Investors perform an important role in the development of nascent businesses. They have the power to shape business environment and the profile of the upcoming initiatives, they also have the power to develop the behaviors of startups. The LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE), LUMS’ flagship experiential development platform for entrepreneurs held an exclusive investor event to mark the graduation of its fourth cohort of nine startups graduating from The Foundation incubator.
The Foundation Investors Summit was the third event of its kind organized by LCE. It brings together both local and international investors and business tycoons including Razzak Dawood of Descon, Humayun Mazhar of CresVentures, Omar Saeed of Service Industries, and over 60 other high net worth angel investors.
The Investors Summit opened with a welcome note from the Vice Chancellor of LUMS, Dr. Sohail Naqvi followed by an introduction of LCE by the Executive Director, Khurram Zafar.He said that out of the 46 startup graduates of LCE 42 are operating, 2 have exited and 2 have shut down. He added that 10 startups have already raised approximately PKR 130M valued at over PKR 800M.
Startups that pitched at the Investors Summit included Fictive Lab, an IoT company focused on solving problems through innovative, smart and connected devices; NearPeer, a portal providing online tailor made courses to college and university students; Shahi Sawari, a 24/7 on-dem and rickshaw hailing service; ShadiBox, an online platform connecting customers to wedding vendors and help them search, review, compare and book appointments at the cheapest rates possible; Dockit, a discount card offering discounts on every consumer sector including food, apparel and recreation; Paperpk.com, one of Pakistan’s biggest job/career advertisement website; Treble, a mix of Spotify and Instagram of crowd-sourced music videos; Mezaaj, a business platform for upcoming fashion and textile designers and last but not the least, Sabzi.pk, a startup providing home delivery of fresh fruit and vegetable at highly competitive rates.
The startups have already generated over PKR150M in revenue and created over 400 direct jobs. The keynote address at the event was given by Chairman PTA, Dr. Ismail Shah who outlined the various incentive programs for startups being offered by ICTRDF including funding for research commercialization and startup mobilization. Yusuf Hussain, MD of Dual Matrix Ventures gave a run-down on angel investing in Pakistan.
The engagement at Investor Summit helped startups in obtaining the right amount of feedback. The investors also got a chance to explore upcoming business models. According to PRI, investors use enhanced information that goes beyond financial capital in four key ways:
• Economic analysis: to help them underst and trends and externalities that could affect the economic outlook and hence value creation and capital formation
• Industry analysis: to underst and factors driving competitiveness and the potential for sustained value creation in an industry
• Company strategy: to underst and management quality and corporate strategy and evaluate a company’s ability to respond to emerging trends
• Valuation: to adjust traditional valuation parameters and assumptions, including cash flow and weighted average cost of capital to reflect performance on material sustainability issues.
In order to build constructive engagement between investors and startups, Investor Summit can help develop strategy and growth for startups at incubation centers. It can also act as a dialogue space that can define a roadmap for sustainability of upcoming initiatives and incubation centers.