Pakistan’s premier technology conference, Momentum, is just around the corner. With only two previous editions under its belt, Momentum has already become the platform of choice for bringing together young entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, and academics all under one roof. Given the Conference’s previous success, the Pakistani tech and start-up community is abuzz as to what this year’s event will have on offer.
Indeed, there can be no doubt that the Momentum Tech Conference launched at just the right time. Start-up culture is growing rapidly in Pakistan, with more and more Pakistani youth turning towards entrepreneurism. With 64% of the country’s population under the age of 30 years, there can be no doubt that the country holds immense potential for creativity and innovation. This year’s Conference seeks to tap into that raw talent with the debut of the Start-up 100 event.
Start-up 100 is being facilitated by the Virtual Force X+ programme, a New York-based technology acceleration platform which helps to create next generation software products. The event will see 100 start-ups, selected out of a pool of applicants, pitch their ideas to a jury of experts; the top ten start-ups will pitch their concepts to the jury before a live audience on the main stage, with the final three being awarded monetary prizes of US$8000, US$3500 and US$1500 respectively. However, the draw here is far more than the monetary award – these start-ups will have the unique opportunity to interact with venture capitalists, angel investors, and incubators and accelerators, allowing them the access and ability to network that they might previously have lacked.
Incubators and accelerators are often the birthplaces of the ever-elusive Unicorns; those rare start-ups that have the ability to grow into billion dollar companies. Both provide entrepreneurs with much-needed early support; incubators tend to focus more on innovation and building new business models, while accelerators work more towards scaling and growing existing companies. Creating formals linkages and opening up new lines of communication between start-ups and the rest of the eco-sphere is a key component of growing Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Momentum serves this purpose perfectly by ensuring that budding Pakistani entrepreneurs gain access to the right kind of engineering resources, product designs, investments, and working environments that will enable them to compete with the rest of the world.
Of course, funding remains one of the biggest hurdles faced by start-ups; especially given the lack of a properly regulated and formulated venture capital and private equity market. To this end, the Momentum Tech Conference seeks to connect start-ups with the various sources of funding currently operating in the country – from venture capital funds to angel investors. There is no dearth of investment capital in the country; Momentum acts as the bridge between investment capital and the plethora of ideas that have the potential to rise. In its previous two editions, Momentum saw many start-ups initiate their work by bootstrapping, and finding seed funding through connections made at the Conference. This year’s Momentum takes that a step further with the Start-up 100’s cash prizes, which act as seed investments for the winning start-ups.
Networking remains at the heart of any conference, and Momentum does not lag in this regard. Corporate dinners and roundtable discussions remain a key feature of the Conference. C-Suite executives from leading corporates, as well as high profile public sector officials will be in attendance, allowing all delegates to mingle and interact and exchange ideas and build lasting relationships. Attendees will also have an opportunity to listen to a wide range of esteemed speakers; previous years saw the likes of current Prime Minister Imran Khan, CEO Careem Mudassir Sheikha, Microsoft’s Chrystele Dumont, and John Austin from Amazon Web Services. Additionally, the Conference saw some well-known organisations partner with it, including Hashoo Group, HBL, USAID, Abacus, and HBL. This year’s speaker line-up promises to be even better!
The two-day extravaganza will wrap-up with a music concert, arranged exclusively for the delegates of the Conference. Last year saw ‘Call’ band perform at the event; this year, another leading artist will take the stage to unleash a wave of entertainment. So do not miss out this opportunity to educate yourself and engage with some leading industry leaders and innovators. Momentum Tech Conference has officially partnered with easytickets for the ease of those looking to attend. We hope to see you there!