Back in 2013, a budding techno-geek from Lahore, Usama Abid realized the need for building a platform that would promote DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture among his fellow students. For this purpose, he created his own maker’s club to help students develop their own small products. Little did he know that four years later, his passion would translate into a promising startup which would get into the list of Top 20 startups of Pakistan’s largest technology exhibition, Momentum Tech Conference 2017.
What is DIYGEEKS?
DIY GEEKS is a community-based startup in pursuit of being the front runners in the maker movement in Pakistan. It aims to change mindset of Pakistani youth by encouraging them to build simple technological projects to solve day-to-day problems. DIY GEEKS also got enlisted as Pakistan’s first Hackerspace in October 2015. The startup sub-divided into two segments following their incubation in Plan9 in August 2016. First segment comprised a readily available circuit components shop for budding engineers while the other segment revolved around focused efforts upon running Pakistan’s first maker space for the DIY community.
Using the sales of their easy-to-use DIY Kits, circuit components, and paid demonstration, the startup generated significant revenue in the first 4 months. Their current revenue stands at more than PKR 1 Million. Furthermore, the startup has engaged 5000+ customers (primarily engineering students) on their website. These students belong to 20 different universities from all over Pakistan. Additionally, DIY Geeks have conducted more than 15 workshops regarding their initiative with over 600+ participants.
Currently, the startup is getting over 200 orders a month but the number is expected to rise very soon. Usama estimates the current market size to be only 40,000 thousands, which is decided by only taking into account the university students. With different DIY related workshops and festivals, he hopes to expand and increase his target market.
Usama Abid (CEO, DIY Geeks) and Hina Ahmed (COO, DIY Geeks) from the platform of DIY Geeks have organized a number of successful meetups and programs outlined below with an objective to inculcate the DIY culture in Pakistan:
- GEEKS Hangout: A community meetup for like-minded engineers and makers
- DIY for Her: A women empowerment program for female students from many schools
- DIY Nest A young kids program in collaboration with WhizKids to promote robotic education
- Make-a-thon 2017: Pakistan’s first and biggest Maker event in collaboration with Plan9
- Drone Racing Competition: Organized in partnership with PakWheels and Mountain Dew
In recognition of their relentless efforts, DIY Geeks have been invited to speak on the ‘Art of Making’ at the IEEE – Superior University’s event named “LSYWTC 16”. They have also been shortlisted for the Rajeev Circle Fellowship and 3rd Cohort of ATX+PAK exchange program.
Commenting on the impact that he intends to bring about through DIY Geeks, Usama Abid shares:
“We aim to enable children to ‘make’ toys and gadgets on their own instead of buying them from the market. We want engineering students to generate new ideas on their own instead of submitting plagiarized final year projects. We wish to see an ordinary individual to automate their lives by making their own security systems and/or water pump controllers. The day we see such things happening, we would know that we achieved what we had been aiming for.”
In near future, DIY Geeks have not only been invited to attend MakerFaire California (Mothership) but also speak on the “Art of Making” in American Youthworks School in Austin. They have also been tasked by Ms. Asha Jadeja Motwani to conduct Makerfest Lahore which is expected to be one of the largest maker events worldwide. DIY Geeks have also been negotiating with a few media houses pertaining to launching a ‘DIY Show’ in order to reach out to a much larger audience across the nooks and corner of the country.