TIECon 2007 Karachi : The inside scoop

Share this Article

Author:

By now I’m sure you have read all about TIECon 2007 — newspapers covered it very comprehensively.

What you probably didn’t have was an insider perspective on it. So allow me?

TIECon was organized by the TIE chapters in Pakistan, supported and promoted by Rozee.pk among a number of other companies, and featured some of the top-VCs operating in the region, and Entrepreneurs of the country.

A collection of the “who’s who” of the business sector was also present, including Kewan Qadre CEO Techlogix, Saquib Shirazi, CEO Atlas Honda, Zouhair Khaliq, CEO Mobilink, Seema Aziz, CEO Bareeze, Jehan Ara from Pasha, and a host of other notable industry veterans.

Other attendees included many hopeful entrepreneurs from both startups in stealth mode or others such as Amaana.

Hit the link for my observations from the event.

The purpose of the event, by “Lighting the Fire”, was to motivate a culture of entrepreneurship within the audience. Within that, I think it did the job very well. One VC after another delivered motivational speeches to get the audience charged up.

In addition to this, these were some of the notable things I found in the event:

  • The event as a whole was very well organized, and there was never a moment of friction in the activities, so kudos to that, and kudos for getting the people together
  • Amir Adnan did not set a foot in the VIP enclosure, preferring instead to roam the hallways throughout the event meeting with young people and discussing their passions. That down-to-earth humility was a delight to see, as its rare to find a successful person willing to talk whole-heartedly with everyone.
  • Saquib Shirazi, CEO Atlas Honda, gave a fantastic 5 mins synopsis of making strategic decisions. Saquib probably has to be one of the best presenters and speakers of this industry.
  • Asad Jamal, CEO ePlanet Ventures, gave a comprehensive overview of the high tech investment areas and industry outlook, covering all areas from covergence, to Enterprise Mobility, to Web 2.0 and more.
  • Dr. Akram Chowdary, M.D. HiTechVC, had a great breakout session in how frank he was.
  • Harpal Randhawa mentioned the importance of thinking about helping society first, and making money afterwards, and this struck the right chord with the audience.

On the other hand, the trouble with the speeches, which was immediately noted by audience members, was that all of the VCs talked about Growth Capital and success in growing small established firms into multi-$B ventures.

The second thing the audience members noted was that most of the presenters “become entrepreneurs” and started startups usually at the age of 32-35.

The VCs for the most part did not have any good answers or pieces of motivation for that young fresh college student who wanted to know about starting firms from nothing. When asked about it, they usually preferred to say “Well we dont cover startup capital so you could ask someone else about it”.

The message, it seems, was still the same for entrepreneurs getting into startups:

  • Friends and Family Capital still remains your only source of investment at an early stage.
  • Dont think of starting until you have experience and well-established existing client-list who you could contact with your new venture. Salesmen have the best chances here.
  • Always start a business when you have most of the pieces you will need — either you will have experience, or you will have smart friends, or you will have rich friends, or you will have business relationships with people willing to trust your venture. In any case, you will need people around you who can put in favors for you at the time you want. Startups who cannot find free work through partners, or initial set of customers through relationships, will find it very hard to break the “first sale” barrier.
  • You should have enough support from Friends & Family capital to carry you through the inception phase of your new idea — which in the case of Mobilink according to Mr. Zouhair Khaliq was 10 years.

What’s wrong with this?

Actually nothing, but some of these constraints start hindering the growth of high-tech ideas.

High Tech capital investments are large — Dr. Akram Chowdary had to raise $250,000 to get started, which he said he did by taking a loan against the house he owned and borrowing $10k – $20k from each friend.

Straight off the bat, it is rare for people in Pakistan to own property here — the obscene property prices aside, the culture is usually one of “hand-me-downs” where the family, grandparents or parents will name property after an individual which he inherits after a certain time. Even if they did they wouldn’t be able to get a business loan in this country until the property was on the business name and the business had been operating for three years.

Secondly, it is even more rare here to find friends at a young enough age who would be willing to put in $10-20k in you.

So within the range of friends and family capital that an average young entrepreneur might raise, pure high tech innovations usually cannot be made.

What we really need is an active Angel Investment community partnered with Incubation Companies. Those are the crucial set of people who can bridge the gaps between ideas and growth-stage companies. We also need a way to connect all the parties together in a virtual silicon valley-esque environment.

Other than that, though, I agree that without experience in the industry you want to operate in you will not be able to make much headway with your business.

Facebook comments:

2 Comments

  • Best TiE event so far in Pakistan. My first exposure to TiE, strangely.

    Arif Naqvi, Abraaj Capital, and Saquib Shirazi, Atlas Bank, were terrific. Everything else was average, sub average, or a best effort so kudos for that. In any case, some people, like Harpal Randhawa, made it over from different corners and gave locals a chance to network.

    However, as usual, its great icing but no cake. Entrepreneurs in Pakistan are looking for $10K to buy their first servers not $10M to go global. There is an abvious void from the ground up that doesn’t let startups get off the ground in the first place, so a lot of talk about ‘fostering entrepreneurship in Pakistan’, unfortunately, is just talk at the moment.

    All this basically means that there is huge potential for venture capital in Pakistan and someone from within this market is poised to make the most of it.

