Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pakistani Entrepreneurs Top VC Charts in Silicon Valley

Latest funding of Ashar Aziz's FireEye and Zia Yusuf's Streetline rank #1 and #4 among top 5 VC deals in Silicon Valley announced in January 2013, according to Silicon Valley Business Journal.


FireEye is riding high on a wave of growing cyber security concerns amidst increasing cyber attacks being reported almost daily from around the globe. FireEye's founder Asgar Aziz is among the top recognized experts in the field of Internet and computer security. With the recent $50 million round from top investors, the company has raised $100 million to date. The new funding comes from new and existing investors — including Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs, Juniper Networks, Silicon Valley Bank, and others.

Streetline is offering smartphone applications to help drivers find the increasingly scarce parking spots in crowded places. The company bills itself as "the leading provider of smart parking solutions to cities, garages, airports, universities and other private parking providers". The company has raised $25 million in January, 2013 from True Ventures, with participation by new investors Qualcomm Ventures and Citi and existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners and Fontinalis Partners. The company has now raised a total of $40 million, and it says it recently obtained a $25 million credit facility from Citi, too.

Another Pakistani-American who has been in the news is Rayid Ghani who served as the Chief Scientist in President Obama's re-election campaign organization. Before joining the Obama Campaign, Ghani worked for Accenture as Chief Scientist  and developed tools to mine mountains of private data of client corporations to find statistical patterns that could forecast consumer behavior. Instead of just using Facebook for posting messages and tracking its followers’ feelings, Ghani's team turned social media into a tool for efficiently recruiting the human resources it needed leading into the election’s home stretch.

Using Ghani's tools, the Obama campaign was able to match up supporters’ friends' profiles with voting lists and decide how it should reach out to supporters to reach their friends through micro-targeting. If someone was going to spread a message to 10 people, the campaign wanted to ensure they reached 10 people most likely to take actions such as donate money, get active knocking on doors or even to switch sides.

Pakistani-Americans Ashar, Ghani, Zia and many other entrepreneurs and professionals like them from Asia represent a dramatic shift in   Silicon Valley's racial mix over the last few  decades. I have been a witness to this historic change. When I arrived here to join Intel in 1981, there were few non-whites in the Valley. In fact, I was the only nonwhite person in a picture of the six-member award winning Intel 80386 CPU design team which was published by the PC Magazine in 1988.


Stdg: L to R: Riaz Haq, Jan Prak, Gene Hill, Pat Gelsinger, John Crawford     Stg: Dave Vannier


My experience of the demographic changes in this high-tech valley is not just anecdotal. It's supported by data compiled by the local San Jose Mercury newspaper in 2010. The data shows that 49% of Intel employees are now Asian, a full 7% more than whites. In Silicon Valley, the difference is even more pronounced with Asians accounting for 53.9% of the employees versus 37.6% white workers.
 

 With Asians accounting for just 15.5% of the high-tech work force nationally, Silicon Valley's high-tech racial mix is also very different from the rest of the country. Silicon valley's employee pool also differs in terms of under-representation of Blacks, Hispanics and women relative the national averages.

 Among Asian-Americans, Pakistani-Americans are the 7th largest community in America, according to a report titled "A Community of Contrasts Asian Americans in the United States: 2011" published by Asian-American Center For Advancing Justice.  Pakistani-American population has doubled from 204,309 in 2000 to 409,163 in 2010, the second largest percentage increase after Bangladeshis' 157% increase in the same period.

The total fertility rate in the United States is now at 2.06, just enough to maintain the current level of US population. It's possible mainly due to the history of relatively liberal US immigration policy. If US immigration policy is tightened in response to pressures from various labor organizations and the traditional anti-immigration groups, the US fertility rate is likely to dip and hurt the US economy which needs more workers to pay for the retiree benefits of the growing population of senior citizens. Already, many US multinational corporations have added 1.5 million workers to their payrolls in Asia and the Pacific region from 1999 to 2009, and 477,500 workers in Latin America, according to US Commerce Dept data as reported by the Wall Street Journal. If the businesses can not find workers in the United States, they are more likely to continue to accelerate moving jobs elsewhere, depriving the US government the revenue it needs to balance its budget.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Edible Arrangements: Pakistani-American's Success Story

