Written by

Usman Ali Awan

Usman Ali Awan is a writer and an e-commerce enthusiast who has published works present on more than eight platforms in Pakistan and UAE. Some renowned names include Daily Times, Naya Daur, Startup Insider and Khaleej Mag. He amalgamates his love for philosophy, poetry and arts with modern sciences to create a unique style portraying knowledge in totality rather than in divisions. He is a student of Faiez Hassan Seyal.


5 Ultimate Rules of Entrepreneurship from a VC’s Handbook

Answer is death to knowledge. I wonder how someone can improve his/her life if he/she has all the answers. Questions are what we naturally inquisitive beings possess, questions are what intrigue us, questions are what I possess and questions are what wake me up in the morning.  Questions are generated from curiosity, which is the first and foremost trait of an entrepreneur. Curiosity leads to observations, observations lead to inspiration, and inspiration leads to innovation that changes the world. 

The curiosity of questions have little or no impact if they are asked from the wrong person. Learning from the experts and from the best of the best is what broadens our intellectual, emotional and spiritual heights in life. 

When you admire someone, someone who is great at what they do, you observe them carefully and strive to be like them. The individual that this write will highlight is a member of my mastermind alliance who recently allowed me to discuss strategic decisions of my business with him. I recently had a chance to talk to Mr. Naeem Zamindar-one of the most lauded VC’s and entrepreneurs of Pakistan-who is working towards ‘building the next generation of companies to improve lives of every Pakistan’. 

Who is Naeem Zamindar?

Naeem Zamindar is the co-founder of Neem Exponential, a venture capital fund aimed at funding entrepreneurial companies in Pakistan. Naeem has rich industry experience in finance and technology start-ups. Naeem has served as a Chairman of Pakistan Board of Investment, Country Director of Acumen Fund, CEO of Wateen, and previously CSO for Mobilink.

Here are the 5 most integral lessons of entrepreneurship that I learned from Naeem Zamindar.

  • Have A Vision

Naeem Zamindar is a man who has a clear vision of the start-up ecosystem in Pakistan and its evolution. He believes that as the entrepreneurship culture improves, so will the success rate of new-age companies. He believes that venture capitalism has the power to improve the start-up climate in Pakistan by providing entrepreneurs a stronger support structure and exposing them to new ideas, customers, partners, and mentors and that is one of the many visions that his recent venture ‘Neem Exponential’ seeks to fulfill.  

  • Start Taking Risks

Risks should be encouraged in the early years when you can afford the losses and not have to worry about your entire life. Losses are in fact the best teachers who are kind enough to leave a lesson, success on the other hand teaches you nothing. Starting with the risk-taking attitude is not natural to everyone. In fact, only a few people in this world are naturally risk-takers, but you can change yourself and learn to be one by simply changing your belief system. I asked this very question during my meeting and this is what he had to say about it. “The key is to clear your mind before taking any crucial decision”. How can we clear our mind? You might wonder, we’ll talk about that later. “Let your heart take the final decision and take risks” says Naeem further about decision-making. Listening to his heart is what made Naeem a courageous leader when he in the spirit of serving Pakistan took over the seat of the Chairman of Board of Investment and left the rewarding position at Acumen Fund. This wasn’t the only time Naeem made a bold decision. During his student life at the University of Texas in 1989, Naeem was an aspiring entrepreneur who used to sell leather-crafted products (that he imported from Pakistan) to finance his education and hence marked the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey.

  • Travel

It is important for entrepreneurs to travel and explore because it will help them understand how the world works and why. Travelling opens your eyes to different cultures and reminds you that you can fit in anywhere on this planet if you apply yourself. Travelling teaches you a lot about understanding people’s values, beliefs and their work ethics. Travelling helps you expand your imagination and opens a global dimension to your existing horizons. Naeem has always loved travelling and backpacking, he believes it enhances you holistically. He has worked in the city life of San Francisco to the farms in Italy, gaining a 360 degree experience of different cultures. 

  • Learn From The Best

Probably, the only similarity between myself and Mr. Naeem Zamindar is that we crave to learn from the best. After nearly a decade of split-testing (and almost creating a Facebook-like platform), Naeem moved to Silicon Valley to learn the processes and theory from the industry experts. He defines Silicon Valley as “the heart of the entrepreneurial revolution” and that is where he worked for four and a half years and had a chance to invest in twenty-two companies. Naeem is excited about the technological change that the world is facing and he is optimistic about the possibilities and doors it will open for the people of Pakistan. 

  • Have The Right Mindset And Think BIG! 

Laura M. Holson of the New York Times says:

“To be an entrepreneur, you should have the right mindset (no matter how many failures you had). Entrepreneurs are people who signed up for this life long ago, even if they didn’t know it at the time. It’s all about control—not power or money, but something deeper than that.” 

Naeem has been teaching the Art of Living (Mindfulness for Success to be exact) and in fact, he taught for an entire year working as a full-time teacher before moving back to Silicon Valley. Naeem believes meditation enriches and broadens the heights of one’s mind and it results in thinking big. Meditation empowers you to perform beyond limits and by meditating you do not only empower yourself but carry a cloud of positive energy that uplifts individuals around you. 

Naeem Zamindar is leading a positive mental revolution whose mission is to spread positivity, carry a larger-than-life mindset, possess powerful energy and to smile like a Sufi. Among all traits, he is the best at mastering the last one.