Pakistan’s startup industry has come a long way from a series of ranges and came to a point where it l anded itself at FinTech’s first Disrupt Challenge in Pakistan hosted collectively by Kar andaaz and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Fintech Space in Pakistan
FinTech has had incredible success globally reaching to $5.2 billion in investments alone earlier this year from $1.8 billion in 2010. Using technology, FinTech provides the opportunity to help grow solutions and their implementation in a number of avenues which would help revolutionize the current structure of services like payment, financing, insurance, savings, investments and minimize any flaws they currently have. Pakistani startups were fortunate to have a shot at bringing their compelling stream of ideas (both currently formed and seeking to exp and) in front of a panel to secure investment grants up to 10 million PKR.
The Fintech Disrupt Challenge
The essence of this challenge is to grow a fruitful network between the parties involved. Banks, governments, regulators, incubators, and people form FinTech industry gathered to screen 28 shortlisted applications and their presentation to be judged by leading experts of different industries. Industrial practitioners; Nadeem Hussain and Qasif Shahid opened with keynote speeches about Unbundling Commercial Banks & Design Mechanics for setting up FinTech operations in Pakistan.
Expert judges namely, Romana Abdullah, Asad Azfar, Amaar Ikhlas, Yasser Bashir, Naeem Zamindar, and Mohsin Termezy Q viewed 28 promising pitches in round 1 from which 10 were narrowed out for round 2. Only to be investigated & examined further, boiling down to the last 3 finalists/winners of the grant which were Ricult Pakistan, Paysys, and Publishex.
The judges’ criterion for short listing was based on a number of areas which covered the proposed startups. It must be a well defined & growing need in the FinTech market and, a valuable proposition in exchange for its money. A potential to thrive in the market financially and impact-wise, a detailed strategy, and targeted audience to capture them through competitive analysis and strategic positioning. A business that ensures its sustainability in the foreseeable future with no leaks to fall apart from beginning with costs/revenues validated through engaged stakeholders.
Points of view of Stakeholders
Ali Sarfraz, CEO of Kar andaaz said, “FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016 presented a unique opportunity for fresh startups and those in their idea phase to be imaginative and creative about complex problems in the financial sector. Through this initiative, we, at Kar andaaz Pakistan, have provided much-needed impetus to FinTechs, validation of their ideas, financial support and mentorship. I congratulate the winning teams and look forward to seeing these FinTechs lead financial revolution in Pakistan.”
“Access to seed capital is a major impediment to startup growth in Pakistan and we are glad to partner with Kar andaaz Pakistan to address this gaping hole in the ecosystem. I hope that others follow suit and are able to financially support young, innovative startups so they can grow into large businesses of tomorrow spurring economic and jobs growth,” said Khurram Zafar, Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship.
Qasif Shahid, Co-Founder Finja and an industry veteran said,
“Fintech is a recent phenomena. There may have been growth in the financial sector in the recent past, but its important to separate service provision in financial sector to fintech solutions. Its an emerging sector because only now have we started to underst and the industry structures and develop solutions around it. Startups need h and-holding and input from experts to guide them about the l andscape and existing gaps. Only then can we expect some real time solutions.”
The quick story of the winning Startups
Paysys provides reliable and secure technology platforms that enable Banks, Telcos and Businesses to offer their customers a vast array of payment types, across multiple channels, anywhere at any time.
PublishEX is the only Pakistani company to have become a viable multi-telco payment aggregator with agreements and integrations ongoing with 3 of the 4 largest operators covering 85% market share of the total cell phone market in Pakistan. Their solution allows integration of over 100m subscribers to make payments online without requiring a bank account, credit card or having to go to carrier specific mobile wallets. It allows integration of over 100m mobile subscribers to make payments online without requiring a bank account, credit card or having to go to carrier specific mobile wallets.
It is an online marketplace. It is website which sells agricultural products such as crops, fertilizers, and other nutrients used for crops. The CEO of this startup is osman Javed, who was the head of Telenor’s marketing divisions and he also introduced Easy Paisa. The website is pretty simple. There are hundreds of farmers using the website to purchase different items. According to the Founder, the farmers are very smart. If they are given the economic benefit they make a switch quickl and that’s exactly what Ricult offers them. He added that they are now incorporating the database approach into the website to increase the efficiency.
To support the Fintech Disrupt Challenge 2016 winners, Kar andaaz has offered a 5 day intensive workshop covering payment systems and its integration for the winners. The scholarship would allow the winners to co-work with TPS engineers at Kar andaaz HQs in Karachi. They would be trained to integrate to IRIS MultiChannel Payment Platform using Open APIs and be able to get their Fintech innovation dreams become ready for an end-end Fintech disruption.
About the Contributor:
Anas Ejaz is a Research associates at perspective and enjoys exploring elements of a story.
Information Source: Kar andaaz, Lums Center for Entrepreneurship