Pakistan related IT success stories...+/_billion dollar club. | World Defense

Pakistan related IT success stories...+/_billion dollar club.

Zeeman

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I am starting this thread to list and talk about IT-related industries in Pakistan and companies set up by Pakistanis in different countries.
Thanks to Riazhaq.com who does an outstanding job informing us of the latest IT happenings in Silicon Valley.

First Billion dollar value parent company of Zameen.com.....owned and started from Pakistan by a Pakistani Imran Ali Khan.

Bayut & Zameen parent EMPG raises $150 million at a valuation of over $1 billion, announces merger with OLX in a few markets


Zubair Naeem Paracha

ByZubair Naeem Paracha
Posted on April 28, 2020 - Like & Follow Us




Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) that runs property portals in different emerging markets across the world including Bayut in Dubai, Zameen in Pakistan, and Mubawab in North Africa, has become a unicorn after raising a $150 million round led by OLX Group and its existing shareholders, the company announced in a statement to MENAbytestoday.
EMPG did not disclose the exact valuation but said the deal values the company at over $1 billion post-transaction.
The deal includes merger of OLX Group’s classifieds business with Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) in Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.
OLX Group with the deal has become the single largest shareholder of EMPG, owning 39 percent of the company. The $150 million investment is fresh cash injection and will be used by the company to develop a range of new services, creating a more seamless user experience, enhancing data transparency, and deepening market intelligence for both consumers and business users.
According to the statement, EMPG will operate existing OLX platforms in Egypt & Lebanon, and roll out new services for the real estate community. EMPG before the deal did not have any presence in Egypt & Lebanon.
In Pakistan & United Arab Emirates, the platform of both the groups which apparently include EMPG’s Zameen & Bayut and OLX Groups’ OLX and Dubizzle, will be operated EMPG.
EMPG will also operate OLX’s platforms in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman after this deal.
The statement notes that the aggregated value of properties sold in these markets is estimated at $90 billion, providing a commission pool for real estate agencies of over US $2 billion per annum, “This presents a great opportunity for EMPG to enhance their real estate services in these markets.”
Imran Ali Khan, the co-founder, and CEO of EMPG, said, “EMPG has grown at a tremendous pace since its inception. Our unique ability to scale using our proprietary tech has aided and enabled this expansion. This deal puts us one step further in our journey towards providing solutions in multiple markets to over a billion consumers around the world, expanding our classifieds offering significantly.”
Martin Scheepbouwer, CEO of OLX Group, says “I’m proud of what we have built in these four markets. Our brands are household names, and currently help tens of millions of people to exchange goods and services every month. The next phase is an exciting one, with EMPG’s real estate industry expertise helping deepen the customer experience. As EMPG’s largest shareholder, we’ll have a front seat to explore how we can scale their services model further – taking our ambition to shape the future of classifieds into its next stage.”
Haider Ali Khan, Head of EMPG – MENA on this collaboration: “We, at Bayut and EMPG, are very excited about the future of the UAE real estate industry and the prospects of real estate in the MENA region. This merger of EMPG and OLX will allow us to better serve our customers, given that both operate brands with a strong following and will allow us to leverage existing tech and data to paint a more accurate picture of the state of affairs in the real estate industry across the region.”
“At the same time, we will be making significant technology investments to provide more value to all users of property, automotive and other segments of the Dubizzle and OLX platforms. I look forward to a bright and prosperous future for the group,” he added.
EMPG is currently present in the GCC region with Bayut, Pakistan with Zameen, Bangladesh with Bproperty, Morocco and Tunisia with Mubawab, and Thailand with Kaidee.
 
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Old news but company annual revenues are close to $250 million and are based in Lahore.


Pakistan does not have a billion-dollar software company. Meet the man who wants to change that

Amir Wain is building i2c into a SaaS powerhouse that is rapidly turning into one of the country’s largest software exporters
By
Taimoor Hassan
-
January 28, 2019

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When you enter Amir Wain’s office located in i2c Pakistan’s facility on Lahore’s Ferozpur Road, what’s most observable is what is not there: no adornments or extravagance, unlike other offices this scribe has visited. Vainglory is not Amir’s strong suit. He stands in line with the employees of the company, waiting for his turn to fill his plate with the free meal that his company offers to its workforce – a refreshing quality in a corporate executive at the helm of affairs of a successful business. When it comes to his person or his business, it’s substance over vanity.
A graduate from the University of Texas with computer science and an engineering degree, Amir’s entrepreneurial run started in 1987 with a company he founded called Innovative Pvt Ltd, followed by Avanceon a few years later. His third company was i2c, one of the leading software firms from Pakistan, which he founded in 2001 and currently serves as its CEO. Since its inception, the company is on an unending pursuit of dominating the global payments processing industry and being the best in the world, and that too out of Pakistan.
SaaS as a stable business model
In 1996, Amir came to a realization that the outsourced software development model is a failed business especially in Pakistan as every new client assignment starts from scratch, relationships become transactional, and one never really gets a chance to develop and leverage his own Intellectual Property (IP). Additionally, growth for this business model requires a constant stream of new talent, requiring thousands of skilled developers to get to scale. And while Pakistan has many talented people, it does not have a large talent pool to pull from for continued growth, according to him.