Pakistani-American Elected Mayor

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

US Firms Adding Jobs Overseas 

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistanis Study Abroad

Pakistan's Youth Bulge

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest

Pakistani-American NFL Team Owner

Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs Catch the Wave

Pakistani Graduation Rate Higher Than India's

6 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday report of a Silicon-Valley based Pakistani-American VC Faysal Suhail's Pak visit:

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has great opportunity to tap the true potential of Venture Capital for job creation and acceleration of economic growth on sustainable grounds. “Pakistan is having potential as well as talent to promote venture capital to strengthen its economy,” Faysal Sohail, Managing Director of CMEA Capital in San Francisco USA told APP in an interview.
The American experts was accompanied by Matthew Boland, Deputy Press Officer-Deputy Spokesman of US Embassy in Islamabad and Ambassador Shahid Kamal and Advisor Science, Technology and Innovation Organization (STIO).
It is pertinent to mention here that Faysal Sohail is currently visiting Pakistan to explore venture capital potential in various fields of economy with special focus on energy sector.
He was of the view that although venture capital was a new idea for Pakistan but it has the potential to boost the country’s economy by utilizing the vast talent of its young generation.
He said that complying with Islamic ideology, Venture Capital is risk-based capital for entrepreneurship with prospects of good returns on investments.
Faysal Sohail said the venture capital sector was investment-friendly as risk was shared by both investor and owner of the project. It provides an opportunity of sharing capital and skills through a mutual venture, he added. Replying to a question, Faysal said in Pakistan the energy sectors, including solar and other alternative energies, web, software and commerce, including e-commerce, and third generation mobile technologies were the major sectors which could boost national economy and create job opportunities.
He said during the last 20 years, 100 per cent new jobs created in the United States were through venture capital, so this sector had great potential for Pakistan also.
“Venture capital is like life-blood for various companies”, he remarked.
Replying to another question, he said Pakistan and the United States have a lot of potential for collaboration in the field of venture capital and in this regard Pak-US Business Council and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) could play an important role.
The venture capital expert stressed the need for highlighting the new idea of venture capital in Pakistan so that people as well as the entrepreneurs take optimum benefit of the important sector.
“Since the economic growth is driven by small and medium size enterprises, the venture capital can play an important role to boost the economy on sustainable grounds,” he added.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/02/23/news/profit/pakistan-urged-to-tap-potential-of-venture-capital-for-sustainable-growth/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on academia promoting entrepreneurship among students:

LAHORE: Government College University Lahore’s Economics Department, in collaboration with Entrepreneurial Development and Advisory Services (EDAS), Pakistan, organised a one-day seminar, on the “Role of educational institutions in entrepreneurship ecosystems”.

The seminar was attended by academia, entrepreneurs, public sector representatives and students. Speakers included renowned academics, notable business personalities and organic entrepreneurs of Pakistan. SPEL Group CEO Almas Hyder, a founding member of EDAS, introduced the topic of the seminar and spoke succinctly about the need to bridge the gap between industry and academia to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. He stressed the role of government as a facilitator of knowledge-based interaction between the university and business so that research and ideas could flow seamlessly and become economic value by means of the market. He highlighted the role EDAS had played in collaboration with GC University’s Economics Department in the introduction of the Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and SME Management. The purpose of the course of study, he shared with the audience, was to inculcate entrepreneurial spirit in students and underscore the role played by SMEs in fostering innovation in Pakistan. Fifteen percent course graduates went on to become entrepreneurs, he said, and the goal was to turn ten percent of Ravians into entrepreneurs every year.

Amer Hashmi, himself a successful entrepreneur with global experience in business creation and management and currently the Adviser to Rector National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and President, NUST Global Think Tank Network (GTTN), delivered the keynote address. His address presented a comprehensive kaleidoscope of various successful initiatives taken by NUST to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. NUST’s Corporate Advisory Council (CAC), he informed the audience, was the key body in the university for consolidating the triple helix interaction and collaboration between university, business and academia.

