021 Disrupt: Where innovators guide Pakistan’s future  

November 5, 2017
Published in SCI-TECH

KARACHI: Technology incubator The Nest I/O kicked off its two-day conference “021 Disrupt” at Karachi’s Movenpick Hotel on Saturday.

Local and international innovators in the field of entrepreneurship, media, marketing and technology are giving their advices and sharing their experiences in their respective fields to the Pakistani community.

Jehan Ara, President of P@SHA & The Big Bird at The Nest I/O, kicked off the event and US Consul General Grace Shelton gave the welcome speech.

The event had a maximum attendance of 650 persons from over 200 startups, professionals, influencers and students who listened to 60 speakers, including 14 international speakers who were the experts in their fields.

For the first time in Pakistan an Investor Roundtable was held with more than 35 investors who shared insights and explored possibilities of investment and collaboration at various levels.

These very international investors have previously invested in global household names such as Careem, Udemy, Behance, Canva and Stripe to name a few. Some of the leading international investors that participated in the Conference included Bakery (which is part of the Abraaj Group), Wamda Capital, Golden Gate Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners, the Oman Technology Fund & Wadi Accelerator, Sarmayacar and 500 Startups. . Apart from international investors, sixteen institutional investors from Pakistan also attended to search for investable startups and be a part of the discourse.

Partner of Wamda Capital Fares Ghandour, speaking in the session named “The Entrepreneur Investment Connection”, said that a portion of $200 million dollars investment will be for Pakistan.

He also said that advertiser have to play their role and meet the foreign companies which are willing to invest in Pakistan. He added that the role of ecosystem and local market is vital in this regard.

Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invest2Innovate Kalsoom Lakhani said that business startups in Pakistan fail due to lack of capital, teamwork, regulatory issues and the ecosystems.

Khurram Zafar, Country Director of 47 Ventures, stated that there are tons of challenges for investment in Pakistan such as regulations, taxes and constraints.

Ghandour went on to say that new technology is destructive because of the way it is being used. He added that the pioneers of digital media were adult websites.

The panel for the session urged the entrepreneurs sitting in the audience to be flexible, realist, have knowledge about your client, talkative to people, stubborn but open, travel to get inspiration and stay close to founders.

The next session of the day was “The Nuts and Bolt of Digital Innovation & Transformation – Part Science, Part Art and Part Fiction” and the speaker was the Managing Director of Interlink Multi Media (Jang Group) Faizan Siddiqi.

The speaker started his session with an experiment. He told the audience to stand up and fold their arms. Everyone managed to do so. He then told them to do it the other way around (meaning those who had their left arms under their right had to put their right arms over the left) and several of the audience members couldn’t do it. He went on to say that it would take 250 times to get a difficult task done right.

Siddiqi said that human beings lack of thinking because they have always told what to do. He also introduced the term “Filter Bubbles”.

He added that humans are limited by their own ability and success.

After lunch, the session named “Build To Dominate: Hyperscaling your Startup by CEO and Founder of Naseeb Networks (Rozee.Pk) Monis Rehman was held.

Rehman said that hyperscaling is of vital importance as market in Pakistan is booming.

He also said that Pakistan’s is fifth largest country in the world in terms of population. He added that large number of the popular have access to motorcycle, smartphones and National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) cards. He went on to say that E-commerce in the South Asian country is booming as well.

Rehman added that Pakistan is the fastest growing retail market and the middle class is growing as it has increased four times in six years.

He added that opportunities to hyperscale startups will evaporate quickly so entrepreneurs will have to capitalize. He also said that the large companies will suck the oxygen from the system.

He also shared five key insights for hyperscaling the business.

  1. Model must be scale friendly.
  2. The technology must be engineered so is is scaled with growth from the beginning.
  3. Handicraft core experience and serve customers one by one.
  4. Get early entrance into the market with imperfect product.
  5. Be as skilled in breaking plans as you are in making them: pivot quickly, have insufficient number of plans.

After Rehman’s session, Chief Innovation and Financial Inclusion Officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Abrar Mir spoke on the session named “Disruptive Finserve – Survive of the most Innovative”.

Mir added that the banking industry is re-thinking its business model. He went on to say that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is looking forward and we should be cooperative.