  • TiE is also going to organize a workshop in Islamabad by Mr. Naeem Zafar who is a successful entrepreneur and Professor at University of California Berkeley.
    For more Info Please visit
    http://tiepk.blogspot.com/

Leave a Reply


*

Recent Posts

  • Events General Mobile Apps Container Run a continuation of politically motivated apps

    Container Run a continuation of politically motivated apps

    First we had Angry Imran which brought smiles and some short lived fun for us during the election campaign. Then came Gullu Butt following the incident of Model Town Lahore, which stayed on top of charts (Pakistan play store) for quite some while. Also Gullu Butt made an update with having the famous “Aam Khaiyga” quote form Aamir Liaqat in which a character resembling Aamir Liaqt throws mangoes and the Gullu Butt character tries to catch them. Gullu butt currently has more than 100,000 Installs

    And now during this extremely politically tense situation which had the whole nation on its toes on 14th August we have another app continuing the …

    Read more →
  • Announcements Featured Startup General Meritaleem.com aims to help student make better decision regarding their future.

    Meritaleem.com aims to help student make better decision regarding their future.

    MeriTaleem.com aims to solve an age old problem for our students, where to go next?

    If you have just completed your primary school which college to pick, if you have completed your college which university to pick. There has always been lack of information or rather consolidated information regarding these questions. The best source till now has always been relatives and friends (mostly of your parents). So some uncle did CA and made a good living you should talk to him and decide, or daughter of my sister completed her medical and is practicing follow that career.

    The fact that online presence of our existing universities are limited and not …

    Read more →
  • General Mobile Apps Eccentria Technologies launches an app which shoots to the top of the charts

    Eccentria Technologies launches an app which shoots to the top of the charts

    Whoa!! this was quick so Eccentia technologies launched an app a few days ago called “Ajj Kia Pakaen” or what to cook today and today it has reached the top of charts for Pakistani Stores on iTunes and google play store.

    “Ajj Kia Pakaen” is the most common question asked at every house hold in the morning. The ladies of the family have a hard time deciding what to cook for the day. The app has a fun interface and is simple to use, you fire it up, and it gives you an option of what to cook for the day, if you like the option you can check the …

    Read more →
  • Coffee Session General Marketing/Adv Rise of facebook marketing in Pakistan

    Rise of facebook marketing in Pakistan

     

    Until a few years back we used to have closed groups and forums, which gathered the like minded people and anyone targeting the online audience would tap into that forum and market his/her services. So PakGamers , PakPassion initially even PakWheels used to be driven by members talking about what they loved, people used to create marketing and sales opportunities from within those discussions (so you could get a good router cheap or a gaming PC etc).
    The advent of facebook changed all that, most of the forum goers moved to the new social media. It also made a very attractive market place for some one who does not …

    Read more →
  • General Getting back

    Getting back

    I  have been out of blogging for a long long long time, a lot of things happening on personal front (including a little startup I have ben doing my self). However during my absence I met a lot of people who had followed GreenWhite at its peak, read the articles regularly.

    I had hope there would be some one else who would come ahead and cover everything going on and around us in the local tech world. There are some guys doing a great job, but for some reason I still could not find one source where I can go and read about everything, so my routine usually is to …

    Read more →
  • General Mobile Apps Software & I.T. GeniTeam launches official app for Pakistan Idol

    GeniTeam launches official app for Pakistan Idol

    GeniITeam has successfully launched an official app for PakistanIdol. This is one of the first collaboration between a reality game show and a local app development company. I am sure a lot more would follow. Previously we have seen seenreport becoming the basis of mostly all channels citizen reporting system (Like Geo Dost). This is a healthy sign and with the advent of 3G round the corner it should become a business generator for our local firms.

    App allows you to follow the contestants that you like, promote them, comment on live feedback on an episode. It offers official content from the show since it is developed with partnership with …

    Read more →
  • General 10Pearls and National Geographic Release A Geography Challenge App

    10Pearls and National Geographic Release A Geography Challenge App

    10Pearls, one of the leading Pakistani IT companies, has recently added another feather to its cap. This time, in partnership with National Geographic, 10Pearls has released the new and improved GeoBee Challenge App – an interactive app to challenge and grow the geographic knowledge of the users.

    Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The competition is designed to encourage geography in the classroom, ignite student interest in the world around them, and increase public awareness about geography. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test …

    Read more →
  • General 10Pearls Spins Off Game Plan8

    10Pearls Spins Off Game Plan8

    It’s heartening to see that Pakistani IT companies have now started to diversify themselves into non traditional areas, and are competing with global players in areas such as gaming. We have received information that 10Pearls, one of the leading  mobile and enterprise web development services companies in Pakistan, has spun-off a separate entity focused solely on developing and publishing casual mobile games.  The new entity, Game Plan8, will focus on creating 2D and 3D games for the iOS, Google Android, Kindle, Facebook and other platforms. Details can be seen on the company’s official press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11428177.htm

     …

    Read more →
  • General Telecom CCP Gives Guidelines Against Telecom Companies’ Deceptive Marketing

    CCP Gives Guidelines Against Telecom Companies’ Deceptive Marketing

    If only were there two things when it comes to the law, firstly the fear of breaking it and by passing the legal authority, and secondly, implementation of the law given full dedication, there would have been less competency and dishonesty in business and society. However, keeping good faith, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has put forward “Deceptive Marketing Guidelines” which will maintain the Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010. In order to enforce this part of the law and stop anti-competitive conduct on part of the telecom companies in advertising, the guidelines have been shared with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and other concerned telecommunication sector members, in …

    Read more →