Analysis

Special Edition Tech Trends Review 2016 – Part II

What follows below is the second episode in our 3 parts series: Special Edition Tech Trends Review 2016: an indepth run-down of the way 2016 has shaped technology, business and start-up sector in Pakistan. This special edition – Pakistan’s first – dissects start-up, business & technology industry trends month-by-month, and is filed under our regular weekly industry trend watch feature Weekly Tech Trends Review.

The three parts series shares with you our best trends pick from the national and international tech and business frontiers.

Part I of the series has already given an overview of the trends prevalent in the industry in 2016, and covered the happenings from January – April, 2016

Part II of the series, coming to you with a little lag after the release of the first episode, covers the period from May – August, 2016.

Part III shall cover the period from September – December, 2016 and will also reflect upon the trends to look out for in 2017.

Following the suggestions that we received after the first episode, we have categorically compartmentalized the stories. Hope this has added to the value.
We’ve tried our best to make Special Edition Tech Trends Review 2016 a thorough catalog of major developments through the year with unique significance of its relation with the local industry. This is a comprehensive year review, especially if you’re someone with interest in the tech, start-up and business sector. Grab a coffee and settle down, because this is going to be a long read.

May

START-UP STORIES

RepairDesk Raised Funding

RepairDesk, a cloud-based Point of Sales system simplifying and organizing workflow for mobile repair businesses, and an alumnus of the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, secured seed funding of $40,000 from Anant Handa, CEO and Founder of Revamp Wholesale. In addition to the funding amount and enhanced value of the company, RepairDesk also celebrated the strategic fit with Revamp Wholesale which is a large US based supplier of mobile spare parts and accessories boasting over 8000 customers in 11 countries.

HSN Ventures Invested in Delivery Chacha

HSN Ventures, backed by Creative Chaos and dominating the e-commerce domain in Pakistan, announced an undisclosed investment in a local delivery service start-up Delivery Chacha. The collaboration was announced to help scale operations and build logistics technology for concierge services and express e-commerce deliveries.

ClubInternet Received a Convertible Note 

ClubInternet, a Pakistani tech start-up incubated by the PlanX Social Innovation Lab and geared towards social enterprising, with an aim to provide connectivity to 4.3 billion using web literacy campaign and social platforms, announced on 25th May receiving an undisclosed amount from an undisclosed source in a convertible note.

TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS STORIES

Mobilink Announced Pakistan’s Largest Incubation Center

Mobilink announced the launch of their very own incubator: Jazz National Incubation Center to be set up under the National ICT R&D Fund, and in collaboration with service delivery partner TeamUp.

PITB’s Second Round Table Conference Under TechHub Connect

Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) under their TechHub Connect project, organized the second round-table conference with over 120 representatives from different technology organizations in the country to get the stakeholders of IT industry of Pakistan on the same page. Main issues discussed were:

Revenue Tax
Access to International Market
Visa Facilitation
Local firms in public procurement
Digital Punjab Campaign
Punjab ICT Policy

The conference announced the launch of a platform Connect for connecting academia and industry.

China Introduces Cheapest Car

China launched its cheapest car by the name of Jiangnan TT. Manufactured by Jiangnan Auto, a subsidiary of Zotye Automobile, this bold initiative has announced its starting price at 20,800 yuan equivalent to $3,170. However, the dealer offers a discount of 5,000 yuan which means that it brings the price down to just 15,800 yuan equal to $2,410. In terms of Pakistani rupees, the cost of the car, after discount, is around Rs. 241,000.
Details can be found here.

SOCIAL MEDIA STORIES

Instagram Introduced New Logo

On May 11, Instagram introduced a brand new logo and app design. The new logo retained the camera, however, modified the design and added a rainbow gradient. Instagram also updated icons for the rest of its family of apps: Layout, Boomerang, and Hyperlapse. The announcement blog post explains: “Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

YouTube Launched VR App

On May 19, YouTube announced that a new YouTube VR app for Daydream, Google’s platform for high-quality virtual reality on mobile. The app, which was developed “to provide an easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube,” includes all of the platform’s usual features, such as voice search, discovery, and playlists. Users will be able to see all of YouTube’s content on the app, including 16×9 videos, 360-degree footage, and VR in full 3D.

June

START-UP STORIES

KarloCompare Closed Seed Funding Round

On June 1 KarloCompare a finance start-up launched as a product comparison platform, announced raising an undisclosed amount of PKR 7-digit funding in their first angel investment round. The investors were identified as Hina Khawaja Bayat and Roger Dawood Bayat.

PenACode Technologies Raised Seed Funding

Established in 2005, an IT and multimedia solutions enterprise PenACode Technologies evaluated at $150,000, raised an amount of $50,000 in seed funding.
*This information could not be confirmed from neutral sources. 

Pakistani Accelerators in Asian Top 20 List

In June 2016, Gust and Fundacity released their Annual Asian and Oceanian Accelerator Report 2015. LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, PlanX and Invest2Innovate secured 3 positions among the top 20 list of most active accelerators and incubators in the Asian and Oceania region.

TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS STORIES

PakWired’s Released Top CEO’s 2016 List

Keeping its annual tradition, PakWired released its much anticipated TOP CEO’s of the year list. The 2016 list of industry cream covered sectors ranging from Finance, FMCG, Software houses, Manufacturers and Online enterprises. The list received a lot of traction in the industry and was hailed as a performance indicator in a largely undocumented economy.

Telenor Became Pakistan’s 3rd 4G Operator

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced Telenor’s win of the leftover 850MHZ spectrum license. Telenor was the only bidder for the spectrum auction, Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS). According to the PTA, frequency assignment tenure for the 10MHZ block on 850MHZ band at a base price of $395 million, is 15 years.

Microsoft Acquired LinkedIn

Microsoft announced buying world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion. LinkedIn sold each company share for $196 per share.

SOCIAL MEDIA STORIES

Promoted Tweet Carousel

On June 3, Twitter announced the Promoted Tweet Carousel. In the announcement blog post, The revenue product manager explained that the new ad unit would give marketers a rich canvas for brand storytelling using their own Tweets or Tweets about their brand by users who have given permission to the brand.

Facebook Introduced 360 Degree Photos

On June 9, Facebook introduced 360 photos. The new feature allowed users to shoot a panoramic image on their phone and share it to Facebook. The image is converted to a 360-degree photo that other users can explore, similar to 360 videos.

LinkedIn Premium Insights

On June 3, LinkedIn introduced Premium Insights. The brand new feature, gives users unique and timely data about the companies that interest them. The feature is available with Business Plus, Sales Navigator, and select Talent Solutions subscriptions.

July

START-UP STORIES

Well.pk Secured Seed Sunding

Well.pk, a health and lifestyle e-commerce start-up secured in its initial seed funding round an amount in the proximity of $1 million. The investment primarily came from the angel investors Nadeem Hussain and Noor Abid.

Sabzi.pk Secured Seed Funding

Sabzi.pk, an online fruits and vegetables delivery start-up incubated at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) announced closing its seed financing from the owners of a large Pakistani retail conglomerate. The deal values sabzi.pk at $7.5 Million. This is the highest value fetched by an LCE company for seed round funding.

Travly Raises Seed Funding

In July 2016, Travly – a Plan9 and PlanX incubatee commute booking start-up – announced raising 200,000 dollars in a funding round from Humayun Mazhar, CEO/Founder of CresVentures and Faisal Sherjaan.

Smartchoice Raised Seed Funding

A Karachi based, personal finance comparison website Smartchoice raised an undisclosed amount from an angel investor identified as Muddassir.
*This information could not be confirmed from neutral sources. 

Plan9 Announced 9 Start-ups Selected For 8th Incubation Cycle

Plan9, Pakistan’s largest tech incubator, announced 9 entrants for their 8th cycle of incubation. The incubated start-ups included PakLaw Recorder, Taza Daily, Cart99, Euphoria, Campusfeed, Clique, DIY Geeks, Galla and InstaSafe.

Inauguration of Jazz National Incubation Centre

With a prestigious official inauguration ceremony, Jazz National Incubation Centre was launched in Islamabad on July 19, 2017. National ICT Research and Development Fund has financed the incubator and under the Mobilink sponsored ‘Jazz XLR8 Program’, the incubation centre is aimed help cultivate and foster talent from all over Pakistan.

TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS STORIES

Careem Acquired VentureDive

VentureDive, a technology solutions studio got a third of its development team, 50 engineers, acquired by the the ride-hailing cab service, Careem. The acquisition deal details were not made public. Media release shared talked of an undisclosed amount that included both cash and equity.

PakWired Reported About Best Selling Cars in Pakistan: Toyota Emerged As The Leader

As per the report by PakWired, Toyota Corolla is the best selling car in Pakistan. During FY 2015-16, Indus Motors sold 57,452 units of Toyota Corolla (1300 cc to 1800 cc) versus 51,398 units last year registering a yearly rise of 11.77%.
Details of how other brands performed can be found here.

SECP Registered 386 New Companies In The Month of July

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) announced in a press release issued in August, to have registered 386 new companies in July 2016. 85% of the registered companies have been private limited. The detailed break down of the registered enterprises can be found here.

NetSol Won The Best Finance & Leading Solution Provider Award at China Leasing Summit 2016

NetSol Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:NTWK) received the prestigious “First Rate and Best Selling Finance and Leasing Solution Provider” award for 2016, at the 9th China Leasing Summit. This is the fourth consecutive year that NetSol has won this award.
NetSol Technologies is one of the biggest success stories to come out of Pakistan. It has risen to become one of top 500 software houses of the world, as ranked by Forbes Magazine.

Punjab Introduced Online College Admissions System

In collaboration with Higher Education Department (HED), Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) of Punjab and Bank of Punjab; Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) developed an online system which is now rolled out for public sector colleges in Punjab. The Online College Admissions System (OCAS) provides easy, hassle-free and proficient gateway to students to apply for admissions in the government colleges for higher education. Details of the initiative can be found here.