“So we decided to develop a packaged software product, looking to develop our own IP and sell single product to multiple customers. While this was a step in the right direction, it has its own drawbacks. First, the software needs to be supported in as many different environments, and hardware etc., as we have customers, making it difficult to provide high-quality service. Secondly, each year essentially starts from scratch in terms of sales. While there is maintenance fees post-sale, it’s a small fraction of the revenue. And this challenge is magnified by any downturn in the market or a negative event in Pakistan. You can see this happen with other IT companies in Pakistan as they hire up during the good times and fire in the bad,” Amir told Profit.
i2c was the logical outcome of the challenges faced with the first two business models by Amir and his associates, and in an attempt to create a business model that was stable and sustainable, they ventured into SaaS (software as a service) – an upcoming business model at that time which was essentially subscription to a set of features and functionality on an ongoing contractual basis.
“Under the model, we don’t build software for a customer and nor do we sell packaged software that has variability in the environments it’s run on. Instead, we have built software that runs in our own data centers that provides a level of service that is unparalleled because we control the variables that cause issues. Revenues become far more stable due to the ongoing contracts, and growth is aligned with the organic growth of our clients as well as the new clients that we bring on board,” Amir explicFrom an industry perspective, Amir and his cohort stayed in financial services. Whereas they used to do things like ATM driving and card processing, they focused i2c on the infrastructure that issuers need to launch, manage, and grow their payments portfolios, all on a platform based on modern technology and development principals.
Today, with almost two decades in business, i2c – originally set up as a US corporation in Silicon Valley and a Pakistani entity – has since added two Canadian entities and boasts a formidable global presence, serving clients with customers in all time zones. Its clientele includes First Abu Dhabi Bank in the UAE, CIBC in Canada, Comerica Bank in the US, Australia Post and others, besides working with card associations like Visa, Master, Discover, American Express, and Union Pay.
A solid business
i2c’s business is specifically consolidated in the payments processing industry where if a financial institution – for instance a bank or a credit union – wants to offer credit cards, debit cards, or prepaid cards to their customers, it needs a platform to manage that from.
“That is what we provide. This platform needs to support things like balance tracking, fraud monitoring, transaction processing as well as automatically sending out alerts to cardholders via SMS. Mobile applications have additionally become core to a customer’s relationship with their bank. Most banks outsource this to companies like i2c, customizing the look and feel to match their brand experience. In the US, with the exception of the few extremely large banks, almost everyone outsources this function,” Amir said, as he elucidated the company’s core business.
The payments processing is a highly consolidated industry with only a dozen or so companies operating globally. This is in part because it is a difficult industry to enter due to a high degree of regulation, complex requirements, high-availability, and security. According to Amir, once you have entered the industry and been successful, it is a very large-scale opportunity.“In Pakistan, cash is still used quite a bit. Elsewhere though, credit cards and other forms of non-cash payments make up a large majority of all transactions. So, every time someone makes a payment, the processor gets a little bit of revenue. It’s a sizeable revenue per client and we have multi-year contracts. And as more payments move from cash and check to electronic form, our industry continues to grow at an accelerated pace,” he added.
But as the volume of transactions through electronic means grows, it increases the pressures on the payment infrastructure, increasing the likelihood of transactions not processing when a cardholder is, for instance, buying petrol or groceries. “It’s a bad experience for the cardholder and it reflects poorly on the clients of the company. So, the system has to be available 100%. We have had over 10 years without any downtime and that has led to happy clients and continued growth,” Amir said.
Security in this industry is also incredibly important as instances of data breaches are not uncommon, making it a difficult industry to operate in. But according to Amir, i2c has been fortunate enough to grow into a worldwide company in an industry with few players.
i2c’s competitors are predominantly large, multi-billion-dollar conglomerates in the industry such as First Data Corporation, Fidelity Information System (FIS), TSYS and Fiserv. But while its competitors are fairly large for the size and scale of i2c, Amir has skilfully carved out a niche for his business and giving his competitors a run for their money.
“Our competitors are all very big, and by being big, they are unable to move very quickly. Their technology is also antiquated, often running on mainframe-based systems. If you are one of the top banks, you can get their attention and they may do some changes for you. In the US, there are over 10,000 banks which means that most of them have no options when it comes to differentiating their offerings. They simply can’t get anything customized. i2c, on the other hand, offers a lot of flexibility and control and puts most of it in the hands of our clients, allowing them to quickly and easily configure options to differentiate their offerings,” Amir said, adding that i2c was able to win Australia Post as its client against FIS because of its unique value proposition.
The billion-dollar target
Whenever there is a mention of the Pakistani IT industry, three companies often get the limelight: NETSOL, Systems Ltd and The Resource Group (TRG). All three companies are publicly listed and understandably gain considerable traction than private companies. Pakistan’s tech landscape witnesses more buzz when any of these companies sign a business contract or when there is a bull or a bear run in the bourse. But are these companies more profitable is what Amir questions. While these companies have hit peaks and troughs, as can be seen from the financials of these companies available publicly, Amir claims that i2c’s growth curve has been upward and steady, and makes more profits than these companies. “If you look at i2c’s origin in 2001 until now, the curve of revenue, profitability and headcount has trended upward without the slightest negative blip,” Amir said.
