The technology entrepreneurship ecosystem in Pakistan is at a tipping point! With this in mind, we decided to scout the most promising technology startups of Pakistan. The TechJuice team has divided the startups into three categories depending on their growth stage: Early-age, Mid-Stage and Late-Stage. This is the first post in the series.
Last year, we compiled the list of 10 Pakistani Startups that can make it Big where we featured some of the most promising startups at that time. This year has been particularly good for startups and we have seen many ideas and teams that have blown us away.
Early-age startups are those that are at seed or idea stage; these also include companies that are still struggling with their business model and haven’t yet decided how to support the business. These companies typically have low, often single digit headcount and are still in the process of building out their products and entering early stages of market validation. They are typically bootstrapped or running on friends and family supplied capital. Some of the best early-age Pakistani startups are listed below. These startups have shown incredible potential and we believe that with a little more effort they can solve the problems they face now and go on to become successful businesses. Please note that these startups are not organized in any particular order.
Interacta is a startup that has set out to make waves. The team comprises of graduates from NUST and LUMS who are working on doing something new: making the broadcast content interactive. Their main tool in this exercise will be smartphones, something that millions of Pakistanis now own; they are hoping to revolutionize broadcast content as we know it. InteraCta, for example, could let you receive recipes as you watch a cooking show or answer questions alongside participants in a quiz competition. The advertisers could gain by pushing actionable advertisements to the users smartphones. However, Interacta is merely beginning its journey and still has a long way to go.
Children have immense potential and unfortunately, our education system as it is does almost nothing to mine the talent. However, people are beginning to rethink education. The recent Ilm Apps Challenge was a good preview of the plans that many Pakistanis have to change to education system. 3Restart was not only the winner at Islamabad Ilm Apps Challenge but has also received mentoring and guidance at Invest2Innovate. 3Restart’s end goal is to come up with a game that will not only help in complimenting early childhood education through learning processes that enhance memory retention etc but will also help parents monitor their child’s progress. The product is still in progress.
Jugnu.pk is a smart school management system. Infact, WaysAll Technologies would have you believe that it is the best school management system out there because Jugnu can help out all the parties involved from the Principal to the students. It can definitely help in reducing paper work, something that all management systems do but it can also send an SMS home if the child is absent, can allow teachers to mark the progress of students and give students easy online access to their reports and results. Jugnu is now ready to jump in the business world through incubation at Plan9. We are looking forward to seeing how the idea develops into a strong startup.
Another startup selected for Plan9 Incubator this time is TexSum, short for Text Summary. In the past few months, many different apps that allow readers to speed read or read a short summary of the main text have become very popular. Everybody can now vouch for the fact that there is too much to do and too little time so it makes a lot of sense to divide pages of information into chunks that can easily be understood and consumed quickly . This team from COMSAT Lahore is looking forward to doing exactly that. The text summarizing system will work in International as well as local languages. The good part is that TexSum already has some working prototypes.
Founded by Munir Ahmed and Ali Hassan, Loop is a platform where photographers in Pakistan can come together to explore art. Apart from allowing users to submit their art work, the platform allows people to rank and sell art, interact with other photographers and gain recognition for their work that can in turn lead to getting hired for event coverage. LOOP makes up for a void in the current market and that gives an edge to the startup. However, there are only a few good photographers and the current market is rather amateur. Another downside is that people prefer copying and printing pictures rather than paying for the copyright.
Intellistats allows you to gain valuable information and statistics about your phone usage on voice, data and SMS messages. The information is organized in the forms of graphs while the main screen gives you a quick overview of the important information. Intellistats is a great application to have on your phone: it is smart and helps you manage your phone bill by suggesting phone packages that are more suited to your use. However, the startup is still struggling with user acquisition and its business model.
MeriTaleem.com caters to various degree and non-degree programs. The portal is an excellent way to find out about admission schedules, scholarships available, university information as well as news and updates. By putting all the related information in one place, MeriTaleem.pk relieves the students of the pain of going through dozens of websites and scanning for relevant information. The website also supports forums where students can engage in constructive discussions.
A joint venture of three CompScience graduates from Islamabad, PlayBolt studios is changing the way games are being developed by focusing their attention on elements that serve the purpose of entertainment while also providing education. Their first product, Heroes of Woodcast is a mobile app meant for children up to 8 years old. The game includes use of augmented reality and encourages youngsters to experiment with role playing and play with their parents using cooperative game play. PlayBolt has a great vision and is working to achieve success.
Sehat is the first pharmaceutical e-commerce website in Pakistan and makes it easy for customers to shop for medicines while offering them features like affordability, reliability and convenience. The force behind the startup is Apothecare Private Limited. The online pharmacy offers a large variety of medicines, even those that may be short in the market and makes it easier still for the customers by offering them a home delivery service.
KiaSceneHai.pk also featured in our exclusive list on 10 Pakistani Startups that can Make it Big last year and the startup is working to make its name. Recently, it organized house full events for the screening of Fifa World Cup. The events showed that they have build a significant user base and more people are joining in. Currently the startup focuses on event listing and ticket booking and while both services are great, KiaSceneHai.pk still has a long way to go before it can establish itself as a successful startup.
What did you think of our Early-Age Pakistani Startup List? We would love to hear your feedback!