The evening of Liveblogging with 70 entrepreneurs at the Vahzay office

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So I just got back into Islamabad and I thought I would write down a summary of the Startup Insiders Lahore event. I had asked a couple of people to fill in for me but I suppose they’ve had trouble putting their thoughts down.

So how do it go? Here’s the bullet-rundown:

  • 8 CEOs, 70 entrepreneurs, 6+ startups, and 2 live-bloggers showed up to make it a comfortable cozy evening.
  • The live-bloggers documented every thought and sneeze from the event but we didn’t have Wifi available, so I’m told they will be posting details of this later on their blogs.
  • ShopHive, GenITeam, Uraan, ByteSense, Krasys and The Blue Brain Project were the startups and interesting projects whose representatives showed up.
  • Two or Three products were pitched to investment during the coffee break. Too bad the pitches werent really good (I plan on writing up some tips on how to talk about your product later on)
  • Zia and Vahzay had some delicious food that represented the warm spirit of Lahore.
  • The panel got really passionate at times, disagreeing with each other as if their life depended on it.
  • Best Answer from the Event: Someone from China was telling me ‘if you have massive traffic jams in your country and the power goes out constantly, then youre a successful country’

I would have liked to see more participation from the audience in this event, who had hundreds of questions for everyone during the break but not many questions during the panel discussion itself.

Perhaps it was a misunderstanding and the audience was expecting us to be prepared with questions.

The turnout could easy have been double of this but remember this event was held right alongside teh LUMS Entrepreneurship Summit sponsored by Wateen and SCB with billboards all over Lahore. Considering that, its pretty amazing to see that everyone doing anything interesting in Lahore made it out to SI.

Next time, lets get more people and more questions ready for the next event in Lahore.

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Facebook comments:


  • Osama,

    Great event! By the way, how long does a startup stay startup? Or what makes a startup a proper company. Just curious to know your opinion. 😉

  • If your heart is young, do you ever grow old? I think being a startup is a mindset. As long as that mindset remains, you can never grow old…

  • I define the difference between a startup and an established company as follows:

    You’re a startup if in your operations you are still lacking one or more major parts, from access to liquidity, access to customers, access to legal support, access to product sourcing, access to distribution and brand equity.

    An established company has all of these areas covered, but a startup usually knows that it can not get one or more of them. It may have access to customers but not access to capital. It may have capital but no brand. etc.

    The art of the startup is the process of building capacity in each of those areas.

  • AoA,

    Startup insiders at Lahore was pretty good and I think it must go on. Like everything else, there’s always room for improvement, here are my thoughts:

    – Share the videos online! For those who can’t be at Lahore

    – I know that we are supposed to encourage students and younger folks for coming in the industry; but some of the questions were horrifically dumb. The very first question asked by the lady was something along the lines of “IT is not for consumers”, in this age of email, cellphones and googling; that question didn’t deserve the 5 mins given by 6 well respected CEOs. In the future, it would be a good idea if the moderator preempts and say “Yeah, thats a real cute question, we’ll get back to that if we have time at the end, along with the meaning of life.”

    -The CEOs invited on the panel must have a proven success record. The young generation wants Role Models, people they can look up to. Its very important that the person giving advice has the record to back it up. I think it would a be a good idea if the moderator could introduce each panelist and their success story rather than the panelist explaining themself (not everyone is comfortable being boastful). Startups that are successful should be on the panel.

    -It would be a good idea if you can involve the participants. I had a friend of mine who had a startup idea, he made a presentation and bought his laptop. He was expecting that different people would pitch their startup ideas. A good idea might be to invite any such pitches before the event (via a blog announcement) and then have them send their presentation for prescreening. Could be fun.

    -Finally, on a philosophical note, what is a startup? I agree with your definition; and to add to it, any company which does not have a life greater than 3 years is considered a startup (banks tell me that when we talk about financing). But its more than time, it also has to do with financial stability, profitability as well. I think ByteSense, Amaana, Rozee, CDF are all startups. Its subjective but I thought I’d through it out there :)

    On the whole, great work done Osama, its a pity we couldn’t meet Jahan Ara. We’re looking forward to the next session.

  • Osama i wanted to submit my company as a start up..but i cant find the right email address. Sent on two email adresses given on ur site and they failed…Can i please haf one…


  • Thanks Nash… good feedback!

    We’ll be doing startup pitches in upcoming ones – we want to focus on the art of pitching and other such things first, and try to pick and guide some startups closely to make sure that their 5-min pitch can be effective.

    I like your idea about introducing success stories – so far everyone we’ve gotten had a very unique story but we didnt introduce them, so will certainly keep it in mind next time.

  • Too bad I missed it because of some other commitments.

    On a side note, the LUMS entrepenuer crap was only for younger students from schools/colleges and had nothing to do with the undergrads/grads or for that matter people in the industry.

  • Interesting – why would they want to talk entrepreneurship with school / college guys?

    Not that startups cant happen at that age (remember the 13-yr old CEO?) but why have a 5-day event on it?

  • A commendable initiative, one of a kind. A balanced blend of people from various walks of life, presenting their views and sharing their experiences which led them to be a source of inspiration for many.

    It was a pleasant gathering where everyone participated candidly, where taboos were broken and myths were proven wrong. The most inspiring thing in my opinion were these entrepreneurs taking pride in what they have achieved over the years being Pakistanis and Muslims – fulfilling their dreams, achieving their goals and keeping themselves motivated despite of all the hurdles and frustration around – instilling faith in everyone that they can make a difference with a positive frame of mind and keeping focus on what matters to them the most.

    I would like to thank PASHA, GREEN & WHITE and VAHZAY for arranging such a gathering and making it a success. This should definitely become a monthly.

    Osama, please feel free to contact if you need any help for arranging similar sessions.

    Best Regards

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