If the aim of Pakistan’s entrepreneurs is to portray the country in a positive light, bristling with talent, ideas and smart execution, then they are certainly on the right path. From media mentions to improving lives, Pakistan’s new breed of entrepreneurs and the startups they have founded showcase the talent bursting from the seams of a country mired in socio-political unrest.
Here then are our picks for the top 5 startups from Pakistan:
A multiplatform social network enterprise app, Convo offers teams the ability to work in a media-rich virtual environment. It’s a bit like Facebook but apparently much more productive. It was started in 2005 in Islamabad as Scrybe and was later renamed Convo. A five-member team worked out of a small room to make a global impact on the way collaborative software was perceived.
The company recently attracted a $5 million investment from a top tier venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Currently, Convo’s market position cannot be determined as financial data is yet undisclosed. However, the firm claims to have a customer base of 6,000 in over 150 countries and a usage footprint of around 10% of Fortune 500 companies.
Vivid by Appography
Touted as “the only Pakistani startup to have secured seed funding from UK investors”, the founders of Appography have also been selected to participate in Blackbox Connect – a 2 week immersion program in Silicon Valley for non-US startups.
Vivid is an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) alternate which aims to transform the long and sometimes frustrating on-hold times and queues during calls into a more meaningful visual experience. Vivid cuts short the typical IVR prompts by opening up a visual navigational tree. This allows the person on-hold to have a more interactive experience in getting the help they need while simultaneously avoiding long wait times on the phone.
Appography’s philosophy is to transform the intersection of arts and technology into meaningful consumer products – and it seems well on its way with its first product!
Groopic by Eyedeus
Groopic is a clever little app that allows the photographer to be in the photograph as well. Winning the best startup award at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where the idea was conceived, Groopic was incubated by Plan9. It is a graduate of Google’s BlackBox Connect program.
Groopic is a handy little photo app designed to incorporate the entire group of people into a picture. The person taking the shot has traditionally always joked about being “photoshopped in” at a later date. Well, no longer! With Groopic, you take two pictures – alternating between two people holding the camera. The app seamlessly integrates the two different pics into one picture showing all the group participants.
Eyedeus Labs, the company behind Groopic, is a specialist in developing computer vision technologies for smartphones.
EatOye is a food delivery service operating in 8 Pakistani cities. Starting off as an eating out guide in 2011, it currently has over 700 restaurants and local stores in its directory of providers. They cover major chains such as KFC, Subway and Domino’s.
Going a step further than other similar sites, they also offer a restaurant reservation option. It’s free for users and generates revenue by charging a transaction fee from eating establishments for each delivery. Orders can also be placed by phone and confirmations are sent via SMS. Payment for the order is made upon delivery.
EatOye faces some stiff competition from the financial might of its direct competitor, FoodPanda, a Rocket Internet venture. But for now, it seems that EatOye is holding its own in the popular and fast-growing food delivery niche in Pakistan.
Popinjay – a fashion startup – brings together a heartwarming story of the craftsmanship of artisan women from Pakistan’s Punjab region to sew beautiful and fashionable handbags. The project, the brainchild of entrepreneur Saba Gul, is funded by startup incubator Invest to Innovate.
The handbags are produced locally, with the highlight being the historical art-inspired embroidery of the Punjabi women. Popinjay’s products have been featured on Vogue, NBC, and CNN and Al Jazeera America.
With a strong PR and media team and a blend of talented designers, this startup seems poised to introduce the rest of the world to Pakistani fashion.
Now that we’ve posted our top favorites, it’s your turn. Take a moment and tell us which startups you think deserve a top spot in Pakistan and why.