Just like last year, #021disrupt has raised the bar to a whole new level and etched itself as a never-to-miss event in the Technology and Startups events’ space (Tweet this). Lucky for those – who missed it – Clarity is here to do a roundup of all that went down in this 2 day event.


021Disrupt 2019 was the third iteration of Pakistan’s most reputable incubation centers, The NEST I/O. The event has the privilege of being Pakistan’s leading tech entrepreneurial conference, so early in terms of the number of iterations. The tech-savvy and gracefully mentored tech conference hosted over 1000+ innovators, 600+ startups, and 20+ potential investors. These statistics, alone, are a testament to the eminent technical stature of this conference.

The NestIO 021Disrupt

The Start by Big Bird – Ms. Jehan Ara

It is an indisputable fact that to kick-off an event of such great magnitude, you need to have someone who can do justice to the introductory speech. Lucky for the 021Disrupt’s team, they did not have to look far to fetch someone as deserving as Ms. Jehan Ara, (Founder, The NEST I/O Technology Incubator & Accelerator). Ms. Jehan (President of P@SHAis labeled as The Big Bird in the tech community, and rightly so! She has proven to be an incredible asset for Pakistan’s Tech sector.

She was extremely heartened to welcome the uber crowd of 1000+ disrupters, entrepreneurs, mentors, influencers, investors, and international speakers.

The NestIO 021Disrupt

Key Takeaways

While the entire entrepreneurial conference was a big success and radiated loads of useful information for the participants, here is some of the news that deserve #prioritized #attention.

Have a look at some of the key takeaways from the conference:

# NetEquity Internet Accessibility Plan Announcement

According to detailed research, globally less than half of the world’s population has access to the internet, even in 2019. As depressing as these stats are, there are no significant measures being taken to change this fact. However, NetEquity has an interesting yet simple plan to make some changes in the said domain. The organization believes that with the effective usage of Fiber optics and a tangible plan, it will be able to make the internet accessible to every human in Pakistan, by 2023 and in the entire world by 2028.

The NestIO 021Disrupt

The organization plans to provide 10 million kilometers of fiber in the entire world, and their plan is to open-source its methods for different people to acquire and implement.

This means that the next decade can prove to be extremely fruitful for startups as internet accessibility will witness a significant rise, which will result in an increased amount of customers.

# HBL Announcement for Startup Fundings

Habib Bank Limited Pakistan was the Ecosystem Facilitation Partner at the 021Disrupt 2019. Being an integral part of the nurturing and “adolescent” entrepreneurship culture, HBL announced its Open Banking and accessibility to a number of APIs. This step will allow different startups to link themselves according to their business models with HBL, with great ease.

HBL is shifting the banking paradigm by changing from a controlled business model to a more distributed business model, providing its users with extended control. (Tweet this)

Furthermore, HBL announced the launch of an Investment Fund for FinTech Startups as early as January 2020.

# SWVL Investment Announcement

SWVL, an Egypt-based, bus transportation company announced to enter Pakistan with an investment of $25 Million USD in the next 2 years creating an estimated 10,000 jobs. (Tweet this)

021Disrupt The Nest IO


# Launch of Venture Capital Association of Pakistan (VCAP)

Sarmayacar being launched in just 2016, has developed as a leading Venture Capital firm in Pakistan. This shows the unawareness of the importance of Venture Capitalists in Pakistan’s Tech sector. To cater to this and to open the flood gates of funding for emerging startups, Rabeel Warraich, Founder & Managing Director Sarmayacar launched the Venture Capital Association of Pakistan (VCAP). VCAP will be funded by 12 VCs with a singular motive to revolutionize the investment landscape of Pakistan.

Funding Announcements ($$$)


Airlift brought a wave of surprises with news of receiving Pakistan’s highest-ever Series A funding, a total of $25 Million by First Round Capital.

Find My Adventure

Find My Adventure has developed to be Pakistan’s most accurate Travel Portal that assists tourists touring anywhere across Pakistan. The leading travel organization announced its acquisition of K-Town Rooms alongside the launch of 100 FMA Rooms across the country. The organization claims to have maintained parallel standards throughout the country with extremely reasonable prices.


PriceOye provides the lowest electronics item prices available in the country to ensure nobody cons you again. The price monitoring platform received a seed funding of $450,000 from Fatima Ventures, Artistic Ventures, and Kinetico.


Oman Technology Fund – aka – OTF has the sole purpose to be the leading innovation hub in the MENA region. It aims to showcase the capabilities and strengths of Oman’s top economic players on the world map. In an attempt to spread awareness, OTF invested in yet another Pakistani startup by closing a seed funding round of $100,000 in Queno. It is a tech platform focused around educational technology which claims to be the bridge between the gap of parents and teachers.


