TechDrive with Aqsa & Imran: Landscaping E-Commerce in Pakistan with Badar Khushnood

Pakistan’s e-commerce industry has seen tremendous growth in the last one year, and now more and more people are inclined towards learning the drill of setting up their businesses online and leveraging the power of digital and e-commerce.

Some of the key factors that have contributed to this growth include 3G/4G penetration and data connectivity, Pakistan’s growing startup and investment ecosystem, the boom in logistics and supply chain management, and an increasing number of mobile wallets.

A lot of work that has been put into establishing the foundation for this ecosystem is credited to people who have tirelessly worked on multiple facets of e-commerce for the industry to be where it’s at today.

In this episode, hosts Imran Khan & Aqsa Tariq take a drive with Badar as he recounts his journey into the world of electronic commerce. This includes legislation and policy work, especially with the Ministry of Commerce, and his contribution via the National E-Commerce Council, working with regulators, as well as his involvement in developing the whole ecosystem around it.

Badar is the Co-Founder of Fishry, an end-to-end solution for e-commerce management and one of the early birds as a solution provider. He has held positions at ASUS, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. At Google, he worked extensively to develop the current social media and mapups ecosystem, and was also one of the founding ideators with Salaina Haroon, Producer TechDrive, for the very well received Pakistan Blog Awards back in 2010 and 2011.

Badar Khushnood has been working with [email protected] wearing different hats for over a decade. Currently, he holds the position as Central Executive Committee (CEC) Member, [email protected] (Pakistan Software Houses Association), and also holds the Chair of the E-Commerce Sub-Committee at [email protected]

From Alibaba to Amazon

2001-2003, Badar was employed by SMEDA (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority), where his work involved strategic and operational global partnerships. This was 20 years ago, when SMEDA signed a partnership with Alibaba at the time. And here we are two decades later, celebrating Pakistan’s listing on Amazon.

As the podcast hosts prod into the emergence of the e-commerce industry and mapping important milestones from the last two decades, Badar shares:

“The regulators have been progressive, and that has allowed us as an industry to make strides. The State Bank of Pakistan approved a cross-border export framework where I was involved in the consultation, and between March to December 2020, the entire process of the framework was completed.”

“In this trial and experimental phase from December 2020 to now (June 2021), we have already accounted for 350+ transactions worth more than $2.5 million. This is all without any formal awareness campaigns in place yet, so we’re looking at a tremendous trajectory for micro exports from Pakistan,” he adds.

Badar has also been a staunch supporter of Pakistan’s growing startup ecosystem, and was one of the key players involved in the launch of Pakistan’s first private technology incubator, The Nest I/O. Through his mentorship, global experience, and marketing insights and knowledge, he has added great value to the industry. But there’s no stopping Badar now.

Building onto this, he is now the curator of the graduate program at LUMS. The hybrid graduate degree program is a Masters in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (MSTME) at the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB).  Talking about taking the lead on the academia front, he shares:

“With the power of digital, people have a strong sense of urgency of going to market quickly. And that is why the LUMS degree program we have designed is to cater to the fast-paced digital world, where entrepreneurs can brush up their skills and get up to date with cutting-edge digital technologies and trends of the time and speed up the time to go live. The first batch of 35 students is ready to graduate this winter.”

Catch Imran & Aqsa in conversation with Badar Khushnood for great insights into the e-commerce landscape in Pakistan. Head on over to the TechDrive website to listen to Episode 4 here.

About TechDrive

This podcast is produced by Salaina Haroon, jointly hosted by Aqsa Tariq & Imran Khan, and presented by CXO Media & RapidCompute. Together, they are breaking through the technology jargon, talking to industry veterans and innovators, and showcasing the Pakistani IT industry.

These are off-the-cuff conversations where you listen and learn about real life, real innovations from real people in the Pakistani technology industry.