Speakers - Step | Startup and Technology Events

Previous Speakers

Naureen Hyat

Tez Financial Services

Naureen
Hyat

Tez Financial Services

Naureen is a serial fintech entrepreneur having closely worked with the microfinance sector. She is a Co-founder at Tez Financial Services and also co-founded CheckIn Solutions, a microfinance-focused FinTech. Her expertise is supplemented by her experience in credit ratings having worked with PACRA, specializing in Microfinance, Banking, and NBFCs. She served as an Assessor of the SMART Campaign was the Head of Finance and Planning Shopistan and has been a directorr of The Pakistan Society for Planned Parenthood. Naureen has studied the field of Inclusive Finance at the Harvard Business School and is a member of the CFA community. Naureen has been featured in Forbes, Reuters (Salaam Gateway), Women in Fintech Powerlist, Business Financing UK and other renowned global publications recognizing leaders and game changers around the world.

Muneeb Maayr

BYKEA

Muneeb
Maayr

BYKEA

Muneeb Maayr is Founder at Bykea, the largest network of motorbikes serving on-demand transport, logistics and payment services in Pakistan. Muneeb graduated from the University of Virginia to work in investment banking at Bear Stearns in New York City right after college. He then led a 600 person back office for SNL Financial in Islamabad, a business acquired by Standard & Poors. Prior to Bykea, Muneeb was Co-Founder and CEO at Daraz.pk, Pakistan’s leading ecommerce platform, acquired by Alibaba Group.

Mahlaqa Shaukat

AimFit

Mahlaqa
Shaukat

AimFit

Mahlaqa is the CEO and co-founder of AimFit – Pakistan’s first and largest digital fitness platform for women. AimFit is on a mission to make 110m Pakistani women the fittest in the world. The start-up, which has recently raised seed funding, offers group fitness classes via an omni-channel approach: online through the AimFit App and physically at AimFit’s group fitness studios currently present in Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan. With over 25 million workout minutes recorded by it’s community and over 42,000 5 star reviews, AimFit is a budding name in Pakistan’s, relatively young, health and fitness landscape. Mahlaqa completed her undergraduate and masters degree at Oxford University studying Engineering, Economics and Management. She spent a few years in London working as a technology consultant at Deloitte before returning to Pakistan.

Aatif Awan

Indus Valley Capital

Aatif
Awan

Indus Valley Capital

Aatif Awan is the founder and Managing Partner of Indus Valley Capital, a Pakistan-focused early stage VC fund. He led the seed rounds for Atoms, Airlift, Bazaar, AimFit, RemoteBase and serves on their boards. Previously, Aatif was VP Growth & International at LinkedIn and built the team that grew the network by half a billion members. Aatif also led the product integrations between LinkedIn and Microsoft after the $26B acquisition.

Rabeel Warraich

Sarmayacar

Rabeel
Warraich

Sarmayacar

Rabeel is the Founder/CEO of Sarmayacar – the largest early stage VC firm focused on Pakistan – and a Kauffman Fellow. Prior to this, Rabeel worked with Morgan Stanley and GIC after gaining his education from MIT and Oxford University.

Asad khan

Medznmore

Asad
khan

Medznmore

CEO at MEDZnMORE

Omair Ansari

Abhi

Omair
Ansari

Abhi

Omair is an investment banker with over 15 years of experience focusing on Emerging Markets, with his most recent role being at Morgan Stanley in New York where he ran 2 funds focused on the space.

Muhammad Owais

Dastgyr Technologies

Muhammad
Owais

Dastgyr Technologies

Muhammad Owais is a co-founder at dastgyr, a startup that launched this year to digitize B2B Trade for the unorganized retail sector. He was also a founding member at Airlift Technologies, a mass transit company that raised Pakistan’s largest series B recently. Previously, he worked at Careem and Kaymu.pk.

Mashhood Rastgar

Sastaticket.pk

Mashhood
Rastgar

Sastaticket.pk

Mashhood leads the engineering team at Sastaticket.pk. He specializes in using the latest web technologies available to develop the best travel platform in the country. He is also an active developer community member, is currently serving as a Google Developer Expert and is speaking at several international conferences during the year.

