One of the things I’d like us to stop in the industry – especially people from Isb – is to think that Islamabad doesn’t have any innovation, action, excitement, or life. The “dull city” cliche was proven wrong last night by the 110+ people that convened in LMKR to talk Startup at the Startup Insiders event in the city.
The attendees list consisted of 9 odd CEOs, 4 people who’ve been there, done it and had a lifes worth of experiences to share, 3 private investors, 1 representative of the US-Aid / Competitiveness Support Fund, 4 other young leaders who are not only running successful firms but also volunteering their time to help the industry, and 90 odd sharp entrepreneurs not willing to take text-book answers on face value.
LMKR was a phenomenal host – they had everything from visitor registration, security, fire exits, coffee and brownies, professional photography and video, seating and branding figured out and practiced to perfection.
- Atif Khan – CEO LMKR – He must have heard atleast 8 product pitches during the event
- Ovais Ashraf – Director, Bentley Systems –
- Saeed Qadri – Director, Voxel Communications
- Mr. Arshad Ali – NIIT
- (More) – will fill this up later but I really have to rush to finish this post
Here is a brief highlight of the event – pictures and more to follow in later posts:
– There were atleast 15 startups there with 40-man teams that I had not heard of before, and were doing amazing work. We had people working on optimizing Clustering Engines, a “2.0” online database venture like DabbleDB, building video application platforms, basecamp competitors, action video games, viral facebook applications, making businesses out of Open Source work or free information websites, and more.
– Atleast two of these startups had just recently raised Angel and Series-A investments and were doing their thing very well
– I met 3 other young guys who were also working to do their part for the industry – particularly Faisal Butt working on starting TIE Islamabad, and the Zigron folks building a video package of startups to present to VCs.
– Best Question from the event: How much of the rules of the trade / entrepreneurship change when moving from traditional brick-and-mortar business models to models working on the e-economy – e.g. how would you monetize a blog? In what ways can we market our product on the traditional media – what type of access can we get?
– Best Answer from the event: Stop talking about Steve Jobs and Guy Kawasaki – we have plenty of successful innovative marketing case studies in this country like Lado Soap and Telefun.
– Things that were missed at the event: Jawwad’s “bleep bleep bleep” rant; Faisal Qureshi’s 9 steps to success
– Things that Faisal and Jehan missed: Brownies. The LMKR management said they only reveal the source of those brownies to employees who’ve worked with them for a few years.
– Highlight of the Event: Many. For me: the fact that we have sponsors for the next 6 months of SI events in Islamabad; that the SI logo was plastered all across one wall of the room; that I was able to find so many fans from within Islamabad; that I was able to see other people giving back to our industry in interesting ways as well.
I’m running late to head out for Lahore so will add more details in time.
But a country where we find people who’ve stopped sitting around waiting for someone else to solve their problems – where you can look across a room at the young future leaders of the industry and think “yes, we’re in good hands”, where we fine a large group of people willing to defeat conventional thinking and think about how to make the world a better place…. that industry and country still has hope.
Thanks for everyone who came down and made the event memorable – again more details to follow
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