“i2c is the most profitable IT company out of Pakistan. We have looked at the numbers of NETSOL, Systems Ltd and TRG. NETSOL made around $8-9 million in profits last year. Our per-year profit is much higher than that. If someone wants to validate, I can show them that we make more money than any IT company in Pakistan. We are a solid business and we have free cash,” Amir told Profit.
He further disclosed that the company is eying $1 billion in revenues by 2025 and is “absolutely on track to do so”.
“The plan is based on four different growth levers and we are actively working on those growth levers. If we continue the straight line growth that we are on, by 2025, we will hit $1 billion dollars in topline revenue. Our gross margins are around 60%. We are at a scale where as we go from our current numbers to say half a billion to a billion, there will be improvement in the margin but it is not going to go to 90%. It might move from 60 to 70% but that is the range of the margin we operate in. Our CAGR [compound annual growth rate] was around 30% previously and we are looking at it to be even higher now. One more thing: free cash flow. Our free cash flow is absolutely in line with our profitability,” Amir said.
“Our billion-dollar goal is truly organic. This is organic sales growth, year after year and profitable sales growth. You have to make sure you have free cash flow and this business is extremely focused on that.”
To assess the sensibility of this target, it is paramount to look at i2c’s business from an industry perspective. Globally, the payments industry is burgeoning at breakneck speed, allowing improved revenue and profit margins for those already in this business. A 2017 study by McKinsey & Company had estimated that the global payments industry accounted for 34% of overall banking revenues in 2016 and that for the next five years, annual growth will average 7%, making payments a $2 trillion industry by 2020. Surprisingly, however, in 2017, payments generated an impressive 11% growth for a single year and revenues swelled to $1.9 trillion. Consequently, McKinsey estimated that payments will surpass the $2 trillion projection in 2018, instead of 2020, and approach $3 trillion within five years, making it a rosy industry for the incumbents to grow.
And with the legacy payments framework fast becoming an anachronism in an age of millennials and growing e-commerce, financial institutions, in an attempt to stay ‘top of the wallet’, are striving to provide seamless payments experience to the cardholders with an element of differentiation. That is exactly what i2c helps the financial institutions achieve. Through its platform, i2c enables its clients to swiftly differentiate their product offerings to keep pace with the rapidly evolving payments industry.
The industry’s robust growth dynamics and direction are, therefore, ripe for maneuvering for higher revenues and, consequently, profits.
Amir’s plan to achieve his ends include a $30 million investment in the city of Omaha in the state of Nebraska, US to set up an operation center that will house 350 people. “The building has been bought and the work on it is ongoing as we speak. The governor of Nebraska flew to Silicon Valley just to thank the i2c team for the investment that would create hundreds of jobs. We made a similar investment about three years ago in Montreal, Canada to set up an operations center because of the availability of good talent there,” Amir said.
“Moreover, we have recently signed a project, and I cannot disclose the name of the client for confidentiality purposes, but that one project would be close to triple digit million dollars [minimum $100 million] per year in recurring revenue. It is known as the largest project in the prepaid card space and we would be processing about $38 billion [in payments] a year just for that project,” Amir disclosed.
No IPO plans
But as the company sails towards ambitious targets, Amir ruled out going for an IPO. “For i2c, we have more cash than we need and we have zero debt on our balance sheet. If we want to go acquire a company, we can go acquire it through our own cash. So, for me, to open up to all the public scrutiny and all the overhead and reporting, just for ego purposes so that I can say that our valuation is a billion dollars makes no sense. When you have an empty box, you look for these external validations. I can understand going for an IPO if there is really a need for capital. If you have a poor business model where you are running out of cash and prefer another round of share issue, then that is not our business. We have a solid business and I have no reason to think about an IPO,” he said.
A major component of Amir’s strategy is investing in the human resource of the company. For him, the biggest challenge is how to change the mindset of his employees and help them see organization. When it comes to human resource, it is quid pro quo for Amir. He tries to make things easy for his employees to enable them to focus on their work.
“Everything doesn’t have to be chaotic. Things can be organized. In Pakistan, where majority of the company’s engineering and IT operations are based, at home they [employees] see power going off twice, thrice a day. They say things break down. It is normal. At work, I say breakdown is not acceptable. I want 100% availability. Then there is inefficiency. How do you help people realize things can be done efficiently? So, that requires creating an environment and getting to a tipping point. We’ve had to do a lot on HR and policies, training and things of that nature. While they might not be directly connected to revenue, I see them making a huge contribution. One more thing is that our retention rate is very high. IT companies don’t have high retention rates. At i2c, over a 100 people have been with us for over 10 years.”
P@SHA Secretary General Shehryar Hydri attested to i2c’s achievements and said, “i2c is one of the most promising companies with operations in Pakistan and their continuous growth in the highly competitive payments industry is a case study for other companies to follow.”
Profit also inquired if Amir was open to trying something new, to which he responded, “i2c is all substance. It’s all logic and reason. We are in one of the largest industries in the world. If you look at the breakdown of the overall economy, financial services is a big market. The conversion of payments from cash to electronic forms of payments, mobile and card-based payments is growing. And we as a player in that space are growing tremendously and are being acknowledged as the next generation star. So I would not want to dilute my focus. I want to invest, double down on this and make sure that I accelerate my growth. What I would [rather] do is look at adjacent services. [If] I am giving my clients nine things and they are using one thing from someone else, adding that to our offerings will make it easier for my customer and also increase my revenue.”
 

