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Startup Istanbul 2017 Begins With Six Pakistani Teams Among 500 Participants

The three-day conference brings together 500 startups, 50 speakers and 500 investors from across the globe
by TR Pakistan

Six startups from Pakistan are attending the Startup Istanbul 2017 conference that opened to 4,000 participants from 65 countries on Friday.

The three-day conference will bring together 500 startups, 50 speakers and 500 investors.

The first day features various trainings and workshops. By the end of the day, 50 startups will be selected to present their business plans to investors on the demo day (Saturday). A shortlist of 15 startups will proceed to the final round on the concluding day of the conference on Monday.

The conference will feature talks by the who’s who of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. Speakers include venture capital investor Tim Draper, innovation strategy expert Dan Toma, investor and mentor Bill Kenney, entrepreneur Eamonn Carey, investor Adam Berk, Abraaj Group managing director Omar Syed, author Jeremiah Gardner and entrepreneur Amal Dokhan.

Read more: American Startup Expert Discusses Pakistani Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Representing Pakistan

The six Pakistani startups participating in the conference are Alrug and Warq-al-Qadeem from Lahore, beSpider from Gujrat, BloodRuns from Gujranwala and Jeevay Sehat and Travoney from Karachi.

Talking to MIT Technology Review Pakistan, Travoney co-founder Razaur Rahman said the startup had designed the first P2P crowd-shipping application in Pakistan. “Our application connects people who want to send mail and parcels with travellers for fast, secure and hassle-free deliveries across the country” he said.

“On average, Travoney’s P2P model takes half the time it requires courier companies to deliver urgent parcels. Our model allows people who travel frequently to earn some extra cash on the side  by delivering parcels at their destinations,” he said.

Rahman said Travoney’s beta version had more than 3,000 users and had completed 500 deliveries nationwide.

“From next year, we will let users pick and drop parcels from our authorised dealers. We also are in the process of adding insurance facility to our application,” he said.

“We are inspired, motivated and ready to introduce a game-changing idea to a global audience at the conference. We are looking for exposure, recognition and networking opportunities. Getting investment is equally important for our aspirations,” he said.

Rahman hoped to connect with mentors and peers, to learn about new business ideas at Startup Istanbul 2017.

Read more: Pakistani Cleantech Startup Wins Global Award

Shoaib Sharih, the project director of Jeevay Sehat, told MIT Technology Review Pakistan that the startup was working in the healthcare sector. “Our digital platforms connect patients to doctors based in any part of the country through video consultation facility,” he said.  Sharih said his team hoped to meet mentors and investors interested in telemedicine.

Talking to MIT Technology Review Pakistan, Zagham Naseem of beSpider said that an application prepared by the startup enabled users to design and launch websites and mobile apps in minutes without needing any technical knowledge.

“We’ve been working on beSpider since 2013. It is in beta testing phase right now. We intend to launch the final version by the end of the year,” he said.

Alrug is an e-commerce platform for craftsmen who prepare handmade rugs to find potential customers. “We also offer delivery service for rugs from Pakistan to anywhere in the world in lesser time than most competitors,” the team said.

Alrug website has more than 10,000 handmade carpets on sale. “We work with 10 manufacturers and have served in more than 55 countries,” the team said.

Alrug team hoped to find and form partnerships with other startups and investors. “We are looking forward to learning from workshops and trainings and finding investors interested in the rugs business,” they said.

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