This year, 13 young entrepreneurs from 11 different Startups have graduated from Founder Institute Islamabad with sponsorship from Telenor Pakistan. The sponsorship included mentorship and financial assistance. Graduating founders, chosen out of a total of 128 eligible applicants, have created tech startups that will be innovatively addressing economic and social problems, reducing market distortions, and creating jobs.
Founder Institute started its first ever semester in Pakistan from Karachi last year and in November 2015 the inaugural semester of The Founder Institute Islamabad was launched. The program saw 567 candidates attending its exploratory seminars, and 128 founders taking the proprietary Predictive Assessment Test and applying to join. After assessment, 28 founders were enrolled, and 13 founders have successfully completed the semester and graduated.
The 4 –month, highly structured, learning-by-doing course is an extremely rigorous training program that covers all aspects necessary for startups to survive, compete, and scale. Globally, the graduation rate of founders in FI chapters in over a 100 cities around the world ranges from 10% to 30% of the enrolled class. Graduates have a high chance of enduring success, with almost half obtaining funding that has valued them at over $ 15 billion.
Graduating founders will be addressing problems and opportunities in many areas with high upside potential. 19 year old Arzish Azam, the youngest FI graduate from amongst 1500+ in the world, who intends to revolutionize the shopping experience by finding the best prices and value through ‘JustPrice.pk.” Sihah Waris, the first female FI graduate in Pakistan, wants to provide working mothers with a stress-free online daycare monitoring system ‘Rise Mom.” Mohammad Mansoor through his app Touch’d, wants people to monitor and strengthen their relationships by learning from interactions over phone, sms, social media and meetups. Co Founders Ali Hasnain and Hamza Iftikhar let retailers offer personalized discounts through their DealSmash App, Ahmed Sajjad through Iris Red offers users the opportunity to book the best photographer by location and expertise according to their budget. Imad Memon’s Cooked Today provides a platform that connects cooks, delivery networks with customers of Home Cooked Hilal Food and Mudassar Syed provides consumer to consumer real estate marketplace and online property valuation through Maalik.
Road EZ by Co founders Waqqas Jabbar and Uzair Sukhera provides personalized alerts on traffic jams, via SMS and a smartphone app, based on real- me traffic data from multiple sources. Hasan Zulfiqar through Charity Sharity ensures that every time you check in from a food outlet or retailer through this app, a donation is made to your favorite charity. Kamran Khan aims to deliver interactive online tutoring for high school children through ‘Tutory.pk, and Sarfraz Arshad wants to empower patients to find the most suitable doctor and daily health tips through ‘Talk Health.’
Certificates were awarded to all 13 Founder Institute graduates. Sihah Waris, founder of Rise Mom, was declared the Top Founder of the program and was awarded Rs.25,000 winning prize from Telenor Pakistan.
Addressing the graduating class, CEO Telenor Pakistan, Michael Foley said, “Today, we reiterate our commitment to empowering Pakistan through social innovation. It gives me great pleasure to see our efforts coming to fruition with highly talented youth of Pakistan becoming ready to contribute the best of their competencies to make the country a better, happier place. With digital inclusion being one of our key missions, we will continue and boost our support for digital innovation in Pakistan at all levels.”
Yusuf Hussain, Director Founder Institute and CEO DM Ventures said: “It has been energizing and fulfilling to see our bright, young and passionate founders grow and evolve during the semester and accomplish challenges that they had not thought possible at the outset. Islamabad offers unique opportunities, with its leading engineering universities and headquarters of telecom and public sector organizations, which tech startups can leverage to create enduring businesses that innovatively solve problems, disrupt and scale.”
Sharing his thoughts, Sayyed Ahmad Masud, Director, The Founder Institute, said, “Those who know us know it well that graduating from The Founder Institute is an uphill task in every sense of the word. I congratulate the 13 Founders for successfully completing the program and making us proud with their approach to simplifying life with relevant, state-of-the-art digital solutions. I would also like to thank Telenor Pakistan for their support in helping us train these young minds and for their mentorship in making their dreams come true.” Naeem Zamindar Ceo of Acumen Fund said“Entrepreneurship is not about making money, its hard. Its for those who have a clear desire to make an impact, living your purpose. What the Founder Institute is doing is brilliant because it is really preparing you for the challenges ahead.”
Dr. Ismail Shah Chairman PTA and CEO ICTR&D Fund emphasized that besides encouraging stakeholder dialogs at PTA, the ICTR&D fund is also modifying the funding procedure to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get funding. The Rector of the National Textile University and incoming Executive Director HEC, Dr. Arshad Ali mentioned the need for promoting entrepreneurship in Academia and creating better Industry Academia relationships.
Irfan Wahab Khan, Deputy CEO and CMO, Telenor Pakistan, said, “Telenor Pakistan and The Founder Institute share the goals of digital inclusion, social innovation, and empowerment of the society which can be achieved in one go by channelizing the Pakistani youth. I extend my heartiest congratulations to the graduating founders today, not only for their successful completion of the training program, but also for their brilliant startup ideas that carry very strong potential of transforming lives in Pakistan.”
About Founder Institute
The Founder Institute is the most successful global accelerator in the world, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. The comprehensive step-by-step program provides the structure, content, network of mentor entrepreneurs, and technology partners that are required to start or accelerate enduring tech company. Based in the Silicon Valley and with chapters across 58 countries, The Founder Institute’s mission is to ‘Globalize Silicon Valley’ and build sustainable startup ecosystems worldwide.