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Founded by two NED graduates including Pakistani American Raghib Husain Designs and manufactures semi conductors .


NED alumnus sells company to chip-maker Marvell for $6bn

Cavium, co-founded by Pakistani-American Raghib Hussain, has been acquired by chip-maker Marvell in a $6 billion deal in cash and stock.
Hussain is an alumnus of NED University of Engineering Technology (NEDUET), Karachi, who started Cavium with his friend Syed B. Ali. The company was taken public at a market value of $600 million in 2007.
In an email sent to his friends on Nov 23, Hussain said:
"Now that the news is public, you must have figured out why I was so busy lately. It’s a day with mixed feelings for me. It’s like sending [a] 17-year-old off to college. In any case, I’m thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to experience this.
"To summarise: I started Cavium with Syed in late 2000, took it public in 2007 with a market cap of about $600m. Ten years later in 2017, we are an established semiconductor company with revenue of $1bn, 2,000 employees and a market cap of $5bn, now consolidated for over $6.5bn enterprise value. At the market close on Wednesday, the deal already valued at $7.5bn (enterprise value). I am thankful for everyone’s prayers and support."
Marvell’s main business is to make chips that are used in hard disk drives. However, as the market for hard disks is slowly declining due to new technologies, Marvell made a move to expand its business.
Cavium makes networking processors and the company is planning to use Acorn RISC Machine's designs to break into the server microprocessor business.
Marvell said it will acquire all outstanding shares of Cavium common stock in exchange for consideration of $40 per share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each Cavium share. Marvell plans to use $1.75bn in debt financing to fund the transaction.
Cavium stockholders will hold 25 per cent of the combined company shares. Marvell Technology will now be able to compete with chip-making giants like Intel.
Marvell CEO Matt Murphy will lead the company and the Cavium co-founder and CEO Syed Ali will serve as strategic advisers and board members.
 

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Careem , a ride-hailing service started and owned by a Pakistani sold to Uber for $3.1 billion

How this Pakistani built a billion-dollar startup


By Osman Husain
Published: February 7, 2017

Tech in Asia
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Careem’s Mudassir Sheikha explains why growth needs to be an obsession for any motivated founder. PHOTO: CAREEM

Careem’s Mudassir Sheikha explains why growth needs to be an obsession for any motivated founder. PHOTO: CAREEM
Mudassir Sheikha is the CEO and co-founder of ride-hailing app Careem, one of the hottest startups on the Asian continent.
In December, it raised US$350 million from superstar investors such as Rakuten and Abraaj Capital, making it the newest unicorn in the transportation space.
It’s been quite a journey for Mudassir and his Dubai-headquartered company since starting up less than five years ago. Careem is now operational in 50 cities across 11 countries. It counts 180,000 registered drivers, which it refers to as “captains,” and claims to have served over 8 million customers.

Mudassir and team have hustled their way to regional dominance, competing with Uber with a mere fraction of the resources that the San Francisco-headquartered behemoth has at its disposal.
So how exactly should entrepreneurs take their idea from zero to one? What’s the billion-dollar mindset? How do you build companies to last?
This Pakistani helped raise $350 million to slaughter Uber
Mudassir addressed these queries and more during a keynote presentation yesterday atMomentum in Karachi, Pakistan.
He identified four main factors which he believes were crucial in propelling Careem from a mere idea to where it is today.
Think big
“You have to think big from day one,” said Mudassir. “Sure you can open a retail store, but it’s going to be difficult to make it into a large business – a billion-dollar business. The first thing you have to target is a big problem and a big opportunity.”
The idea behind Careem wasn’t simply to replicate what other startups were doing in the West. He and his co-founder, Magnus Olsson, were both former management consultants for McKinsey. The duo were stationed in Dubai but frequently traveled across the Middle East and Pakistan.
As consultants, they had to constantly deal with the abhorrent public transport options in their markets. That was a huge pain – taxi drivers would frequently rip them off and they didn’t feel safe traveling in those rickety cars.
On-demand services were unheard of in the region at that time. So both Mudassir and Magnus quit their jobs, invested a lot of their own capital, and hunkered down for the long journey ahead.
“We wanted to seize the opportunity because it was an unexplored area and we felt the potential to scale was there,” said Mudassir to the audience.
Think big
The billion-dollar CEO is a firm believer in treating your startup like a baby and nurturing it the same way a loving parent would.
He explained it’s essential to instill the right values in your organization – to make sure culture seeps down from the top and everyone on the team is cognizant of the ideals they should aspire towards.
“If you teach your kids not to lie and make sure they adhere to it, then they’ll eventually learn and carry that with them forever. But if you don’t do that, and don’t have a close relationship with them, then they’ll grow up with indifferent values,” he said.
“Organizations are similar, they have values and aspirations as well. The companies that have been around for hundreds of years have these values instilled in their DNA. Our mindset, from day one, was to make something to last.”
As a corollary, the idea to start a business shouldn’t be predicated on an exit strategy. “It’s not the right mindset you should go into a startup with,” added Mudassir.

