Startup Advice

Startup92.com: Information Portal for Pakistan’s Startup Ecosystem

In the last couple of years, Pakistan has seen a large spur of growth in the start-up sector, ranging from an increase in the numbers of start-ups, incubators, working spaces and the general buzz around the sector. Such a growing ecosystem needs an organization that focuses on being a source of all relevant news and information– Startup92 aspires to be that organization, with its weekly newsletter (Pak Startup Weekly) as its main tool.

What is it about?

On Startup92’s homepage, the founder of Startup92 (Imran Haider) describes the process of making the newsletter (every week) in the following words:

“Each week I (Imran, in case you are curious) handpick interesting news, startup stories and couple them with curated reading list. It’s meant to be for everyone i.e. Entrepreneurs, investors and even Spectators (like me) interested in knowing about Pakistan’s potentially huge startup ecosystem.”

The need

The weekly newsletter has been at the core of Startup92 and the founder’s work even before Startup92 started. In addition to the newsletter, Startup92 also includes a jobs board and a life series. The introductory post about the Life Series in January 2014 doesn’t describe it in any detail and this recent article in TechinAsia reveals that the idea around Life Series is still not fully formed.

In the same article, the founder, Imran Haider, describes his motivations to create this newsletter to be the rise of interest in the startup ecosystem in Pakistan and the lack of a central place/source for all news around that ecosystem. People interested in this area would have to look through several disparate sources to learn more, while startups interested in reaching out to an focused readership would not have a way to reach out to them directly about news and jobs. He is focusing on content distribution versus content creation, which complements the growth of content in the area.

Websites like Pakwired.com, techjuice.pk and propakistani.pk are already aiming to be the source of news from the startup and tech sector in Pakistan, but a weekly newsletter that comfortable slides into your inbox and is a collection of stories and news that are carefully collected is a good addition to this information ecosystem.

Prologue

Going through a couple of archived newsletters available on the website, the main benefit of this initiative is clear – have an easy list of news stories from the internet on the startup scene in Pakistan. What came across as a bit odd were the words from the founder before the list began.

On the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, there is an introduction of more than 300 words that says the following things:

  1. Author used to hate LUMS but feels differently about it now
  2. LUMS is not affordable and students who love business (like the author) can’t benefit from the institution because the scholarships are not accessible
  3. LUMS has an entrepreneurship institute that requires equity in the incubation?
  4. It is headed by Mr. Khurram Zafar, which the author thinks is a great thing, but doesn’t say why.

The point is that the list and hyperlinks are great, but I can’t see the purpose of the prologue for busy readers looking for a smartly designed newsletter.

On a side note, from what I remember, LUMS offers financial aid to all students that it admits based on proven need – meaning that if you are admitted to the university, the university will cover all your tuition fee which is beyond your reach.

Verdict

It’s a great initiative that can certainly be improved. If the target audience includes international readers, there might be a case for improving the standard of English. Other adjustments that can be made according to readers’ feedback is to the number of stories shared every week and the formatting in general.

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