TelloTalk had one of the most surprising announcements of receiving seed-funding of $1.2 Million by Spark Labs and multiple global investors. The astonishing part is the involvement of global investors who are investing in Pakistan for the first time, in an application idea that is not relatively unique.

Panel Discussions

# Cash-to-Scale: Investor Panel

As the name suggests, the first panel discussion consisted of the hands-on knowledge for emerging startups on how to approach their targeted investors. The panelists ranged from local and global investors which split the monetary discussions into various directions due to their differing approaches and mindsets. As a result, the startups got to know a handful amount of information about the right time and the correct measures that need to be taken before a professional pitch.

The best part of the discussion was that all the panelists unanimously agreed that Pakistan’s tech sector has developed the tendency to attract potential investments and Pakistani startups have started to be prominent on the world map. (Tweet this)


# Moving Millions: Transport & Mobility Panel

The Second Panel Discussion at the 021Disrupt 2019 included the startups in the transportation arena, namely, Roshni Rides, Careem, Airlift, Swvl, & Bykea.

Transportation had always been a problem for Pakistan which seemed unsolvable for almost all the governments. It was the point when the government totally ignored the traffic issues in the country which resulted in the arrival of private transportation solutions. However, with the amount of support the transport-based startups received, it didn’t take long for them to transform from a mere want to a necessity for the country’s traffic issues.


Careem and Bykea were the two experienced transport-based startups in the panel with Roshni Rides, Swvl, and Airlift being the emerging startups in the said territory. The startup leaders explained why they were being successful by laser-focusing on smaller domains yet solving the issue completely which cemented their position in the country’s current traffic scenario.

The emphasis of the discussion was on the fact that:

“You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.”

# Promoting Pakistan on the Global Stage – Soft Power Panel

While the 021Disrupt 2019 was purely an entrepreneurship conference, a stir of abstraction freshened the atmosphere of the tech-savvy conference. With a star-studded panel, the Soft Power Panel initiated with the agenda of “Promoting Pakistan on the Global Stage.”


While many people believe that a celebrity’s approach towards the portrayal of Pakistan’s positive image might not be the best way, it is one of the most common ways. Therefore, the panelists did their best to elaborate on what practices do they follow to showcase their country as a happy, merry place to live in.

Shaniera Akram (CEO, The Akram Foundationexplained the amount of dismay that was caused to her when she came across the Clifton Beach incident. She emphasized how it is high time that the citizens of Pakistan owned up to what they were doing to pollute the image of their beloved country.

Shehzad Roy (Founder, Zindagi Trustshowed how difficult it was for him to successfully implement a number of educational reforms in the country’s course outline. He mentioned something that resonated with the majority of the crowd:

“We have achieved the freedom of speech. We are yet to achieve freedom after speech.”


Among all the panelists, the singular mutually-agreed statement was that:

It is the responsibility of every citizen to work for the betterment of Pakistan’s positive image to create a positiveimpact.
 (Tweet this)

Fireside Chats

Another great segment of the event, where the panelists discussed, “How Cities Can Promote Innovation?” & “Agritech – Pakistan’s Untapped Potential“.



Mudassir Sheikha – CEO Careem

“The Man. The Myth. The Legend.”

These words can surely do justice to Mr. Mudassir Sheikha (CEO, Careemwho has revolutionized the startup landscape of Pakistan. In his exclusive talk in the 021Disrupt, Mr. Sheikha elaborated on the initial struggles of the company when they initiated their services in Pakistan.

He tried to explain the level of disconnection and distrust people used to have in Careem. But, as the legends say: “Time is the best healer.” He didn’t give up on the singular dream of eradicating the traffic problems as much as an individual can. This resulted in the creation of an ecosystem, a system that was primarily based on the basic domain of a taxi-service being transformed into a full-fledged ride-hailing service including a multitude of capabilities.

Listening to success stories of startup gurus is as cliche as it could get, but Mr. Sheikha walked the audience through with his failures too. This set him apart from his competitors and earned him the label of The Gamechanger in Pakistan’s Entrepreneurship landscape.

mudasir Careem


Workshop on ‘Mindfulness for Innovators’ with Noorulain Masood
A ‘Googler’s Guide to Community Building’ with Saad Hamid
‘Using Storytelling & Virality’ to Build Better Marketing Campaign with Muzamil Hasan.


The event was yet another success story for Jehan Ara, the NestIO, and all the several volunteers who made it happen. They deserve more than a pat on back. #YouMadeUsProud #YesWeCan

NestIO 021disrupt

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