Challenge X Pakistan 2014 is underway at Kuch Khaas, Islamabad. We’re going to update you throughout the event, as 16 startups pitch for a chance to qualify for Challenge X Bangalore, and go on to compete in Challenge Cup in Washington D.C. and win $150,000 investment.
Challenge X Pakistan is a startup competition aimed at finding the most promising startups in the fields of education, energy, health and mobility. It is organized by Invest2Innovate, as local partners of 1776dc. It is a regional event under the Challenge Cup umbrella, which is held in D.C.
The winners from Pakistan will be sent to Mumbai to compete in the regional competition and then on to the final Challenge Cup in Washington D.C. in May 2015, where they can win up to $650,000 in prizes and one startup ultimately win the Challenge Cup and a $150,000 investment in the form of a convertible note.
Format for Challenge X Pakistan
There are a total of two rounds.
- Every startup gives a 1-minute pitch.
- For the 1-minute pitch, you are allowed to have only 1 slide and the breakdown of your pitch should be:
- who are you?
- what’s the problem
- what’s the solution
- how are you different?
- Both finalists from each category give their 5-minute pitch followed by 3 minutes of Q/A by judges.
- For the 5-minute pitch, you can use as many slides and the breakdown of your pitch should be:
- Opportunity (Market Size, etc.)
- Business Model
Adnan Shahid, CCO PTCL
The Startups Competing in Challenge X Round 1
Here is a brief overview of the 1-minute pitches from the startups that were present.
Plagiarism Checker X: They want to provide a reliable tool for plagiarism checking without compromising customer data, as other plagiarism checkers do.
3Restart: They focus on gamifying education. Proving games for children that will track their learning and progress. They focus on memory and retention. They use game dynamics to encourage positive behaviour in education.
Smack Factory: Did not show
MeriTaleem: MeriTaleem is a web portal that provides students with information about higher education, helping them make better decisions about their future.
EdGnome: User-friendly and accessible web-based platform for K-12 grade schools. It’s the first of its kind in Pakistan. It will simplify school administration, teacher course delivery, enhance student learning and increase parental involvement.
ThePeshawar: They want to provide real time educational information via a centralized hub accessible to students.
BookWorm Inc: Service provider for every book reader. They want to provide low-cost access to books with a swapping feature supported with a GPS enabled app. They want to also provide reading lounges, as well as rewards for ordering books through BookWorm.
Wescorporation: Did not show
XGear: Did not show
EcoEnergy: EcoEnergy tackles the energy crisis in Pakistan. They make reliable and affordable solar energy products available through their network of 500 staff members, providing financing options as well.
Disrupt Systems: They are a healthcare data company. They generate analytic and statistical data they gather from pharmacies and hospitals. They want to digitize the healthcare system.
Rganix IT: They have made an online system where doctors can enter their clinic hours, allowing patients to book appointments online. This allows doctors to track patient appointments, and for patients to reduce the amount of time they have to spend waiting in waiting rooms.
e-NovatRx: It’s a technology that provides cashless e-prescriptions and medical reimbursements.
DoctHERs: They want to connect qualified female doctors to marginalized populations via a video consultation.
Lithohomatic: Their product makes urinary stone treatment cheaper, safer and smarter than conventional treatments available in Pakistan.
Health One: They want to establish a nationwide chain of neighborhood-based primary clinics which provide a global standard of care at affordable prices. These will have lab testing, pharmacy and consultants at the same clinic.
Brain Master: They have developed an inexpensive prosthetic hand controlled by EEG. They are the only company in Pakistan providing a brain controlled prosthetic.
Active Shehri: They want to provide an online collaboration platform where citizens can connect with the government. They want to list all the processes which citizens need to go through, for example, how to get a CNIC.
CYKIQ: Designed an automated bike-hiring system, allowing people to rent bicycles.
Appify Food Hub: They have developed a food delivery system, with security codes as well as tracking for orders.
Rehnuma: Did not show
Travly: They want to tackle the lack of information in the public transportation niche. Travly offers route planners, information about nearest bus stops and estimated time of arrivals.
