PKStartup is a website that provides readers with “the ‘how’ behind startup success stories.” Cofounders Mubariz Hayat and Talha Aziz created the site to educate readers about the ins and outs of starting and running a successful business. Get a peek inside some of the top startups in Pakistan and learn how they operate.
PKStartup’s latest interview in March featured Lahore-based technology company, Confiz (PakWheels, KamataPakistan, Simplicant). Confiz and its associated companies provide unprecedented technology solutions for Pakistani businesses. CEO Muhammad Raza Saeed sat down to discuss his philosophy and struggles, and to give a bit of advice to other entrepreneurs.
Confiz has about 250 employees and serves high-profile clients like Microsoft and Intel. Associated is Simplicant, a cloud-based recruiting company; KamataPakistan, a marketplace that allows Pakistani businesses to hire talent for a variety of industries; and PakWheels, a platform for car buying and selling.
2. Caramel Tech Studios
Next up is Lahore-based gaming company, Caramel Tech Studios. Founded by brothers, Saad and Ammar Zaeem, CTS managed to bring in revenue within just a few months. One of the toughest struggles noted was finding quality team members. Many of those they recruited were already employed by established companies. Thus the founders had to convince candidates to take a risk on CTS. Saad believes brain drain and lingering negative perceptions of software development careers make recruiting more difficult.
Initially working with Tintash, another gaming startup interviewed by PKStartUp.com, Saad branched off to create a company that reflected his values and focused only on gaming. CTS was built with the intention to attract those who love technology, recruiting applicants that fit the culture and have technical skills.
3. Meri Taleem
Meri Taleem is an innovative startup that helps students access the information they need for college and career preparation. From college applications to post-graduate job decisions, the company supports students all along the way. Founder Usama Shahid Khan sat down and gave his story, from college graduation up to his current status with the company. Inspired by a Lean Startup Machine workshop, Khan immediately decided to try his luck as an entrepreneur. Because he was also the founder of Cloud9 Startups, a tech incubator, he was able to get funding for Meri Taleem.
The company aims to address the epidemic of uncertainty college students face. Khan discussed how many students choose fields simply because of pressure from family members. Thus the company also offers career counseling free of charge to students in several cities.
4. Conrad Labs
Conrad was the first startup interviewed by PKStartUp. They help new North American startup founders bring their ideas to life. Their business model differs from many other companies in that they are not a services company. Startups pay Conrad Labs through both cash and equity, which helps ensure new startups with limited funds can get the extensive help they need. While there is risk involved in this business model, CEO Abbas Yousafzai says this is what differentiates the company most. Conrad Labs carefully selects software engineers and pairs them with startups, handling product development.
Yousafzai talks about the challenges early on – having no mentorship in Pakistan, figuring out the legal side of a cash/equity model in the US, and acquiring the right software. Although intimidating, he notes that these initial challenges were not quite as complicated as they originally seemed.
As Pakistan continues to grow its resources for entrepreneurship and business development, information hubs like PKStartUp can prove incredibly useful. Whether you run a flourishing startup or know someone who does, PKStartup welcomes submissions for interview consideration.