Velocity, Telenor’s go-to-market acceleration program, just yesterday organized its first Demo Day at a fancy and colorful event in Islamabad. The sole purpose of the event was to let startups of first cohort showcase their progress and gauge interest of the relevant people for partnerships, collaborations, and investments deals.
The event attendees included representatives from the technology and telecom segment of Pakistan. Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan, while speaking at the event said,
“Pakistan is a land of opportunities and the world is realizing its potential. It is the last emerging frontier and promises huge benefits to businessmen and investors.”
ForiMazdoori, EdJunction, DoctHers, EcoEnergy, and Interacta were the startups that pitched and showcased their solutions at the Demo Day. All of these startups have either raised investments or grants previously. At this junction, these startups are at a mature stage with testing and pilots of their products already executed. All startups, except Interacta, are looking for money injection to scale operations and reach new customers.
Interacta, on the other hand, is looking for strategic partnerships to acquire more customers of their mobile applications. Interacta’s first pilot happened last month which made Telenor Pakistan their first customer. In hopes to gain more such partnerships, it is actively pursuing major leading brands in the advertising industry in Pakistan.
While speaking with TechJuice, Dr. Musstanser Tinauli, Founder and CEO of ForiMazdoori, said,
“This event is a milestone for Velocity and the startups. For us, it was a symbolic day that re-affirms the promise of continued collaboration. We are expecting that our partnership will strengthen even more after graduation. Another good thing is that Velocity team is conducive to feedback, we had 45 minutes debrief after the event. ” He further added, “It was overall a good day. We made connections with the people who are not easily accessible and got pro-active support on the day itself. But, I think we do not need lavish events, the money saved (by organizing decent budget events) can be invested in the startups. I would also say the turnout of investors was a bit low – that however reflects the overall status of the startup ecosystem. I personally feel, we will have our own silicon valley the day we are ready to invest in a startup rather than in real-estate, wedding or dowry. Though Velocity has taken the first step together with startups like us – now its the public’s turn.”
With the recent influx of incubators, accelerators, and business programs in the country, it is important for these programs to organize demo days more often, as investment is the major bottleneck in pulling off a startup in Pakistan. Although the event failed to attract a chunk of investors, but it is a major step in the right direction which will take some time to mature.
Disclaimer — This story has been made possible by Telenor but the opinions expressed are of TechJuice or the people explicitly mentioned.