Easypaisa Launched Biometric Verification Devices

Easypaisa, the largest branchless banking service in Pakistan, eased the process of money transfer by introducing biometric verification devices. The limit – for a customer to send or receive money – was also increased from PKR 15,000 to PKR 50,000.
Details about these verification devices available on the extensive network of Easypaisa retailers across Pakistan, can be found here.

SOCIAL MEDIA STORIES

Twitter Launched Application Process For Verified Accounts

On July 19, Twitter announced an online application process for accounts seeking verified status. Verified accounts on Twitter are designated by a blue icon featuring a white checkmark, which appears next to the account’s handle.

August

START-UP STORIES

Finja Raised Seed Funding

Pakistan-based fin-tech, Finja announced closing a bridge round worth US$1 million, led by Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF), a Swedish investment firm. Terms of the equity funding were not disclosed. The start-up shared that the deal is part of a mooted US$1.5 million capital injection.
Detailed coverage of the mobile wallet’s seed capital investment can be found here.

BeautyHooked Raised Seed Funding

BeautyHooked, a beauty services platform for women to browse salon and spa services, successfully secured $280,000 in a seed funding round led by Fatima Ventures.
Detailed coverage can be found here.

HireNinja Raised Seed Funding

HireNinja, the network where pre-screened developer ninjas meet their future employers, received an amount of $15,000 in seed funding from an undisclosed investor.
*This information could not be confirmed from neutral sources. 

Patari Bagged 2nd Position at World Startup Cup 2016 in Washington

Pakistan’s popular music streaming start-up, Patari grabbed 2nd position at World Startup Cup 2016. The competition was held in Washington DC from 3rd to 5th August. Patari was among 1,000+ startups that were shortlisted after 65 national level championships to participate in the global edition.
Detailed coverage of the story can be found here.

Invest2Innovate Announced 4 Start-ups For Its 5th Batch

Invest2Innovate announced selection of 4 start-ups for its 5th batch of annual accelerator. The start-ups were selected from over 200 applicants, and include: Asaan Doctor, Ammi Service, Grit 3D and Jaan Pakistan.

Two healthcare start-ups Merged

Two healthcare start-ups, Healthwire and Wopiz formed a strategic merger to improve and enhance the state of healthcare in Pakistan. The merged start-ups announced to be working as one entity under Healthwire.

TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS STORIES

Start-up Weekend Lahore

LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE), in collaboration with Ilm Ideas 2 and Techstars, organized a themed Startup Weekend event at LUMS to scout and support innovators looking to address the enrollment, retention and learning outcome challenges in the education sector of Pakistan.
Details of the event shared in this post.

Lahore High Court Launched Mobile App to Assist Lawyers & Litigants

Lahore High Court (LHC) has become the first Pakistani court to launch a mobile application. Lahore High Court app developed by the PITB, assists the people and lawyers with case hearing dates and in keeping updated with the progress and status of cases. In addition, it even provides copy of verdict related to any case on their smartphones. The app is available on both Android and iOS.

Pakistan’s Hacker Claimed $5,000 Bounty For Exposing Chrome, Firefox Address Bar Bugs

Pakistan’s ethical hacker Rafay Baloch exposed a flaw in Firefox and Chrome address bar to win a bounty of $5000. According to the hacker, the browsers render website addresses in such a manner that they could expose users to malicious website that apparently seem to be legitimate otherwise.

Pakistan’s First National Data Centre Inaugurated

National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) inaugurated Pakistan’s first ever National Data Centre in Islamabad. The main aim behind the data centre is to help the government implement its e-governance agenda. This National Data Centre will comply with the Tier-3 standards and also assist in e-commerce and e-health.

Higher Education Commission Announced Technology Development Fund

Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan announced the establishment of a new Technology Development Fund to promote applied research in the country. The Fund is aimed to finance proposals of completed interdisciplinary applied research projects for prototype development and industrial value addition.

SOCIAL MEDIA STORIES

Instagram Introduced Instagram Stories

On August 2, Instagram launched Instagram Stories – uploads separate from users’ profile feeds and intended for real-time posting. All content added to a user’s Story appears in slideshow format.

LinkedIn Introduced Videos From Influencers

On August 2, Linkedin introduced 30-second videos from LinkedIn Influencers. Videos posted by influencers were announced to appear directly in the feeds of their followers, where they can comment and discuss.

LinkedIn Introduced Content Search Feature

On August 25, LinkedIn introduced a content search feature on its mobile app. With this feature the users could search for topics and find relevant articles published on the platform, either by third-parties or by members in their feed. The new functionality included the ability for users to search their own feed.

With this Part II of the Special Edition Tech Trends Review 2016 comes to an end. For Part III, please free an equally long time slot during the next week. Shall see you in a few days time, InshaAllah! 

Meanwhile, we look forward to your feedback, opinions and suggestions. Send them our way. Cheers.

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