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Momentum Conference to bring together 'startups, investors, techies' in Karachi

April 28, 2019

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Former chairman of the Punjab IT board, Dr Umar Saif, speaks at the 2018 Momentum Conference. — Photo courtesy: Momentum Facebook page/File
Former chairman of the Punjab IT board, Dr Umar Saif, speaks at the 2018 Momentum Conference. — Photo courtesy: Momentum Facebook page/File

The third edition of the Momentum Technology Conference 2019 will kick off at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi on Tuesday (April 30), according to a press release issued by the organisers.

The annual two-day event, billed as "Pakistan’s largest technology and startup conference", is "renowned for being the single-largest platform in Pakistan to bring together startups, investors, technologists, industry luminaries, experts and large corporate as well as tech heavyweights", the organisers said.

The conference's agenda comprises a Startup and Technology Expo designed to showcase concepts and ideas on the future of cutting-edge technology.

According to a press release, the conference will also feature a line-up of speaker sessions, panel discussions, workshops and a plethora of networking opportunities for young entrepreneurs to interact with mentors, potential investors and discuss new avenues of business and the ways forward for scalability and nationwide economic growth.

"The Momentum Tech Conference was conceived of as a platform that understands the Pakistani market and has the capacity to revolutionise the eco-system to support Pakistani entrepreneurs," explained its founder Amir Jafri.

"To support this vision, professionals from diverse backgrounds and with decades of experience have come together under the Momentum umbrella to share their knowledge and help map out a path to a better tomorrow."

The organisers say that the 2019 edition of the conference will also see the launch of the "Startup 100 Competition". Virtual Force X+, a New York-based technology acceleration platform which helps create next generation software products, has partnered with Momentum to facilitate the competition.

"Startup 100 is a unique launch pad for young entrepreneurs who have been waiting for that first big opportunity," the organisers said.

About 100 startups, shortlisted out of a pool of applicants, will be pitching their ideas to a panel of industry experts in the days leading up to the main Conference.

The final three will be awarded cash prizes of $8,000, $3,500, and $1,500 respectively — sums that can serve as seed capital for these companies. In addition, the inducted startups will get the opportunity to showcase their products or services on the Momentum 2019 exhibition floor.

"Even though we are seeing growth in ‘startup culture’ in Pakistan and immense potential within the domains of creativity and innovation, there remains a gap between concepts and funding," says Jafri.

"There is a need to bring these young entrepreneurs into the limelight so that they gain access to much-needed resources. Who knows, there could be a future Fortune 500 company hiding in their midst."

The Momentum Technology Conference is also tapping into a "currently red-hot area of development" with its Fintech Hackathon.

Developers, designers, and entrepreneurs will come together to create new customer experiences and revenue models by leveraging Pakistan’s digital payment ecosystem, the organisers said.

The Fintech Hackathon will provide startups an opportunity to devise innovative products and services for payments, e-commerce, bookings, and digital mapping.

Meanwhile, the speaker line-up and partners for Momentum 2019 not only includes big names from Pakistan’s tech and corporate industries such as Careem, Jazz, and the Hashoo Group, but also features names from international giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Facebook.

Furthermore, the conference will also provide an opportunity to connect potential employees with employers through its Career Expo, where Pakistan’s best corporates can meet students seeking to work with top-ranked tech companies.

The event is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday with a musical performance.