CAC had played a key part in bridging different NUST schools with relevant industries through a unique organisational structure that ensured two-way flow of feedback and information between NUST and industry centred on industry-commissioned R&D at NUST. CAC partners included top domestic and international business and corporate entities like Indus Motors, Millat Group, Huawei Technologies, Oracle, Microsoft, Allied Bank, Interactive Group, etc.

Hashmi explained GTTN was a key initiative of NUST aimed at establishing policy research and knowledge partnerships with renowned academic and non-academic think tanks in China, US, Russia, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The first of the planned series of think tank collaborations with Tsinghua University, Beijing, had been successfully functioning since early 2012. The vision of GTTN was to create a pool of viable policy options in critical sectors of national socio-economic development which were also regionally and globally applicable with the potential to create peace, prosperity and harmony in the region.

NUST Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was actively helping commercialise technology produced from university research and had established an advanced business incubation centre that housed companies involved in cutting edge technology business market globally. NUST had recently completed the pre-feasibility for its National Science and Technology Park (NSTP), the first proper university-hosted science park in Pakistan ...


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\13\story_13-3-2013_pg13_6

Riaz Haq said...

Lots of places want to become the "next Silicon Valley." But that's much easier said than done, according to a new study from the Kauffman Foundation.

The study compares the nation's top 20 large metros in terms of high-tech start-up density in 1990 and 2010. San Jose leads in both periods. And although the order has shifted a bit, every single one of the top 10 metro areas in 2010 was among the top 20 in 1990. ...Only five of the top 20 in 2010 — Portland, Wilmington, Phoenix, Kansas City and New Orleans — weren't among the most tech-dense cities twenty years ago. Even metros that have begun to climb the high tech ranks recently, like Kansas City and Portland, really "owe their emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems to many years of spinoffs and entrepreneurial spawning," the report notes.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/09/long-history-americas-leading-high-tech-hubs/6774/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Yahoo Finance news on Pakistani start-up Convo getting $5 million from US VC Morgenthaler Ventures:

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Convo, a cloud-based collaboration service, today announced a $5 million Series-A investment from Morgenthaler Ventures. This financing is the company's first investment by an institutional venture capital firm. The funding will be used to evolve its offerings, introduce their service on more platforms, and accelerate user reach and growth.

Convo is a multi-platform service designed to allow teams to share and work together simply and naturally by combining discussions with messaging, images, docs, presentations and PDFs.

Since 2012, Convo has seen exceptionally high levels of engagement in their paying accounts, with an average monthly-active over daily-active ratio of 75%, which is noticeably higher than even the 30% of most social games.

Convo is available across all major platforms and has launched versions of its software for Windows, Mac, Web, iPhone, and Android.

"We built our company with slim resources and a small team, and therefore are excited about our prospects with Morgenthaler Ventures in our corner. They have helped companies at our stage and with our enterprise focus grow exponentially," said Faizan Buzdar, founder and CEO of Convo. "Our immediate priority is to use the new infusion of capital to continue delivering a service that meets the ease-of-use, reliability, and security demands of our customers."

Said Rebecca Lynn, Partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, "We have been amazed at the level of engagement we have seen from Convo's early customers, including many global brands. These organizations won't settle for inconsistent, light-weight solutions. Multinational organizations have selected Convo after putting them through a battery of security tests. There are collaboration services you use to run chit chat, and there are those that run your company. Convo is relied on for the latter."

"Looking across our portfolio, there is a common trait amongst our entrepreneurs, one of extraordinary tenacity and vision, which Faizan has in spades," said Alex Nigg, Venture Partner, Morgenthaler Ventures. "Faizan started his business in Pakistan, moved it to San Francisco, and overcame considerable odds to attract a list of loyal customers from around the world."

About Convo

Convo (www.convo.com) is designed to help any group of people working together to achieve great things. Convo allows creative and innovative teams to easily have the real-time conversations needed to advance a cutting-edge campaign, launch a new product or break the latest news story. Convo, an interactive workspace, is made for people who thrive on the creative process and who want to "get there first." The company (formerly Scrybe) has recently reincorporated in the United States and is headquartered in San Francisco with an offshore office in Pakistan.



http://finance.yahoo.com/news/convo-secures-series-funding-morgenthaler-113000482.html

Kamal said...

