who actually know how to appreciate art, I have become more confident about my photography, enough to submit it to a photography contest. I am excited and humbled to be part of the Sohni Dharti Climateers Photo
RUBY RAEES My work revolves around creating photographs and albums that tell stories of life. My style is natural and vibrant. I love to capture wildlife, life stories and nature.
My slogan is “Peace and Humanity through Lens”. I have captured some stories, reflecting neglected issues of our society. These stories are titled “Souls to School”, “Kids of Killen” and have been widely liked and praised by people.
KAZMI Photography is a passion and not a profession for me. I love mother Earth and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I always try to share visuals which speak for itself and explains serious issues on climate change
HASSAN I won many competitions like AIMC Photography Contest, Shalamar Medical College Contest and Hunarkada Photo Contest. The most important competition which I won was & Clean Green Pakistan Save Water Photo Contest at Governor House & and then I participated in Sohni Dharti Climateers Photo Contest on Climate Change
AFZAL SHAHEEN People who have water abundantly available, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t realize what a source of life it is. But here, we live with patience and hope that perhaps the skies will be merciful and bring water to us. It is this hope and patience that drives our lives and that is what I want to show through this picture.
FAWAD HASHMI This initiative took me to the next level of photography where I use my passion to click for this cause which ultimately makes otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life better.
I hope through this photo, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m able to make people realize how important natural resources are to our existence, so that we may start utilizing them more responsibly.
SHAD My images mostly show the type of life that people spend here due to harsh climate and scarce resources. I hope these images create a realization among people who live in abundant places about valuing their resources while they last.
FURQAN As photography is a great distinction in my life, I capture the natural beauty in its bloom, to lend the fleeting moments of life eternal.
TAKING HIS FATHER’S LEGACY FORWARD
What was your inspiration behind launching this brand? (5-6 lines) My inspiration behind starting Jazaa was my father; he was the one who came up with the idea of Jazaa. He wanted to take Pakistani products all over the world. He did it with garments; he wanted to do something similar with Jazaa. The whole idea was to change the image of Pakistani products worldwide and that we have the best produce in our country; we just need to make sure of the quality that goes out! Now that he isn’t around it is my job to take goe this mission forward.
What makes Jazaa Foods different from all the other brands out there? We can proudly say that we have the best quality product. You open a packet of our rice in Pakistan, USA, Australia, Hong Kong it will have the same quality and we have made sure that we do this with all our products.
What markets are you currently focusing on for Jazaa?
TAIMUR JUNAID JAMSHED ON LAUNCHING JAZAA FOODS Taimur Junaid Jamshed is the co-founder of Jazaa Foods, taking forward the passion of his father behind promoting Pakistan all over the world for high quality.
Every market has a different demand, which is why we have widened our range of products – we started with rice, but we have gone into masalas, pastes, vermicelli, fried onion, salts and reason is to cater to all the foreign markets. Some have a high demand of rice while some have a demand for other products. My main focus is to capture the Pakistani market, as this is our country and we should give the best to our people. It will take time, as brands have been there for more than 2 decades, but slowly and gradually Jazaa will make its own way!
What are your plans for the future of Jazaa? The plan is to make it the biggest food brand in Pakistan and then worldwide. We have extended our product range and it will keep on extending InshAllah. Maybe once our product range is big enough, I can think of doing other things like making a Jazaa kitchen or opening a Jazaa store. Right now my main focus is to extend our product range.
