Netsol Technologies organized a three-day competition at the Lahore University of Management Sciences on the weekend of July 24-26 to bring together aspiring entrepreneurs and give them a platform to raise investment for their products and businesses.
A total of 53 teams comprising IT professionals and students from LUMS, FAST, COMSATS and the University of Gujrat registered themselves in the challenge.
The team from the Punjab University College of Information Technology won first prize at the hackathon for a prototype of an Android based application for cellphones, Share-via-SMS (SVS), which allows users to share pictures and audio files via Short Messaging Service (SMS) without the Internet. So although MMS does the same job, SVS does not even require an internet. Brilliant, isn’t it? Rush Hour came second which will be an application that updates users on parking availability and rush statues, and was awarded $1000 in cash. Payload, the bitcoin startup, from Amin Gilani, secured 3rd position and got a $500 cash prize.
Some other interesting ideas included those of Crime Alert, GesDrive Solutions, VooDoo, KissanDera, Beacon Walks and FeedingPakistan.
Apart from design thinking workshops and mentorship sessions, the participants got a chance to network with like-minded individuals and learn from their experiences.
SVS won a cash prize of $3,500 and will also go directly to the final screening process of the starting class of Netsol’s soon-to-be-launched tech incubator ‘Nspire’.
While each pitch warrants a separate analysis, there were a few that really caught my eye. And while most of them had their clones in other incubation centers, some were amazingly unique and had no competition at all.
Lendit.pk was one startup idea conceived by two female students. It will allow travel pros and rooks to rent a travel bag to students from universities who don’t have much experience travelling but may wish to have the complete travel essentials. This is still an untapped market in Pakistan, and also there have been various tourism apps for hotel and restaurant finders, none have been able to find a product that the user will need during the journey itself, and that too at an affordable price.
The founder of the app was interviewed by Geo TV after her successful pitch at the event. She talked about this Throwathon has enabled Computer Science students like her to gain practical experience in the real world and get out of the rote learning of theory in textbooks.
She was grateful to Netsol for providing aspiring female entrepreneurs like her a chance to prove themselves. It’s so delightful to see females in Pakistan rolling up their sleeves and coding their way to success. What once seemed a man’s job now is spearheaded by these women who need no encouragement or pat on the back to mushroom their way to success.
Another interesting app idea was that of Seekerly, which will provide a platform for users to search for household help online. It has a similar model to Fori Mazdoori and Technician.pk. The team did a great job with the financial modelling too which tells that they knew how to make money out of this. Their product was appreciated by Salim Ghauri himself.
Judged by veterans like Faizan Ghauri, Founder of Itchy Fingers, Zubin Davar, Product Marketing Manager at Google, Ali Shahiryari, VP of Software Production at Originate, and Salim Ghauri, the Founder of Netsol Technologies, the participants got a first-hand review of how innovative or distruptive their product really is.
The mentors stressed upon taking risks in life and how the biggest risk in life is not to take a risk at all. In the end, entrepreneurship is a mindset many wish to possess, but unless you have the guts, you need to think again. All the judges were impressed by the presentations and saw a bright future for the Pakistan’s tech industry:
Amazing job by all the participants of #ThrowAThon!! You’re all winners!!
— Zubin Davar (@ZubinDavar) July 26, 2015
For this still wishing to relish the hackathon experience, they might want to download this app.