Mudassir on stage at Momentum. Photo credit: Osman Husain
If an entrepreneur is truly committed to solving problems and reducing inefficiencies then they’ll carry on with that, come what may. And to build lasting institutions, ones that will outlive them as well as their future generations, founders need to treat the early years with the utmost of care.
“There’s nothing wrong with an exit, but it shouldn’t be your overwhelming priority,” he stated.
To further explain his point about culture and setting examples, Mudassir said he frequently takes red-eye flights and inconvenient connections just to save money.
“I’m happy even if I save 200 dirhams” – that US$55 – “each time,” he laughed.
“Sure people might say Careem has the cash now but I don’t want anyone in the company to think I’m being extravagant or living a flashy lifestyle. If you won’t demonstrate and lead by example, then your teammates won’t either.”
Growth needs curation
“You can’t just expect to launch a product and expect that it’ll take off automatically,” asserted Mudassir. “It’s a lot of hard work, curation, measurement, and feedback.”
The former consultant explained that at Careem they’re obsessed with data and growth. Each city – all 50 of them – is monitored every 15 minutes. An analyst can crunch the numbers and tell you whether the growth in those 15 minutes was more or less than the previous day, or even the same time last week.
If numbers are going down then there’s someone from HQ on the phone with local teams on the ground, to figure out how to improve, and whether there’s an issue of product-market fit, weather conditions, or something else.
“You cannot improve anything that you cannot measure. That’s why growth and measurement are deep deep in our DNA,” he said.
Careem valued at $1b on Saudi Telecom deal
“And the best part about growth is that it compounds. If you give yourself a target of growing 25 percent month on month, then you’ll grow 10x each year. By the third 10x, we were sitting at a 100 million valuation. You can too,” he told the audience.
Your team is the sharpest weapon
Mudassir and Magnus didn’t have much money to throw around in the early days grinding in the insane heat of Dubai.
That was a problem – they wanted to hire savvy, technical, and qualified employees to grow quickly but the lack of cash meant that they couldn’t even match existing market salaries.
Mudassir admitted to having sleepless nights in those days.
“We placed a lot of emphasis on getting the right people. You can have an amazing idea but if you don’t have the right talent to execute then your plans are utterly useless. We were so cash-strapped early on that we could only offer half of what people were used to,” he said.
But there was a surprising benefit to this quandary. Careem’s early hires ticked all the right boxes in terms of their job capabilities, and they also bought into the vision of what Mudassir was trying to build.
“That’s why we became who we are today – you need to get capable people but they also need to enliven the culture of the workplace,” he added.
 

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Afinity started by Zia Chishti , a well known Pakistan, IPO for $1.6 billion dollar company.

Sales AI company Afiniti valued at $1.6 billion, files for IPO
MATT MARSHALL@MMARSHALL APRIL 14, 2017 7:00 AM

Image Credit: Afiniti
[Updated]
You’ll be forgiven for not having heard of Afiniti, a Washington, D.C. company that may be the first pure-play artificial intelligence company to file for an IPO since the big AI hype wave hit last year.
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Afiniti uses AI to help companies more efficiently pair their sales people with customers, and boasts that it raises sales by an average of 4 to 6 percent.
Since Afiniti started 11 years ago it has lain low, preferring to amass customers quietly rather than banging the PR drum.
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About to go public
But now Afiniti’s about come under a spotlight. The company confidentially filed for an IPO late last year, VentureBeat has learned, and is valued at $1.6 billion after a fourth round of funding of $80 million that closed last week. It could go public as early as this fall, though that could change, sources close to the situation said.
In January, Bloomberg first reported that the company was considering going public.
We interviewed Afiniti’s founder and CEO, Zia Chishti, to learn more about the company. A January feature in the WSJ was the first and only in-depth look at the company we could find.
Chishti said he couldn’t comment about the company’s financials, citing SEC guidelines around IPOs. (Our sources said Afiniti will not be profitable this year, but expects to be in its fiscal 2018 year, which begins in June. Separately, Afiniti’s revenues are growing at a 100 percent run rate, the sources said.)
Pedigreed company
Chishti is already an accomplished entrepreneur, and he’s assembled all-stars on his board — directors and advisors who should impress Wall Street. Chishti previously cofounded and was founding CEO of Align Technology, a teeth-straightening device company now valued at almost $10 billion.
On the company’s board, Chishti has gathered names like Ivan Seidenfeld, former chairman and CEO of Verizon; John Snow, former U.S. Treasury secretary; and José Maria Aznar, former Prime Minster of Spain.
Investors in the latest round include GAM; McKinsey & Co; the Resource Group; G3 investments (run by Richard Gephardt); Elisabeth Murdoch; Sylvain Héfès; John Browne, former CEO of BP; Ivan Seidenfeld; and Larry Babbio, a former president of Verizon. The company has now raised more than $100 million, including the money previously raised, according to our sources.
Initially, Afiniti focused on serving large telecom and insurance companies that have sizable call centers, but then expanded to serve medical organizations and banks, Chishti said. Most recently, the company is targeting retail, where Afiniti says it can help match customers walking into a store with the most compatible sales person.
Overall, the company says customers using Afiniti for revenue generation see an average 4 to 6 percent revenue lift, and Chishti says he expects the long-term average will be about 4.5 percent.
How it works
When a customer calls into a call center, Afiniti matches their phone number — either landline or cellphone — with any information tied to it from up to 100 databases. These databases carry purchase history, income, and other demographic information. They include credit firm Experian, data companies Acxiom, Targus, and Allant, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and even census archives for info about the area the person is calling from. Afiniti then routes the call directly to an agent who has been determined, based on their own history, to be most effective in closing deals with customers who have similar characteristics.
Afiniti AI