C O V E R S TO R Y
FOUNDER OF BYKEA MUNEEB MAAYR ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
Muneeb Maayr is the Founder of Bykea, Pakistan’s leading hyper local marketplace. His experience spans along operations and marketing. He founded Pakistan’s largest e-commerce marketplace and was also the mind behind SNL, Pakistan’s largest Business Process Outsourcing back offices catering to the financial services industry. caterin His latest venture is Bykea, which is Pakistan’s first motorcycle based travel and logistics app. In a conversation with Startup Guide, Muneeb talks about the inspiration behind taking the entrepreneurial route and the sense of purpose that sets an entrepreneur apart from a businessman ent and trader – “For me, it has always been about creating a large opportunity for people. When I came back to Pakistan and started the outsourcing function with SNL, the idea was to have Pakistani people working for international companies through the power of the Internet. After th that, Daraz was about enabling the user to buy from anywhere. The target group for SNL was the educated university graduates while the target group for Daraz was the masses – anyone who wants to buy anything using the power of the Internet. Third is Bykea, which is catering to a larger demographic which is not necessarily English speaking, using the Internet to bridge the communication gap and allow people to talk to each other, do business with each other serve each other. I think if you ask me tomorrow to set up a CNG station and you tell me that se it would make me 5 times the money I’m making, I won’t take it. What differentiates a businessman from an entrepreneur is a larger purpose and mission. Businessmen are just interested in the trade. Tech entrepreneurs and inventors are basically building something – that’s what they like buildin to do. I love building things, for me the fun is in the trek. “
Like an smart entrepreneur, Muneeb has learned many lessons along the way, between Daraz and Bykea – “You can get caught up with an idea that you like but that won’t necessarily have a large enough addressable market. I think one thing is clear – if you want to raise money, your addressable market needs to be really big in order for the investor to believe that he would be able to make money and gain 10x on his investment. Another thing about addressability is whether you’re talking about the Pakistani market or other markets as well. After Bykea, if I do something, I would like to work on something, which has an even larger addressable market than what I am large doing currently, which is hard.” Muneeb believes that for an investor, there is a trade-off while choosing a venture to invest in – “If an investor is putting money in real estate he would get double in 5 years. On the other hand, if he’s putting the same money into a tech company, he would want to grow his money 10 times in 5 years, which is tricky. The big question is what is it that’s going to enable bi that business to grow by 10x. They’re looking for that element. If you don’t hit volume in 3 years and if you’re still looking for money after 3 years, then you’re fooling yourself.” Muneeb believes that the contribution various stakeholders are looking to make in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a positive sign – “The good thing is that everyone is on it and working towards something. A lot of the fluff has cleared and a lot of people who were working on entrepreneurship just because of the sheer sexiness of it have filtered out. What’s left is people who are making something work – these are the people who will rise.”
“WHEN LOOKING FOR INVESTMENT, THE BIG QUESTION IS WHAT IS IT THAT’S GOING TO ENABLE A BUSINESS TO GROW BY 10X”
In Muneeb’s opinion, the right founding team can make or break a startup,in terms of its functionality and also when a startup is looking for investnment – “You should have complimentary skills as co-founders. It is important to be clear about what each of the co-founders is supposed to be doing to prevent from stepping one each other’s toes. pr What is the title and role? After having an MVP, try to raise investment – no one will work full time without getting paid. Capital is absolutely necessary if you want to make your idea work.” A lot of startups are not clear on the distinction between the tech and product – “Product is what your steps are, what the customer experience is and tech is the app. Uber’s tech was much better than Careem’s, but Careem’s product was better. In this space, it’s all about operations, which is a big part of your product experience.” Given his experience with tech startups and the entrepreneurial landscape in general, Muneeb has valuable advice for startups – “If you’re working on tech enabled, you will need money. It’s not about the idea; it’s about the execution for which money is important. This is also important if you want to build the right team, which will be able to execute the idea. team If we look at my team for Bykea, they came from senior positions at big companies – my ability to bring the likes of these people on the platform was because I told them that I’ve raised money. Catch 22 is that you need to pay people who are mature and capable.” He also talks about the need for experience if als you want to run a startup successfully – “If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to actually work somewhere. If you’re young, you will have more commitment level and time to work on and prove your idea, but you will lack much-needed experience. Doing a job teaches you how to pitch yourself also – the teache promotions you get and how you promote yourself as an employee shows a lot about your capability as an entrepreneur.”