It's been a while. Saw your name mentioned in Express Tribune, though I am sure many others would have told you about it by now. But I thought just in case, I should also reach out.

"One such name is Ashar Aziz, who recently won his cyber security firm, FireEye, an initial public offering (IPO) at Nasdaq stock exchange worth $304 million...Another proud Pakistani in the Silicon Valley is Riaz Haq, who was one of the six engineers who comprised the award winning Intel 80386 CPU design team. For his services to the computing industry, specifically the 80386 family of Intel processors, he was recognised as the Person of the Year by PC Magazine, apart from being on the faculty of Rutgers University and NED University and co-founding DynArray Corp."

http://tribune.com.pk/story/645867/proud-compatriots-pakistani-tech-stars-make-it-big-in-silicon-valley/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's TechViewAsia on start-up incubator in Lahore, Pakistan:

With a country that has been plagued by various negative connotations in recent years and has been notoriously labelled for being the most dangerous place on earth, it is certainly a surprising fact that Plan9 has created a niche for itself as the most reliable gateway of Pakistani tech industry at national and international levels.

Pakistan has bagged itself an incubator which is competing against time to be the greatest and largest tech/ business incubator not only in the country but also in the Asian region. Punjab Information Technology Board took the plunge and Dr. Umar Saif pulled the right strings to drive the creative chaos along the right direction.

It has incubated around 30 startups over the past one year, 20 have survived and 10 have failed. Some have reached milestones while a few reached to the conclusion that entrepreneurship might not be their cup of tea.

“Tech entrepreneurship is such a powerful concept that if inculcated meticulously can totally rebrand Pakistan and Plan9 is just one such stepping stone,” says Nabeel A. Qadeer who heads this initiative and has huge yet promising plans for 2014.

Currently, Plan9 is acting as a haven for early stage startups that are in dire need of a push to get into the market. Its vast network of mentors from all over the world who are fully committed towards the cause and vision of the incubation programme have facilitated the process in numerous ways.

Why the Need for Plan9?

Plan9 envisions to lay foundations of, and developing an entrepreneurial eco-system, to support the staggering economy of Pakistan. A multi-dimensional strategy has been adopted to achieve this.

A significant percentage of the literate population leaves the country as a consequence of ‘Brain Drain’; by providing economic opportunities to them along with mentoring of white-collared employees of the tech industry, Plan9 aims to retain outstanding IT talents in the country.

The long-term goal of investment by the provincial government is to invite job creators instead of job seekers with the intention of bringing equilibrium and stability, even sustainability, to the job market.

The working model of this incubation programme is different than that of top rated business incubators globally; neither incubation fee is charged for the services provided; nor is equity sought for investment. All facilities are given free of cost for a period of 6 months in every cycle.

Meet the Startups

The third cohort of Plan9 is bursting with immense energy and amazing ideas. Here is what they are working on and their products cater to the needs of local and international markets simultaneously:

Apppulp: Measure a video game’s quality by using one major factor: its ability to engage users over and again.

Appography: Mobile app ‘Vivid’ enables users to tackle customer service issues—by “ending the endless wait and annoyance of a customer service call”

Tourplanner.pk: Online travel portal caters to the inbound needs of Pakistani travelers.

Bu Bio Tech: Develops prosthetic hands that work on neural networks of the human body.

OneStep Solutions: Reinvents driving around smartphone to unlock real-time vehicle information.

Multiplex Pakistan: Develops online specialty stores focusing primarily on baby products.

404 Solutions: Develops a GPS enabled bus tracking system.

edakhla.com: A communication portal between students and universities.

Nutrionize: Developing an online directory helping people identify, connect and review local doctors in their areas.

Court Piece: Development of online versions of Pakistan’s traditional social games.

Pak CNC: CNC Water Jet cutting-machine for industrial purposes.

FANZ Solution: Online ticketing of bus travel.

ServeMe: An online service to connect blue-collar workers to clients.


http://www.techviewasia.com/plan9-rebranding-pakistan