The second semester of Founder Institute Islamabad has successfully graduated. The graduation ceremony for the current cohort was held at the National Incubation Center, a joint enterprise of Teamup and Jazz, funded by the National ICT R&D Fund.
FI started its operations in Islamabad in 2015 and the first cohort graduated in 2016. What started with 17 entrepreneurs testing their mettle as entrepreneurs, has concluded with 5 entrepreneurs representing 5 startups graduating from the 4 month program.
This short ceremony was opened by Sayyed Ahmad Masud, one of the three co-directors at Founders Institute Islamabad.
Talking about his experience, the president of the second batch, Omar Usman Uppal identified helping young aspiring entrepreneurs to test and validate the ideas in the market as the most valuable contribution FI made to the graduates. He also briefly described the startup ideas of his fellow graduates.
Mr. Yusuf Hussain, CEO ICT R&D Fund took the stage to talk about the funding opportunities available from the ICT R&D fund. He also talked about the fourth industrial wave: Robotics, implantables, blockchain, etc. and how we’re set to witness drastic changes in our lives in just the next few years.
Mr. Irfan Wahab Khan, co-director at Founder Institute Islamabad and CEO Telenor Pakistan talked about the revolutions occurring not just in Pakistan but globally. He stressed that to be successful, one should be on a mission to make a difference is the customer’s life and not be limited to maximizing revenue / profit.
Mr. Parvez Abbasi, Project Director at the National Incubation Center shared NIC’s goal to connect the new generation blessed with creativity but constrained by connections & experience, with a more mature cadre of experienced professionals who have the experience and knowledge to make scale ventures.
Shahryar Hydri, expressed satisfaction with the rapid development of the local startup ecosystem. He advised the new graduates to aim high, work together, and most importantly, experiment.
Humanyun Mazhar, CEO at CresVentures, expressed his view that the local startup ecosystem is in the early stage startups generally lacking domain knowledge and focusing on ‘fluff’. He warned that the startup world is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to emerge successfully from graveyards filled with doomed startups. The graduates must be prepared to fail, learn from it and move on.
The ceremony ended with the distribution of certificates to the graduating class. Following is the list of the successfully graduating companies and their founders:
GharAsaan is a marketplace that connects house builders with prospective house owners looking to build their own house. It also connects every stakeholder connected to the whole home construction value chain (contractors, material suppliers etc.) and makes all relevant information readily available on the website. It also provides prospective customers with an easy-to-use calculator that can let them estimate how much a project may cost by inputting some basic info. GharAsaan is starting off by connecting prospective house owners and builders, but intend to monetize by providing premium monitoring and escrow services within a year.
CodeGini is a quick prototyping tool for database applications that can churn out Web, iPhone, and Android applications within minutes by literally just pressing a button (after inputting the data models as an Excel files or defining it via their drag-and-drop interface). Such a tool would potentially be invaluable to startups wanting to create an MVP within a couple of days, or for software houses to create a quick and dirty demo for a client.
Retailiacs is a mobile–first POS system. POS systems have been around for decades now, but there’s been little innovation to write home about. Retailiacs is a POS that even a small shop owner can afford, because he / she can run it off of the mobile they already own. They don’t need to buy a PC, a screen and a UPS machine for backup. It can send the receipts to the customer by SMS / email and doesn’t need a data plan to operate (the shop owner can sync it to the cloud once a day over his / her home wifi if available).
PakTrips is a travel experience sharing platform with a community twist. The platform will help travelers plan better experiences inside the country with access to relevant information and experiences shared by fellow travelers. PakTrips will also help domestic tourists to more easily discover and compare travel packages offered by travel agencies throughout the country.
T-Admen is the company behind Mobiup – an application that brings your android mobile lock screen to life by turning it into a media publishing platform. The user can interact with personalized content and advertisement generated from their interests, location, and behavior. The user is additionally rewarded with Mobi-points which can be redeemed for mobile credits, in additional to additional incentives offered by advertisers on the platform.