CEO & FOUNDER OF BOOKME.PK FAIZAN ASLAM ON RAISING INVESTMENT & GROWING HIS COMPANY
Tell us about yourself and your background. I have a background of software engineering. In terms of entrepreneurship, I have been pursuing it since 2007 – I started it back in 2007 when I was in my 6th semester of university.The first venture was a software company – I worked on it for about 6 years, till 2013. Bookme.pk is my second venture. I did try to develop other products, but I wrapped them up quickly, realizing that they likely wouldn’t make it that big in the market or the market didn’t need them at the time. Bookme.pk was the idea, which had the potential of becoming a really good business. The software company was running well – I had two offices, one goo in Islamabad and one in Sahiwal, which is my hometown. We lost a client in 2013 upon whom most of the business was dependent, as he went bankrupt and we had to close the business down. At that point, I decided that I should build a product with which I wouldn’t have to experience something similar again.
What was the inspiration behind Bookme.pk and introducing it in Pakistan? I got married in 2013 – my wife and I planned to watch a movie. We lived in Sahiwal, so it was about a two-hour drive. It was the first week of the film and there was no seat available. We came back disappointed, hoping that we’ll try next week. The same thing happened again next week. We even tried other cinemas without luck. That was when othe the idea came – it wasn’t revolutionary, but happening in other parts of the world. For the Pakistani market it was a new idea. The model of online ticketing has been a successful one around the world and has been accepted as a product. I’ve always travelled a lot in buses and the problem of ticketing was also there an
You’ve recently raised funding. Tell us about the experience and what you learned through the process as a startup. In my experience, we generally miss a lot of major things in a startup. The biggest mistake is not maintaining proper, organized and clean books for the business. We made the same mistake of not focusing on bookkeeping. While we were focusing on the business growth, we didn’t focus on the finances and bookkeeping. No one guided us that we would need clean books and organized finances and costs if we were going to raise funding at some point. Investment is a lengthy process, which has certain requirements from a startup – the idea of investment is misrepresented in Pakistan unfortunately due to the wrong kind of publicity.
for booking a ticket. While bus and cinema are totally different domains, I realized that the ticketing problem in both domains was similar. If you look at the rest of the world, none of them were tackling the bus-ticketing problem. I realized it was closely linked, so we added buses to it and tried to automate it. This was the idea – I was looking for other it product-based ideas for future possibilities. I was looking to settle in Lahore. My wife and I came across the Arfa Tower in Lahore and we wanted to check what it would cost to get an office in the building. When we went there, we found out about Plan9, which had incubated one of its first cohorts at that time. As the on idea for Bookme.pk kept maturing, the idea of taking support from Plan9 started taking shape. I started doing my homework for getting incubated at Plan9 – we got selected for their third cycle.
Investments don’t happen just for an idea. If an investor is looking for return, they would study the market and business model. Since we were young and new in the field, we had a different perception about investment. In 2017, we realized what a mistake we had made with thinking how the process of getting an investment works. It took us about 14 months to fix all the issues in our books and then raise investment. The reason we went for Lakson was that it is the only SECP recognized VC. We chose them based on their portfolio and how that can help us with our growth. For me, it was important that the investor should be an institution and have high credibility. Since they’ve already done their due diligence and formalized a lot of things, we have changed the way we structured our business, which would also help in raising future rounds.
