The third edition of Pakistan’s leading entrepreneurial and innovation conference, 021Disrupt, was organised by The Nest I/O on November 2nd & 3rd at a hotel in Karachi; the conference aimed to connect local and international investors, innovators, and tech pioneers with the entrepreneurial community of Pakistan.

This year 021Disrupt witnessed a footprint of 1100+ entrepreneurs, investors, influencers, professionals and students attending the conference from all over Pakistan. The speaker line-up included global voices from the USA, UAE, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam among other countries. More than 600 startups from across the country engaged with 23 investors in over 200+ office hours.

There were major announcements at the conference that aim to influence the investment climate in the coming years.

Investment announcements at 021Disrupt 2019:

1. Airlift: Pakistan's Airlift secured a $12M Series A financing, led by First Round Capital, a leading Silicon Valley firm.

2. TelloTalk: Pakistan’s first homegrown messenger closed their Seed Funding Round of $1.2 million led by Spark Labs and multiple global investors who are investing in Pakistan for the first time.

3. Swvl: The company announced that it would invest $25 million in Pakistan in the next two years to mobilise 500,000 commuters, create 10,000 jobs per year, fund pre-seed startups working in the mobility space, and build an off-shore support office.

4. PriceOye: Closed a seed funding round of $450,000 led by Fatima Ventures, Artistic Ventures and Kinetico.

5. Queno: Oman Technology Fund closed Seed Funding Round of $100,000 in Queno, an ed-tech startup that provides a communication solution for parents and teachers.

6. Find My Adventure: Announced acquisition of K-Town Rooms and the launch of 100 FMA Rooms across Pakistan with a flat rent.

HBL, via COO Saghir Mufti, announced its Open Banking initiative and the launch of an Investment Fund for FinTech Startups by January 2020.

Rabeel Warraich, Founder & Managing Director Sarmayacar also launched the Venture Capital Association of Pakistan (VCAP), an association of 12 VCs fueling the investment landscape of Pakistan.

The conference hosted talks and panel discussions addressing diverse themes of engineering, technology, investments, user design, civic innovation, mobility and transport, tourism and agritech.

Panels at 021Disrupt 2019

The 'Cash to Scale' panel hosted local and global investors who have invested in Pakistan and explored the investment climate of the local ecosystem. 021Disrupt also hosted the biggest Mobility & Transport panel putting all competition together with disruptors from major ride-hailing services including: Roshni Rides, Careem, Swvl, Bykea, and Airlift.

In a houseful session, Wasim Akram, Shaneira Akram, Shehzad Roy, Aminah Sheikh, and Hina Khawaja engaged in a conversation moderated by Shehryaar Taseer to use the soft power of influence and project a positive image of Pakistan to create social impact. First movers of the fintech industry in Pakistan also mapped the path to the future of fintech in the 'Banking on Fintech' panel.

“If we are to make sure that Pakistan is going to become one of the greatest startup destinations, we will have to do it together, and collaboration is where we’ve got to focus. 021Disrupt is our attempt at doing that. We started it not to hold another conference, but to have conversations, to decide what is important, to bring relevant people into the country, and to facilitate the growth of the startup ecosystem, because I feel that the time is right”, said Jehan Ara in her closing speech.

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