Faisal Aftab

Zayn Capital

Faisal
Aftab

Zayn Capital

Faisal is a Co-Founder of Zayn Capital; He is the Managing Partner of Zayn Capital – Frontier Fund, a venture capital fund with a primary focus on seed and growth stage ventures in Pakistan and MENA. His notable investment calls include some of the top names in the regional startup ecosystem: GrocerApp, KTrade, Truck It In, Bookme.pk, Roomy.pk, Bagallery.com, MandiExpress.pk and KnowledgePlatform.com. Previously, Faisal was a founding team member of Lakson Venture Capital (Lakson VC); he built the fund from the ground up and led the team as Managing Partner & Executive Director. As an early Bitcoin and Ethereum investor, Faisal has a deep understanding of global macros and blockchain’s implications on the digital economy. Faisal has an MBA from Oxford University, joint Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Michigan State University USA. He has also been an investor in Hedge Funds, Venture Capital Funds and an active Angel Investor for over 15 years. Faisal is a limited partner of the Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups.

Issa Aghabi

Access Bridge Ventures

Issa
Aghabi

Access Bridge Ventures

Issa’s career has focused on finance and investments for the past 17+ years with a focus on Venture Capital. He started his career in investment banking and transitioned into the MENA Venture Capital space in 2006 as a founding member of Accelerator technologies, one of the first venture funds in the Arab world.  He has since occupied numerous roles that include M&A consultant at Yahoo!, Head of Investment at N2V – a regional Venture Builder, and Head of Investments and Venture Capital at twofour54.  Prior to establishing Access Bridge Ventures, Issa headed IFC’s Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Europe’s venture investments both from a Direct and Indirect (accelerators and fund of fund) perspective. His track record includes, having invested in 65+ direct and indirect investment deals (from $100K to $25M per transaction), managed over $150m in MENA Venture funds, launched the UAE’s first Accelerator, fullly exited 6+ MENA based deals, supported with 2 IPOs and much more. Issa now the founder and managing partner of Access Bridge Ventures,  A leading  early state MEPAP focused Venture Fund.

Monis Rahman

Naseeb Networks

Monis
Rahman

Naseeb Networks

CEO & Founder Naseeb Networks

Mo Ali Yusuf

Checkout

Mo
Ali
Yusuf

Checkout

Mo Ali Yusuf (Mo) is an international fintech and eCommerce leader, with a passion for how the power of financial technology can improve the lives of individuals, communities and businesses in every corner of the world. Mo is a Regional Lead at Checkout.com, a global fintech changing the way businesses access financial services. In his role, Mo is responsible for driving growth across the Middle East region. Prior to joining Checkout.com, Mo was the Head of Digital Commerce at Visa, driving eCommerce and fintech across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. Mo has also held senior level positions with top tier consulting, consumer banking and technology companies in Canada and across the Middle East and was the founder of 2 fintech startups. A Canadian national, Mo holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Concordia University in Canada and an MBA from the prestigious London Business School.

Kalsoom Lakhani

i2i Ventures

Kalsoom
Lakhani

i2i Ventures

Kalsoom is the Co-founder & General Partner at i2i Ventures, an early stage VC fund for Pakistan, and the country’s first female-founded VC fund. Prior to opening the doors to i2i Ventures in 2019, Kalsoom was the Founder of Invest2Innovate, i2i Ventures’ sister entity, which she founded in 2011 to support and unleash the potential of young entrepreneurs in growth markets like Pakistan. She has trained young entrepreneurs, changemakers, and civil society leaders in Kosovo, Nepal, Cambodia, Ireland, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, and has spoken at numerous venues, including the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. State Department, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and SXSW. Kalsoom is currently a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and serves on the Board of the American Pakistan Foundation.