What has your experience been working for Airbnb? I think Airbnb has been a great opportunity and has allowed me to learn and grow. It's been a rewarding challenge to set up the Corporate / IT security program. The work environment at Airbnb is built upon its core values and makes for both a productive / learning environment as well as a place where work life balance is valued. whe
Based on your experience with Airbnb, what are the top 5 tips you would like to share with startups in Pakistan? My main focus at Airbnb (and that of my career) has been on information security. Airbnb is built on trust. The Information Security team plays a critical role in maintaining and building our communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trust in our platform that enables millions of users to explore the world and belong anywhere. So one of the tips I would like to an share is that keep information security and privacy in mind as you build your product or service. As a consumer myself, I think it's important to make sure that the core part works and is designed well (rather than trying to do everything sub-optimally). Don't try to do everything yourself; build out a strong team. Have a clear vision and mission. Identify strategy as to how you would get there. Ruthlessly prioritize so that you are not taking on more than you and your team can handle at any given time.
Zeeshan Ali Khadim On Working for Airbnb Zeeshan is currently heading the Corporate/IT Security team at Airbnb. He did his bachelors in CS from GIKI (Pakistan). After that he completed his Masters in Computers & Information Sciences from University of Delaware (US). He has been working in the information security field for the last ~13 years (since graduation). Prior to Airbnb, he worked at Facebook (Security Engineering Manager) and Google (Senior Security Engineer).
WAYS FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO CASH-UP
A researcher, keynote speaker, strengths & happiness activist, leadership, talent and performance consultant, Sohail is the Founder of Learning Minds, which has thousands of individual contributors and leader –who know how to bring out the best in their people, create great places to work, and deliver real bottom-line results for their organizations. Sohail is a staunch believer of human potential and disregards the very idea of labeling human as a ‘resource’. He looks at human beings as la magnificent possibility.
SOHAIL ZINDANI A researcher, keynote speaker, strengths & happiness activist, leadership, talent and performance consultant, Sohail is the Founder of Learning Minds, which has thousands of individual contributors and leader –who know how to bring out the best in their people, create great places to work, and deliver real bottom-line results for their organizations. Sohail is a staunch believer of human potential and disregards the very idea of labeling human as a ‘resource’. He looks at human beings as labelin magnificent possibility.
Cash is Fun. Cash is blood. Cash is literally the proof that your business is doing well. First, stop saying, "Well, this is just the way it is in our industry." No. This is the way in which few losers work. Don’t get in their league. Have your available cash reported DAILY with a short explanation of why it changed during the last 24 hours – and chart against account-receivable and account-payable weekly.You'll learn so much more about your business when you see how the cash is flowing on a daily basis. Here is a top secret. If you want to be paid sooner, ASK. Consider strategies – x% discount on advance payment or some value-addition. Clients will pay considerably faster or even pre-pay if you simply ask, ask, ask, ask, and ask some more. Get your bills out quicker – faster. Change the paper color of your invoice.Yes! This makes it visible on client’s desk.
With ever-increasing focus on relying on external funding, the magical component of being an entrepreneur [uncertainty] is simply under-rated, but it also fools us with being cash-rich. No, that’s what I call debt-rich. I am surprised that all these entrepreneurial geniuses, gurus and incubators rarely emphasize on the power of cash. Below are 7 ways to reduce your cash cycle. Gather your executive team together for 30 – 60 minutes and brainstorm at least three ways you can immediately reduce your cash cycle and double your operating cash position within the next 12 months.
Understand why your clients are paying later – ask them. See how you can facilitate them so that they can expedite the payment. Understand your customers' payment cycles and time your billings to coincide. Shorten product and service delivery cycle times. All of you have some kind of "work-in-progress." The quicker you complete projects, the quicker you get paid. Of course, improving margins and profit improves cash. I'I've never found a business that can't dramatically improve their cash flow. The issue is with intent, approach and execution. Remember, reducing your cash cycle almost always leads to much greater operational excellence and customer service.You don't have to cheat your customers or suppliers to achieve better cash flow. And with more cash, you sleep much better at night!