Above: Afiniti’s artificial intelligence systems
Image Credit: Afiniti
Chishti is reluctant to provide actual cases of how the pairings happen, saying so many variables are at play that it’s hard to distill it to clear-cut examples. But, to simplify, a particular agent based in the Midwest might show particularly good results on calls with high-income moms from the same region, and so Afiniti would make the match.
The software continuously learns from a applying what is “basically a three-dimensional regression” on data about agents and customers, Chishti said.
For its service, Afiniti charges a fee that’s competitive with a customer’s alternative cost of acquisition. So, for example, a large telecom company might pay an average of $100 to $200 to acquire customers from other sources, say through ads on Google or door-to-door sales or direct mailing. In that case, Afiniti might charge an acquisition fee at the bottom of that range. Afiniti can also prove its service is effective by using a continuous on-off method: It runs its service for a period of time, say 15 minutes, and then shuts it off for five minutes, constantly comparing the number of sales its pairings are generating to the number made while Afiniti is off.
On its website, the company lists dozens of customers. Afiniti has already won every major North American telecom company, with one or two exceptions, our sources said.
In one example, Afiniti says it helped telecom giant T-Mobile generate $70 million in extra revenue in a year by optimizing 50 million annual calls. It did so by increasing telesales revenue by 5 percent, increasing retention by 5 percent, and reducing tech handle time by 2 percent.
When asked if there are any competitive companies that might serve as public or private comparables, Chishti says he can think of no one doing anything similar to what Afiniti is doing in AI. “We are somewhat unique in that we’re the only company that can precisely measure that impact [of AI],” he said.
Other companies say they use AI, but it’s often impossible to differentiate the impact of their AI technologies from other strategies the company is using to grow sales.
There are several other companies, like Pegasystems, that are also using AI and seeing fast growth, Chishti said. However, Pegasystems, like several other players, is more focused on informational retrieval technologies, optimizing how companies engage with and respond to customers.
[VentureBeat will take a closer look at these technologies at our MobileBeat event in July in SF, which is focused specifically on how AI and other personalization technologies are disrupting the larger marketing ecosystem.]
Of Afiniti’s 700 employees, 500 are engineers, said Chishti. Of those engineers, two-thirds work on client interfacing. The other third are AI engineers, split between business analytics and machine learning.
Of course, the company’s move into retail has big privacy implications. Afiniti wants to observe people at a store’s point of sale so that it can recognize them again when they come back. The company would use facial recognition technology, and the information would be tied with the person’s past shopping behavior and other data the system has tied to them. When the person enters the store, Afiniti would again pair them with the salesperson deemed a best fit to conclude a sale.
There are no laws prohibiting such technology, though for obvious reasons retail organizations may be shy to implement it. So far, Afiniti says no retailer is using the technology.
 

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Keep Trucking based in Islamabad (I believe the headquarter is moved now), is valued at $1.4 Billion started by Shoaib Makani.



KeepTruckin Reaches $1.4B Valuation After $149M Fundraise In Latest Sign Of Cash Pouring Into Trucking Industry
Amy FeldmanForbes Staff
Manufacturing
  • Keeptruckin, Shoaib Makani, digital freight brokerage, trucking, technology, trucker regulations, Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups
KeepTruckin's Shoaib Makani
COURTESY OF KEEPTRUCKIN
KeepTruckin raised $149 million led by Greenoaks Capital to expand its technology for truckers in the latest sign of cash pouring into the trucking industry. The San Francisco-based company, which was on Forbes’ Next Billion-Dollar Startups list last fall, has now reached the unicorn level with a valuation of $1.4 billion.
“There’s never been more interest in the future of transportation, and trucking in particular, among tech investors,” Shoaib Makani, KeepTruckin’s cofounder and CEO, told Forbes. “It’s long overdue, frankly.”
Trucking is a giant industry – with more than $700 billion a year in freight revenue, according to the American Trucking Associations – yet until recently much of the required paperwork was done on paper. Congress enacted new regulations in 2012 that required truckers to use an electronic logging device to stay compliant with rules about the hours they drive.
Today In: Manufacturing
That rule change was a light bulb moment for Makani, 35, who previously worked as a venture capitalist at Khosla Ventures, where he led investments in Indiegogo and Instacart. He realized that he could bring truckers and small trucking firms into the digital age by allowing truckers to use their phones to comply with the new regulations, which went into effect in 2017. He and his cofounders, Ryan Johns and Obaid Khan, launched the company in 2013. “The mandate was the catalyst for the adoption of technology in the industry,” Makani said. “Truckers are hungry for technology.”
Since then, more than 1 million drivers have signed up for KeepTruckin's electronic-logging app, and around 55,000 trucking companies have installed its devices. Revenues surpassed $60 million in 2018, and are expected to more than triple in 2019.