Muhammad Sheheryar Iqbal

Airlift Technologies

Muhammad
Sheheryar
Iqbal

Airlift Technologies

An Aerospace Engineer who joined Airlift Technologies almost a couple of years ago. Was looking after Supply Acquisition and onboarding for Airlift Transit. Was then responsible for building the end to end Supply Chain of our quick commerce venture post Covid outbreak. Currently, have all my efforts focused on national and global expansion of the Airlift Technologies.

Omar Farooqui

Jungl

Omar
Farooqui

Jungl

Omar Farooqui, a Saudi National, is a serial entrepreneur, originator, investor, and change maker across the global emerging markets. He started his journey in the education sector in 2017 from UAE by establishing Coded Minds, which is now Jungl. Previously he was the Founder & Managing Partner of CI Holdings with over 20 years of experience in the global investment banking industry in both equity & debt markets. During this time he was a member of the Investment Committee of Arthveda Fund Management (a subsidiary of Dewan Housing Finance Limited and the member of the Board of Directors for Saudi Fransi Capital’s (Banque Saudi Fransi a subsidiary of Credit Agricole) Mutual Funds (AUMs US$10 billion). Farooqui also served as a Global Strategic Advisor for Saudi Fransi Capital’s international business while serving on the board of the SFC & Bin Saeedan Real Estate Development Fund (AUMs US$ 300m). Prior to that he had stints at Algebra Capital (Franklin Templeton), Deutsche Bank and Saudi National Commercial Bank. Omar has a post graduate degree in Financial Services Management from the University of Surrey – School of Management Sciences.

Muhammad Fahad Tanveer

Edkasa

Muhammad
Fahad
Tanveer

Edkasa

Muhammad Fahad Tanveer is the Co-Founder and CEO at Edkasa. Prior to Edkasa, Fahad built a strong foundation in marketing, sales, and commercial operations working with organizations that include Nestle, Telenor, AkzoNobel, and P&G. He is an alumnus of Lahore University of Management Sciences (BSc. ’06 and MBA ’10) and Harvard University (ALM ’16).

Courtney Powell

500 Startups

Courtney
Powell

500 Startups

Courtney Powell is tasked with helping venture capital firm 500 Startups scale globally and explore new opportunities across both new and existing markets. She is responsible for driving day-to-day operations across the team to pursue 500’s mission of uplifting people and economies through entrepreneurship. Her ties to 500 Startups go back to 2012, when she founded PublikDemand, a member of Batch 4 in 500’s flagship San Francisco Accelerator. She went on to become CEO of Agent Pronto, one of the largest real estate agent referral services in North America, which was ultimately acquired by Fidelity National Title Group. Most recently, Courtney was the Head of Corporate Development at Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in the world.

Fatima Mazhar

COLABS

Fatima
Mazhar

COLABS

Fatima Mazhar is the Chief Operating Officer at COLABS . Fatima is an alumnus of Washington College, where she did her undergraduate, and the University of Pittsburgh where she did her Masters in Global Political Economy, Security and Intel Studies. She is also a Sloan Fellow from MIT. In 2013, she joined Careem as a fleet manager in Dubai. In 2014, she took on the role of General Manager Pakistan and two years later, she became the head of expansion. She played a pivotal role in Careem’s growth in the country before resigning in 2018. She has also worked as the General Manager at Keep Truckin’. In February 2021, she founded Dukaan.pk and led the company as the COO for four months before stepping down.