He added that it is important for startups to identify problems which can be solved. He added that the challenges include Data (personal and financial), availing it for meaningful use, use of behavioral biometrics.

Mir denied that the branches are the future of banking as there is a population problem in Pakistan.

Video Content Strategist Salma Jafri spoke in the session named “Business is Personal”.

In the session, Jafri said that the name of the game in business if to gain attention. This can be achieved by making sure that our product is share.

She defined the term business empathy as viewing something from customer’s perspective. She added that consumers are actively seeking for good content today to make their own lives better. She further said that people don’t care about who they don’t know.

She said that there are three types of empathies.

  1. Cognitive Empathy: Appeals to customer’s morals.
  2. Emotional Empathy: Appeals to the customer’s emotions.
  3. Compassionate Empathy: Appeals to the customer’s sense of what is right and wrong.

Next was a panel discussion named “The Battle for Eyeballs” and featured Chief Digital Strategist and Editor of Dawn.com Jahanzeb Haque, News Editor of Express Tribune Erum Sheikh, Co-Founder of Patari Music Humayun Haroon, Managing Director of Parhlo.com Faiza Zafar and Author of Mangobaaz Ali Gul as the panelist and the conversation was moderated by Chief Editor of The New Spaces Rabia Garib.

Defining newsworthy, Haque said that it was something which depends entirely on the audience they are catering to while Sheikh said that the definition of news has changed as the mentality of newsroom and audience differs.

Haroon stated that whatever hits the audience’s heart is content worthy and good stories resonate with the reader.  Zafar stated that anything which interests audience and gets their feedback is new worthy while Gul said whatever is relevant, balanced for communities and helps to understand the behavior of the audience.

Haque further stated that 60% of the people don’t care about breaking news. Panelists stated that they don’t prefer banner ads on website.

Haque further stated that they try to retain to their audience through the type of their brand while Gul stated that readers go for their relevance .

Gul further stated that that videos will be future of media and journalism as value of content is decreasing. He added that the strategy for making videos should be strong.

Zafar added that the audience for English news and Urdu news is very much different.

Gul, answering a question regarding clickbait news, asked the audience to avoid such content posted on social media.

Zafar stated that the news agencies have to be flexible on their editorial policies while Sheikh said that change in situation will lead to innovation in the media field.

Chief Executive Officer of Arbisoft Private Limited Yasser Bashir was the keynote speaker for the session named “How Technology is transforming learning”.

Bashir said that there are six As of technology impacting learning.

  • Access(ibility)
  • Analytics
  • Adaptability
  • Acceptance
  • Affordability
  • Association

He said that access to information and knowledge is increasing at a rapid pace whereas the accessibility is making hard content easy to learn.

Bashir further stated that the analytics the collected information helps us to answer question and allows us to adapt as well. He added that technology has brought credibility through different ways.

Speaking on affordability, he spoke on how people could get enrolled in the Nanodegree Program at low costs at Georgia Tech University and 75,000 scholarships are being given to students for online degrees in Europe.

The second last session of the day was “Don’t Make Ads – Make News” by Regional Creative Director of Impact BBDO Ali Rez.

In the session, Rez stated that the word in advertisement is to spread to word.

Rez stated that that whenever humans online, they are attracted to towards what resonates them and what governs us.

He stated that advertisements influence the human mind and showed several video clips which created furore in the whole world.

Rez showed a report about a child killed in a drone strike in Pakistan. The attacks are usually not reported in Pakistan but one report named #NotABugSplat went viral after it was shown on television.

The last session of the day was named “Investing in the Future” by Turkish venture partner Ennis Hulli.

Hulli described his experience of investing in different regions of the world.

He said that Pakistan is a tremendous market for foreign investment due to its booming commerce amd entrepreneurship.

The Turkish businessman further stated that mafias carry out their transactions through online payment system Paypal. He added that the online money transaction systems has led to the creation of many companies such as YouTube.

Top trends on Twitter

#021Disrupt is one of the top trends on social media website Twitter.

For the first time in Pakistan an Investor Roundtable was held with more than 35 investors who shared insights and explored possibilities of investment and collaboration at various levels.


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Story first published: 5th November 2017

 
 

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