As KeepTruckin expanded, it has added sensors and cameras that help truckers drive more safely and efficiently. Woodford Oil, a KeepTruckin customer, for example, was able to cut hard braking in half and hard accelerations by nearly 70% after just four months of reviewing video footage from KeepTruckin’s dashcams.
That, in turn, can save truckers substantially on their insurance premiums, which cost an average of $9,251 per vehicle per year, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. Truckers who install KeepTruckin's dashcams can save up to 40% on their insurance premiums, Makani said, a savings that could amount to nearly $40,000 a year for a fleet of 10 trucks.
The company has begun working with Progressive Insurance, the largest truck insurer, as it created a discount program called Smart Haul for truckers that use electronic-logging devices. To date, new truck customers with electronic-logging devices who signed up for Smart Haul have saved an average of $1,384 in the initial premium period, according to Rishi Arora, a Progressive product development manager.
Now, KeepTruckin is building an open marketplace to help truckers expand their businesses. Digital freight brokerage has become a huge, and growing industry, with companies that include Transfix (also on Forbes 2018 Next Billion-Dollar Startups list and profiled here), Convoy and Uber Freight competing to use technology to better match loads with truckers. KeepTruckin’s marketplace, Makani said, will differ from the others because it will allow any broker or carrier to plug into it.
Neil Mehta, managing partner of Greenoaks Capital (and an alumnus of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list), recalled how he first met Makani in the fourth-floor library of the London School of Economics during their junior year abroad. "We were just trying to figure out how to buy our next Subway sandwich and make sure we didn’t fail finals,” he said. “It was early.”
Over the years, they kept in touch, talking every few weeks, and trading ideas as venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. As Makani and his cofounders built the business, Mehta realized it fit his own investing criteria. "He built a beloved brand for truckers," he said. "There's an opportunity to deliver technology to a space that hasn't had much of it. That lowers anxiety for truckers and lowers anxiety for shippers."
The new funding brings total investment in KeepTruckin to $228 million. Its investors include IVP, GV, Index Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, as well as Greenoaks.
KeepTruckin is the second company on last year's Forbes' Next Billion-Dollar Startups list to pass the $1 billion mark this month. In mid-April, fintech insurer Lemonade reached a valuation of more than $2 billion after raising $300 million led by SoftBank Group.
 

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Sifive started and owned by a Pakistan with a valuation over 1 billion dollars.

Pakistani-American NED Alum Raises $50 Million For Silicon Valley Startup SiFive

SiFive, a Silicon Valley intellectual property tech startup, has raised $50.6 million in series C funding. The company is headed by Pakistani-American CEO and fellow NED University alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani. SiFive investors include Intel Capital, Western Digital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Spark Capital.

NED Alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani
The company was founded by Andrew Waterman, Krste Asanovic and Yunsup Leethe of the University of California at Berkeley. Their team developed open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) for Reduced Instruction Set Computing V (RISC V). RISC V design is freely available under Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) that was first introduced for Berkeley's open source UNIX operating system and open software tools. BSD license permits development of derivative intellectual property (IP) and products. It offers the advantage of having a large open-source community contribute to its continuous development and innovation.

SiFive sells core IP (intellectual property) based on RISC V ISA. The company's IP Cores are the most widely deployed RISC-V cores in the world. SiFive Core IP is verified and delivered in Verilog for custom SoC (System on Chip) designs.

Naveed Sherwani is a serial entrepreneur with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Karachi's NED Engineering University in 1983. He has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from University of Nebraska. He has taught at Western Michigan University and authored four books and over 100 papers.
 

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IT company sold to Cisco for $610million.

Pakistani-American Co-Founders Sell Tech Startup Viptela to Cisco For $610 million

Cisco is paying $610 million to acquire Viptela, a software-defined-networks (SDN) start-up in Silicon Valley that was co-founded in 2012 by Pakistani-American entrepreneurs Amir Khan, Atif Khan and Khalid Raza.

Software defined network (SDN) technology allows network managers to configure, manage, secure, and optimize network resources quickly as needed via dynamic, automated SDN programs.

"Together, Cisco and Viptela will be able to deliver next-generation SD-WAN solutions to best serve all size and scale of customer needs, while accelerating Cisco's transition to a recurring, software-based business model," said Rob Salvagno, Cisco's executive in charge of mergers and acquisitions.

Viptela's software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technologies are enabling small and large companies tackle the ongoing transition from traditional client-server model to cloud computing efficiently and effectively.

Viptela was founded by 5 co-founders, three Pakistanis and two Indians, in 2012 and had raised more than $108 million, including its most recent $75 million round just last May. The $610 million sale price offers a pretty good return for investors.

Prior to starting Viptela, the founders worked in different capacities for major network equipment companies including Cisco, Huawei and Juniper. One of the founders, Khalid Raza, is an alumnus of Karachi's NED University of Engineering and Technology.

Viptela and other companies in this space are benefiting from the continuing transition to a cloud-based subscription business.
 

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Its worth $2.7 billion as of today.


This Pakistani-American’s Cybersecurity Company is Worth $2.43 Billion Today
4years ago


Startups in Pakistan have been on the rise, but we still haven’t had an ultra-successful billion-dollar startup. Even in Silicon Valley and other startup hubs around the world, very few Pakistanis have made it big in the field of technology.

There is, however, one prominent Pakistani-American figure who has seen a tremendous amount of success in Silicon Valley.