Roberto Croci

Microsoft

Roberto
Croci

Microsoft

With over 20 years’ experience working for the likes of Microsoft and Google, Roberto Croci’s passion lies in innovation, startups and PEOPLE. Relationship driven, he has bridged the gap between corporates and startups across more than 20 countries, helping them develop real solutions that solve real world problems. A leading innovator in developing ecosystems where startups thrive, Roberto’s expertise and candid approach have kept him in demand with major tech companies throughout his career In his current role as the Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, Roberto is building Microsoft’s new division from scratch, including spearheading its expansion and innovation strategy, with the vision to foster a collaborative startup ecosystem to create a better, brighter future for people around the world. Connecting the dots between startups, government agencies and private sector organizations, Roberto helps organizations adopt the innovation mindset and leverage the technology and nimbleness that startups provide. With an ability to cut through the noise, he works directly with startup founders and encourages them to “think differently” and to “be more curious.” Roberto is passionate about mentoring young people, helping them develop an entrepreneurial mindset to search for solutions to problems they see in their community, country, or across the globe. He regularly speaks at prominent universities, including Abu Dhabi University and Zayed University, as well as within local school systems, such as the GEMS schools. His vision is toinspire 1 million students and entrepreneurs to build homegrown tech startups that evolve to become global Unicorns. An in demand international speaker, Roberto speaks about authentic and creative leadership, employee engagement, mental health, innovation and digital transformation, funding and startups. In his personal world, Roberto enjoys reading hardcover books, hiking, running, and spending time with his family. He has summited K2, the second highest mountain in the world. He enjoys building relationships with passionate, driven people from all sectors, cultures, and walks of life.

Vijay Tirathrai

Techstars

Vijay
Tirathrai

Techstars

Vijay is an impact investor and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as Managing Director at Techstars, the worldwide network that supports entrepreneurs to succeed through its mentor-driven accelerator program. Based in the U.A.E, Vijay has built Techstars accelerator programs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and has invested in over 40 early stage technology companies across the globe. Prior to Techstars, he was the former Global CEO and Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) based in Washington D.C.; where he led the growth of 20,000+ leading global entrepreneurs represented in 165 cities. Vijay founded several businesses in Asia and was a pioneer in his field; including founding a cycling helmet manufacturing, association and events management, and corporate venture capital. Early in his career he served as CEO roles namely in a leading fashion retailer and large scale clothing manufacturing across Asia. He served in numerous leadership roles, on the international board of Young President Organization, as trustee at Richmond University, U.K., organizing committee of the 16th Commonwealth Games, as a board Advisor to Scholars of Finance. He is an active Non Executive Director and advisor to several technology companies. Now based in U.A.E, Vijay has previously lived and worked in Washington D.C, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Other than being an avid cyclist and an explorer of world heritage sites, he is passionate about connecting people through entrepreneurship across the world.

Vishal Sharma

Global Ventures

Vishal
Sharma

Global Ventures

Vishal Sharma is an Operating Director at Global Ventures. He manages investments and value creation with portfolio companies with a keen focus on healthtech opportunities. Prior to this, Vishal was the head of digital strategy and venture investments at NMC Healthcare, the largest private healthcare provider in the UAE. He was the founding member of NMC Life Sciences, the corporate venture SPV of NMC Healthcare. He has worked in multiple strategy and investment roles across conglomerates like the Tata Group, C.K. Birla Group, and Max India Group. Vishal is passionate about public speaking – largely on topics like digital transformation, digital health, entrepreneurial mindset, and leadership. He is an active angel investor and invests in early-stage tech startups and mentors the founders on product-market fit and talent acquisition. Vishal holds a bachelors’ degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering in India as well as an MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Saad Hamid

Google

Saad
Hamid

Google

Saad Hamid works as an App Growth Manager at Google. In his role Saad works with early, mid and growth stage startups in Pakistan and helps them grow through digital marketing.

Owais Zaidi

CreditFix

Owais
Zaidi

CreditFix

Owais Zaidi is a seasoned professional with over 24 years of experience in launching technology-driven startups and leading growth companies. He is passionate about value creation through the use of technology for business and social development. Owais is currently the founder and CEO of CreditFix, Pakistan’s first Digital Lending Company. CreditFix utilizes Machine Learning and Big Data and combines to enable low-income borrowers to borrow for big-ticket loans for starting or growing business. It is the only digital lending player in an emerging market that is doing big ticket lending completely digitally. Owais also founded The Hive, Pakistan’s most premium and largest co-working space (with 250,000 sq ft under management), which is currently in growth mode and expanding across Pakistan.

