The fourth edition of 021Disrupt, Pakistan’s premier technology and entrepreneurship conference by The Nest I/O, which ended on Saturday saw the participation of more than 7,300 innovators from both Pakistan and abroad and major announcements by tech companies.
The conference, which was held virtually this year because of the pandemic, offered increased accessibility and witnessed more than 7,300 entrepreneurs, investors, influencers, professionals and students who attended from all over the country and even outside Pakistan.
“Over 65 international and local disruptors shared the next big ideas that will change the face of tech and entrepreneurship in Pakistan in the coming years. Moreover, over 550 startups engaged with 31 local and international investors and mentors [over the six-day conference],” The Nest I/O shared in a statement.
The speaker lineup was joined by impressive international voices including Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist Canva, Mary Grove, Managing Partner at Bread and Butter Ventures, Chris Yeh, Co-founder of the Global Scaling Academy, Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and Co-founder of Careem, Durdana Achakzai, Group Director, Digital Transformation and Chief Digital Officer of Vodaphone UK, William Bao Bean, General Partner at SOSV and several other venture capitalists.
Pakistani speakers included Muhammad Aurangzeb, President and CEO at HBL, Ghias Khan, CEO and President at Engro Corporation, Amir Paracha, CEO and Chairman of Unilever Pakistan, Muneeb Maayr, Founder and CEO Bykea, Rabeel Warraich, Founder and CEO Sarmayacar, Aatif Aawan, Founding Managing Partner at Indus Valley Capital and Mashhood Rastgar, Chief Technology Officer at SastaTicket.pk.
Major announcements at 021Disrupt:
- Indus Valley Capital launched applications for the Indus Valley Wapistani Track, a dedicated programme for returning Pakistanis
- Lakson Investments Venture Capital lead $1,000,000 Pre-Series A round of funding of Roomy.pk — a lodging and hospitality startup
- Fatima Gobi Ventures announced the first close of its $20 million debut fund, Techxila Fund I, investing in SafePay and Invest Hub, graduated cohorts of The Nest I/O
- I2i Ventures and Sarmayacar launched Early Stage Investors’ Guide for Pakistan, a playbook for how to invest in local startups
- 10Pearls acquired TwoDots, a Karachi-based design studio
This year’s edition also discussed the impact of the pandemic on Pakistan’s entrepreneurial environment and how it demonstrated resilience and growth.
Founder of Nest I/O Jahan Ara said that at the start, the organisers were wary of the virtual format and wondered whether participants would be able to enjoy a packed schedule of online sessions. However, she said holding the conference completely virtually this year was a “very successful experiment”, adding “the kind of engagement that happened during the past six days is unbelievable.”
“The speakers we were able to bring on board from all around the world, the valuable content they shared, made it all truly worth the immense effort,” she concluded.
President HBL Muhammad Aurangzeb, while talking about 021Disrupt, said: “The core theme of this conference has always been to learn from each other. The leaders of the future will find that the pure tech element of a digital revolution will not be the difficult part any longer.”