Karandaaz Pakistan and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) closed FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016 with the announcement of 3 winners. The challenge took place at LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship in Lahore.
The FinTech industry has seen an incredible growth around the world, with investments in this sector rising from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $5.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016 alone. The FinTech industry in Pakistan is in its nascent stages and is faced with issues of access to finance and limited mentorship. Recognizing the enormous potential of FinTechs to develop easily scalable solutions by leverage technology, FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016 galvanized Pakistani startups to propose innovative products and services in areas like payments, financing, insurance, savings and investment for grants up to 10 million PKR.
The ultimate goal of the challenge is to build strong business relationships between key actors of this movement. Banks, government regulators, incubators, complementary actors from the FinTech industry assembled together at FDC2016 to hear 28 shortlisted startups present their ideas in front of a panel of experts. Leading industry practitioners like Nadeem Hussain and Qasif Shahid gave keynote speeches at the event about “Unbundling Commercial Banks” and “Design Mechanics for Setting Up FinTech Operations in Pakistan” respectively.
FDC 2016 culminated with the announcement of 3 winners, Ricult Pakistan, agri loans for small farmers; Paysys Labs, innovative biometric solutions for authentication; and Publishex Solutions, carrier billing platform for mobile apps. Following further due diligence and agreement of mutually developed growth milestones, these startups shall be eligible for up to PKR 10M in milestone based funding from Karandaaz Pakistan. The 10 finalists – chosen from a shortlist of 28 high caliber startups who presented their elevator pitches in round 1, were grilled in round 2 by six judges – Romana Abdullah, CEO Highpoint Ventures; Asad Azfar, Chief Investment Officer at Karandaaz Pakistan; Amaar Ikhlas, Head of Branchless Banking at Bank Alfalah; Yasser Bashir, CEO Arbisoft; Naeem Zamindar, CEO and Country Director at Acumen Pakistan; and Mohsin Termezy, Digital Transformation Specialist and Product Head at TPS.
Ali Sarfraz, CEO of Karandaaz 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 Karandaaz 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 Karandaaz 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.
About Karandaaz Pakistan
Karandaaz Pakistan is a not-for-profit company (registered under Section 42) established in August 2014, promotes access to finance for small businesses through a commercially directed investment platform, and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology enabled digital solutions.