Karandaaz Pakistan, LUMS LCE hold ‘FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016’

Karandaaz Pakistan, Lahore University of Management Studies (LUMS) Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) held first ever ‘FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016’ here on November 28.
The challenge culminated with the announcement of three winners. These were Pakistani startups that proposed innovative products and services in areas like payments, financing, insurance, savings and investment and won grants up to Rs 10 million. These three startups were Ricult Pakistan, Paysys and Publishex.
The FinTech industry has seen immense growth across the globe and investments in this sector have risen from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $5.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016 alone. The FinTech industry in Pakistan, however, is in its nascent stages and is crammed with issues of access to finance and limited mentorship.
The ultimate goal of the challenge was to build strong business relationships between key actors of this movement. Banks, government regulators, incubators, complementary actors from the FinTech industry assembled together at FDC 2016 to hear 28 shortlisted startups present their ideas in front of a panel of experts. These 28 startups were chosen from more than 60 applicants countrywide.
Leading industry practitioners like Nadeem Hussain and Qasif Shahid gave keynote speeches at the event about “Unbundling Commercial Banks” and “Design Mechanics for Setting up FinTech operations in Pakistan” respectively. Nadeem Hussain shed light on the massive unexplored customer market in Pakistan and the unlimited opportunities for new business to tap into that market. Qasif Shahid’s speech further proved to be a motivating factor for the participants and encouraged them to pursue their businesses despite all hindrances.
Ricult Pakistan, Paysys and Publishex who won the grant amount gave their elevator pitches in round 1 along with 25 other participants, and were grilled in round 2 by six judges along with seven other shortlisted startups. The judges included Romana Abdullah, Asad Azfar, Amaar Ikhlas, Yasser Bashir, Naeem Zamindar and Mohsin Termezy.
Karandaaz CEO Ali Sarfraz said, “FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2016 presented a unique opportunity for fresh startups and those in their idea phase to be imaginative and creative about complex problems in the financial sector.” LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Khurram Zafar said, “Access to seed capital is a major impediment to startup growth in Pakistan and we are glad to partner with Karandaaz Pakistan to address this gaping hole in the ecosystem.”
Karandaaz Pakistan is a not-for-profit company (registered under Section 42) established in August 2014. It promotes access to finance for small businesses through a commercially directed investment platform, and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology enabled digital solutions.
LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE), set up as an independent center under the LUMS umbrella, is ranked No 1 in Pakistan and No 11 in Asia by the GUST Accelerator report 2015. It aims to formalize the institution’s support for entrepreneurship. It is the nation’s most comprehensive experiential development platform for budding entrepreneurs that formalizes the process of scouting, grooming and facilitating passionate startup founders.



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