OPEN Toronto Event

I had the pleasure to speak at a panel about entrepreneurship this past weekend, and here are some notes.

The event was held by OPEN (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America) and IAAC (IBA Alumni Committe)

The main speaker at the Event was Raghib Hussain, who founded Cavium, which was acquired by Marvell for $6Bn

the key messages were 1) build a great team 2) solve a real problem and 3) believe in yourself

Survival: what does it take to make it in a tech startup?

90% of startups fail. Only half of new Canadian startups survive past five years and a tiny percentage become global success stories. Heard from a diverse panel of tech entrepreneurs and founders on what it takes to build and scale a technology venture

Panelists:

  1. Ali Nawab SVP, Product at Sentiance, Past Founder and CEO of Kiwi.ai
  2. Maryam Mohiuddin Founder and Director Social Innovation Lab  
  3. Ahmad Iqbal, Founder – Scout

Program:

1. Ali Nawab SVP, Product at Sentiance, Past Founder and CEO of Kiwi.ai

Ali is an entrepreneur & angel investor in machine learning who learns by doing. He founded Kiwi.ai which built software used by many of the world’s leading companies such as Intel and IBM Watson. Kiwi was acquired by Sentiance where he leads Product & Technology. He writes about technology & Pakistani startups, and mentors entrepreneurs through Techstars, NEST and Founders Institute. Ali has a comp sci degree from FAST, an MBA from Ivey and worked in management consulting with Booz & Company in Dubai, and Deloitte Consulting in Toronto.

2. Maryam Mohiuddin Founder and Director Social Innovation Lab  


Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed is the Founder and Director of the Social Innovation Lab,which hosts Pakistan’s first social enterprise incubator called ‘The Hatchery’. The SIL functions as a hub for Social Innovation in Pakistan and beyond, with a unique community engagement & consulting wing that combines sustainable development with concepts such as regenerative design and appropriate technology.

In 2016, Maryam co-founded ‘Daftarkhwan’, a human-centered set of co-working and community spaces across Lahore. She is an Acumen and Laureate Global fellow, who also happens to be a runaway lawyer and received an LL.M. with a specialisation in International Law from the University of California, Berkeley.

3. Ahmad Iqbal, Founder – Scout

Ahmad is a serial entrepreneur getting his start dropshipping promotional products in university for companies like Ernst & Young, Telus, and TEDx events. From there him and his business partner pivoted to developing ticketing and registration software for tradeshows which they eventually folded. During a brief stint in consulting, Ahmad returned to entrepreneurship by starting a bidet ecommerce store called Nadeef, from which he started building ecommerce tools for other online merchants. Today, him and his small team at HMScommerce.com have built three apps with over 16,000 businesses using their tools.

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