Wahaj Ahmed

Retailo

Wahaj
Ahmed

Retailo

Wahaj Ahmed started his career with Rocket Internet, where he explored marketing roles at different companies in Rocket’s portfolio. When Careem launched its operations, he joined as marketing manager but was quickly promoted to head Karachi operations, the youngest at this position in Careem’s global operations. He and his team were able to grow daily trips from 200 to over 25,000 and increase revenues over 12X. Then he moved to McKinsey as an Associate. When COVID-19 hit, he witnessed the breakdown of supply chains, and in it saw a problem he could solve. Wahaj co-founded Retailo, along with two former colleagues, and is currently looking after the operations in Karachi, successfully scaling it up and establishing Retailo’s name in the Pakistani market.

Aftab Arif

AA Startups

Aftab
Arif

AA Startups

Aftab has a decade long experience of working with various startups across MENAP region in diversified roles. He is known for helping startups during 0 to 1 journey. Recently, in Dec 2020, they have sold a Dubai based tele-health startup, Health at Hand, to a German blue-chip insurer after building it from scratch and scaling it to 4 countries (UAE, Bahrain, India and Egypt) over a span of 4 years. Over the past few years, Aftab has built expertise around product strategy & management, team building, joint-ventures, and strategic partnerships. He has sound experience of listening to Founders talking problems and challenges, and then working with them on developing commercially viable solutions. He is also a shareholder for a UK based dementia care platform for elderly.

Saif Ali

Dastgyr

Saif
Ali

Dastgyr

Saif Ali has spent 9 years in the media, communications, and advertising space in Pakistan, quoted in The New York Times, Profit by Pakistan Today, and Branding in Asia as a leading industry voice. He has collaborated with a few dozen international, regional, and national brands on consumer, corporate, and employer branding initiatives, and led many industry firsts. He brings deep experience with large FMCG clients, such as Unilever, as well as product marketing knowledge from his time representing TikTok as a media reseller. In his current role at Dastgyr, he spearheads brand management, communications, and partnerships.

Faisal Mamsa

Landmark Investment

Faisal
Mamsa

Landmark Investment

Faisal started his career with E&Y Bahrain and then moved in to banking to work for 3 reputable banks in Pakistan where he led the Treasury segment. He successfully launched a Landmark, a financial advisory firm & has also branched out in to tech ventures. Tresmark, a financial information terminal is the flagship tech company.

Omer Salimullah

SadaPay

Omer
Salimullah

SadaPay

Omer is the COO at SadaPay a fintech on a mission to make money simple for millions of Pakistanis. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry at leading institutions such as ABN AMRO Bank, Meezan Bank, and JS Bank where he led the digital transformation and customer experience domains.

gheerbrant Gheerbrant

Daraz

gheerbrant
Gheerbrant

Daraz

Edouard is leading the marketing, marketplace operations, monetization and the new business development (gaming, travel, food delivery…) for the 5 Daraz markets (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar) where Daraz is the undisputed e-commerce leader. Over his journey Edouard has grown Daraz’s user base by 50+ millions users and led the acquisition and growth of 300k+ sellers accross the region. Previously, he established Daraz customer experience and operations. Edouard also led the business and tech integrations between Daraz and Alibaba after the multi-millions acquisition in all 5 Daraz countries.

Usman Butt

RepairDesk

Usman
Butt

RepairDesk

Usman Butt founded RepairDesk in his mid 20’s. Having started with humble resources back in 2014, the SaaS company today stands with the strength of 100 team members. RepairDesk is the leading choice for small & medium businesses offering mobile repair services around the globe, a relatively new industry with low setup costs. RepairDesk’s success has benefitted from the mushroom growth of mobile repair shops around the globe which was not an established industry in 2014. LUMS Centre of Entrepreneurship (now NIC), with their incubation program in 2015, provided support to Usman during his steep path to success running a vertical SaaS company based out of Pakistan. Now he is aiming to repeat the success playbook as an angel investor with Torque360, a shop management software for auto repair businesses.