Startups Shortlisted for Round 2
The judges chose two startups from each category for Round 2. Five minutes of pitching followed by a Q&A, after which the judges will choose 1 startup from each category to go to Challenge X Bangalore.
1. BookWorm Inc
They want to reduce the cost of books, and have made a mobile app which allows people to swap books for free. People will get real time rewards for reading. They also have an e-commerce store.
Register for free and upload unlimited books. Browse books in your area, and swap books. You can swap books with friends and strangers (by dropping books at a BookWorm drop point).
They hope to provide 80% savings on books. They will also focus on e-books, plus act as a central bank for books and help control publishing pricing for books. The target market is everyone with a smartphone in Pakistan, including parents, students and other people, starting with Pakistan and eventually expanding abroad.
3Restart has been covered here on PakWired before, and you can read a full review of the startup here. They want to individualize learning for each child, allowing for flexible schedules of learning. The app provides real time data, allows for adaptive learning and provides information on what the child needs help in. With better data they can allow for mass customization.
They hope to improve learning capabilities by making learning fun and interesting. The app has a keyboard but they can also write on the tablet, improving motor skills. They operate on a freemium model. Currently they plan to target kindergarten to grade 6 and have this be an addition to school work, not mainstreamed into a school curriculum.
65 million people in Pakistan do not have access to electricity. However these people need electricity for their kids to study, to charge phones and other needs. They buy poor quality products as well as batteries and spend a lot of money on these products, sometimes as much as 20% of their income on this. Solar products are available but don’t meet their needs. There is no service and support, plus they are expensive. NGOs that distribute products are funded by donors and have limited reach.
EcoEnergy partners open hubs in villages and give demos. They offer solar products on monthly installment plans, as well as mobile charging facilities. This reduces the cost of access to energy down to 5%. They provide warranties, service as well as access to more products. They have 500 retailers and hubs across Sindh.
You can read an extensive review of EcoEnergy here.
4. Disrupt Systems
They want to revolutionize how data is used through their app. They want to digitize all drugs available in Pakistan (all side effects, generic names, drug interactions) allowing people to access this data and use algorithms to find cheaper (generic) alternatives. The service will also bring pharmacies online, as well as track hospital and clinic data feeds. Enterprise Salesforce solutions will help pharmacies function better as well as provide information on where a drug might be available near a customer. The app will download all the data so you don’t need to have Internet access.
5. Health One
They want to provide a nationwide healthcare brand providing high quality services at low cost prices. Their clinics will operate in high-density, low-income neighborhoods. Currently they are focusing on Diabetes Management, but also providing treatment for other illnesses. Each clinic has one doctor and nurse. They have a basic lab, and pharmacy. This allows patients to get basic healthcare from just one visit to their local Health One clinic. They are currently also focusing on creating awareness about diabetes.
Female doctors have trouble practicing in Pakistan, which is where the idea for DoctHERs came from. 90% of the rural female population has no access to quality healthcare, so DoctHERs connects these rural areas with the female doctors who want to practice medicine. One the patient’s end, a nurse carries out the examination. They provide payment solutions through Easy Paisa. Door to door marketing will be carried out in rural areas to introduce the concept. They are working on a mobile app as well as a web platform.
Currently we have lack of information in the public transportation field. Not knowing when buses will arrive, what the cost is and what the route will be. 1.5 million people still use public transportation every day in Pakistan, and there are many more people who don’t use public transport because of the issues mentioned earlier.
Travly is an app that provides public transport routes, allowing you to figure out which bus to take where. They have information of 1000+ bus stops and covers 35 cities all over the country, providing not just local but also routes between cities. They will also launch a web portal and an SMS service.
8. Active Shehri
They have identified three issues citizens face:
- Connectivity, so they will connect people who want help (money, guidance) with those who can provide it.
- Governance, which they will tackle by providing a place to citizens where they can get connect with local government.
- Lack of awareness, which they will solve by providing information on government processes like getting a CNIC.
One startup was chosen in each category, and will travel to Bangalore to participate in Challenge X there. The winners are:
- Health: Health One
- Energy: EcoEnergy
- Education: 3Restart
- Cities: Travly