The South Asia Emerging Markets team at Google’s headquarters in Asia, led by Tania Aidrus and Khurram Jamali, partnered up with Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) to organize Pakistan Startup Summit 2016 in Singapore.
Under this partnership, Google sponsored a group of startup founders from top business incubators and accelerators of Pakistan to attend this event at its office in Singapore. It was a four-day program designed for the Pakistani startups to understand the Singaporean entrepreneurial landscape, explore business opportunities in Singapore, pitch to investors and venture capitalists and meet similar startups in business incubators and accelerators in Singapore for possible business partnerships.
Nine startups selected for this program included BeautyHooked, Dockit, Treble, RepairDesk, Vanilla Arcade and Interacta from LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, Makistra from Plan9, Hireonic from Nest I/O and Ezpz Sehat from Invest2Innovate.
The organizing team at Google arranged several sessions and activities for the startups including a session with Amer Qureshi, Director Deloitte Private in Australia, on financial planning and how to raise funds for your startup and a session with an ex-Googler Steve Feiner, CEO of A Better Florist, on the experience of running a business in Southeast Asia.
There was a pitch practice session with two highly experienced professors of entrepreneurship at INSEAD Singapore campus, Ash Singh and Paul Kewen-hite, where all nine startups got to hone their elevator pitches with individual feedback from the mentors. Pakistan Startup Workshop by Sleem Hasan of Privity, an introduction of the VCs and entrepreneurial landscape of Singapore and a session on how to build a great business by Chua Lee Lock, CEO of Vertex Ventures and a networking session with Jeffery Paine of Golden Gate Ventures were some of the other sessions arranged for the startups.
The batch of startups was also taken to other business incubators and accelerators of Singapore including NUS Enterprises where startups got to explore partnership opportunities with the incubators/accelerators and incubated startups working in a similar space. The organizing team also arranged mentoring sessions for startups on demand including sessions on negotiations and UI/UX. One important segment was the startup pitches in front of a panel of venture capitalists and investors brought together by the Google team which was a great opportunity for startups to pitch in front of foreign investors and showcase the Pakistani entrepreneurial talent.
This program, which was the first of its kind, proved to be extremely valuable for the growth of the startups and for helping them think globally, with the participating startups stating their experience as “an incredible opportunity”, “an amazing initiative” and “a life-changing experience”.