Waqas Naeem

ERICSSON

Waqas
Naeem

ERICSSON

Waqas Naeem has been associated with the ICT industry since his graduation from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in 1999. A senior sales executive and digital enthusiast with 19 years’ experience in complex Business to Business sales and relationship management, primary at Ericsson. He has been engaged on international assignments and worked with crosscultural teams from all over the world. He has a strong and diverse leadership experience in sales, business development, strategy development, organization development and change management. He loves to work with technology and innovative solutions in the areas of Mobile broadband, internet of things and automation. Naeem is currently responsible for Ericsson’s Sales and operational activities in Pakistan and is the Country Manager of Ericsson Pakistan. He Leads a strong cross functional team aided by a selected network of partners to serve digital service providers and help increase digital footprint in the country.

Shahryar Bachani

Alphabet / Google; Venture for Pakistan; Rally Cap Ventures

Shahryar
Bachani

Alphabet / Google; Venture for Pakistan; Rally Cap Ventures

Shahryar is a born & raised Pakistani passionate about all things venture, strategy, tech innovation and the unconventional. Obsessed with building Pakistan into a global tech powerhouse – he is the Founder & CEO of Venture for Pakistan – a venture platform to build and support founders through talent, access & capital as we build Pakistan’s ecosystem from the ground up/ He currently works at Alphabet / Google providing execs (CEO, CFO etc.) near and long-term visibility to help manage Alphabet effectively and tell our strategic and financial story to our board of directors and investors. Also serve as an advisor to startups on capital-raising, VC readiness and growth strategy through Google for Startups. Shahryar also is a Venture Partner for Rally Cap Ventures – a venture collective of global fintech founders, operators and angels that combine capital, expertise and networks to empower a portfolio of top-tier founders building the next generation of emerging market financial services.

Qasif Shahid

Finja

Qasif
Shahid

Finja

Qasif currently heads Finja that he helped cofound. Finja is a Pakistani FinTech startup with a mission to transform how people relate to money and make payments. Previously Qasif founded FinSurgents; a financial services startup consultancy, which specializes in re-tooling analogue business cases to digital. The firm has clients in Pakistan, UAE and Africa. Qasif has close to 25+ years of multi country experience in building, managing and growing digital financial services, products and businesses. Qasif previously served as head of digital banking for MCB, one of the largest banks in Pakistan and earlier on, as head of marketing and digital channels for ABN AMRO bank Singapore. Before joining MCB, Qasif worked at Standard Chartered Pakistan as head of digital banking.

Ambareen Baig

Invest2Innovate

Ambareen
Baig

Invest2Innovate

Ambareen Baig is a research professional well acquainted with the startup ecosystem in Pakistan. After starting out her career as an educator, she moved on as a Fulbright scholar for a masters in Educational Psychology from the University of Arizona (UofA). Other than teaching research methodologies at the undergraduate level at her alma mater, she also served as a Global Ambassador for international students at the UofA. She has worked on youth development projects in Pakistan through the School of Leadership (SoL) where she brought two UNICEF projects to fruition while spearheading SoL’s community space, the Hangout Space. Currently, she is working at i2i as Head of Insights where she gets to do what she loves inherently – data and research. She has authored/co-authored several publications at invest2innovate including Pakistan Startup Ecosystem Report (2019, COVID & its Impact on Pakistani Startups (2020), KP Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Report (2021), and more. She loves to make an impact on the startup ecosystem in the country by bringing equity to the use and dissemination of data and information.

Workshop Host

Riaz Ahmed

Checkout

Riaz
Ahmed

Checkout

Ammar Jangbarwala

Mywater Pakistan

Ammar
Jangbarwala

Mywater Pakistan

Engineer by training, entrepreneur by experience. Ammar spent almost a decade in technologies that transform consumer experience and disrupt conventional methods to bring value in sustainable ways both in economic and environmental ways. Looking at ideas with a purpose, Ammar is currently involved in commercializing products that have a potential to bring social change and enhance consumer experience focused on IoT enabled consumer electronics, industrial automation, renewable energy, healthcare and water.
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