STARTUPS PARTICIPATING IN #SCWOMENINTECH PROGRAM PAKISTAN AND WHAT THEY LEARNED
The Standaed Chartered Women in Tech program presents an amazing platform providing opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs with technology ventures (or those using technology to scale their existing businesses) to receive pre-seed funding, mentoring, role modeling, and support to build and scale their entrepreneurial ventures. Using the INNOVentures INN proven methodology and the right mentors and trainers, the program is aimed to speed the journey and scale of the selected ventures to new heights. After a 3-month selection and elimination process, up to 5 Women Founders shall become eligible to win upto $10,000 each. Their new Community Investment strategy, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Futuremakers by Standard Charteredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, is strate their global initiative to empower the next generation to learn, earn and grow. Through their new strategy, they aim to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion.
operational business to be in and sometimes it gets impossible to manage. However with the techniques I learnt about streamlining the process through images of the whole process including each and very step made me super clear about what needs to be done and by whom. Secondly, the digital marketing class was also a favorite where the mentor talked about the sales funnel and how h one can make it to the end of the pipeline. We are working on our audiences as well since that time to have more customers on board. All in all, it has been a superb learning experience.” Laiba Amir (Closet) For most part the selected Cohort consists of entrepreneurs who are already running a technology venture/ technology enabled venture and are seeking to scale. Their participation in the program will enable them to refocus their energies towards achieving milestones on their path to scale. For those who have had traditional (non- technology) businesses, this program offers a unique opportunity businesses to think about the role of technology in helping their ventures grow and scale.
“This program has immensely helped us identify our user in detail and narrow down the persona. We mapped the user journey to identify the loopholes in our design. It gave an insight to redesign our model from the user perspective and make it more useroriented. As one of the key team members of Aurat oriented Raaj, I have not been formally trained in tech entrepreneurship (as opposed to Saba who attended the Nest I/O), so this was one of the most fruitful opportunities.” Jaya Rajwani (Aurat Raaj)
Startup Guide talks to some of the founders participating in the program, as they share their experience and what they’ve learned from the mentoring and coaching sessions.
“Being a part pa of the program has been a privilege. I have learnt a lot. I have got the very sensible concept of creating an elevated business model, which ultimately helps in the growth of your startup widely. Plus, how important it is to keep your customer satisfied with the product/service along with a good
“I manage operations at Closet. Closet is a highly
pricing strategy. I have learned how one can market the product and grab the customer even with zero money. I also learned about how you can create value out of your existing product.” Rabab Fatima (Bolo Tech) “It has been a great g series of workshops so far, the choice of mentors and the journey that they shared has been very inspiring. The most valuable lesson I learned about the direction of business would be on how to collaborate vertically and horizontally to expand the business operations and create more opportunities and efficiency in the overall business model by achieving economies of scale.” Anushe Fatima (Trashit)
into new target markets and opportunities. And the most inspiring thing, they have not taken the term “technology” to the conventional terms of IT and computers. They are helping women in maximizing their business potential with all new techniques, tools and concepts, which in my opinion, is the true definition of technology.” Hajira Saquib (The Red Door) “I’ve learned a lot about how to think about scaling up and techniques for growth hacking; increasing user engagement by telling them what they need to know and not by what they already know; how to give an elevator pitch and how to refine it and iterate it depending upon the audience.” Dr. Seemab (Awaz)
“Being part of this program has been one of the best experiences of my life. Refining my business model, moving towards the growth and pitching effectively is the most valuable lesson I have learned. That would not have been possible without the amazing and experienced mentors and trainers who gave us personalized feedback.” Noor-us- Saba (Plate 101)
“I got exposure to important networking circles including startups, entrepreneurs and mentors which is very important for my venture because they have so much to teach that we can learn from. So basically in terms of training, strategy and execution wise, I feel much stronger and clearer than we first started.” Ayesha Mumtaz (Hop Orbit)
“SC “SCWomenInTech provided me a whole new perspective on the sustainability and scalability for my business. Interaction with mentors and startups from every sphere of life has helped to broaden the view
“I think the program p has overall been great because it provided local content and context and it helped me refine my market.” Tanzila Khan (Girly Things)
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