Meet Ashar Aziz, a 57-year-old entrepreneur who entered Forbes’ Billionaire list two years back. Born in Pakistan, Aziz is the founder of FireEye, a cyber security company that provides automated threat forensics and dynamic malware protection.
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FireEye, a leader in cyber security, has a current market capital of $2.43 billion. Moreover, the company is also on the watchlist of Morgan Stanley for “6 tech companies most likely to be acquired”. The company’s equity strategists have updated the ranking of companies they think that are most likely to be acquired in the next 12 months.
The ranking is done according to a proprietary model that analyzes the companies’ finances. Apparently, FireEye also has a high probability of being acquired and is one of the 6 companies. The acquisition, if it happens, could also mean a big payout for Aziz, potentially adding him back into the list of billionaires for this year.
Ashar Aziz attended MIT to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and did his Masters in the same field from University of California, Berkeley. He founded FireEye back in 2004 and for eight years, he lead both the technical and business strategy of FireEye as CTO as well as the CEO. He now serves as the Vice-Chairman, Chief Strategy Officer and CTO at the company.
He is also the inventor of some of the core set of technologies behind the company’s Malware Protection Systems and has filed over 18 patents on various aspects of FireEye’s technologies. Even prior to FireEye, he had received 26 patents in the areas of networking, cryptography, network security and data center virtualization.
 

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Pakistani American IT CEO sells his company for $280 million.


Blue Coat Systems buys San Jose cloud security startup for $280M

Rehan Jalil  is CEO of San Jose-based Elastica, which is being acquired by Blue Coat Systems.
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Rehan Jalil is CEO of San Jose-based Elastica, which is being acquired by Blue Coat Systems.

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/blog/techflash/2015/11/sanjose/bio/3681/Cromwell+Schubarth
By Cromwell Schubarth – TechFlash Editor, Silicon Valley Business Journal
Nov 9, 2015, 6:35am PST Updated Nov 9, 2015, 10:28am PST

Blue Coat Systems on Monday said it has agreed to buy venture-backed San Jose cloud security startup Elastica for $280 million.
Sunnyvale-based Blue Coat was a publicly traded company until 2011, when it was taken private by Thoma Bravo for $1.3 billion. Bain Capital bought it earlier this year for $2.4 billion with a plan to take reportedly take it public.
Blue Coat is led by CEO Greg Clark and makes hardware that helps customers track encrypted Web traffic in their data centers, helping them prevent unwanted use of apps.
Elastica, led by CEO Rehan Jalil, offers software that helps its customers track which cloud services their employees are using and enforce security policies for those services.
Elastica was founded in 2012 and came out of stealth early in 2014. It raised about $36 million from investors who include Mayfield Fund, Third Point Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners and BYU Cougar Capital.
PitchBook Data shows that Elastica was valued at about $114 million when it completed a $30 million Series B round in March.
At that time the company employed 130, about 90 of whom work at its Santana Row headquarters. It planned to quadruple its space there and grow its staff at the upscale shopping center to about 150.
 

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Zia Chishti's Karachi based TRG is possibly the largest software export house with the net revenue of over 30 Billion Rs while its hard to judge the value of such company but based on income alone this will easily be another billion dollar company.

The Resource Group (TRG) opens state-of-the-art IT facility, a new 16-story tower located at main Shahrah-e-Faisal, in an opening ceremony held on Friday. US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale inaugurated the facility along with Grace Shelton, the US Consul General in Karachi.

The ceremony was attended by leaders of the business community and also the IT industry in Karachi along with senior members of TRG global leaders' team from the USA. Speaking on the occasion, Nadeem Elahi, Managing Director and Country Manager for TRG Pakistan said "We have specifically designed this IT facility to service TRG's local and international clients. This facility will create employment for 3,000 young professionals in IT and IT-enabled services in Karachi and will be the largest of its kind in Pakistan.

TRG Pakistan, through its subsidiaries: IBEX Global, DGS, E-Telequote, iSky and Afiniti employs approximately 6,000 young professionals in IT/IT-enabled services and enterprise software. We remain among the leading exporters of IT and software and ancillary services from Pakistan. The current fiscal year has been great for our Pakistan-based operations with an overall growth of over 40 percent having added 2,000 new employees from the prior year. Despite of all the challenges, TRG is extremely bullish on the Pakistan IT industry and we firmly believe that it can be a leading exporter for Pakistan within the next 5-10 years."

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador David Hale said. "The United States is one of Pakistan's largest trading partners and many American companies are present and thriving here in Karachi and throughout Sindh. Today we mark a successful American-Pakistani business partnership as we inaugurate this new IT services facility, a major expansion of the operations of TRG and its subsidiary IBEX Global, and the largest facility of its kind here in Pakistan." He also toured the facility and met with employees and lauded TRG for its efforts in promotion of employment of youth in Pakistan and particularly creating jobs for women in the country.

"IBEX Global is TRG's largest subsidiary in terms of revenues and we are a company that is building a reputation as one of the fastest growing providers in the BPO market," said Bob Dechant, CEO of IBEX Global. He further added, "In 2012, IBEX was an US$80million company. Today, we are a company with revenues of US$260 million and are on a trajectory to grow beyond US$300m in our fiscal year 2018. While our revenues have more than tripled in 5 years, our profitability has grown 8 to 9 fold. IBEX is a global Business Process Outsourcer with over 18,000 employees and 25 sites worldwide - 10 in the US, 4 in the Philippines, 1 in Jamaica, 1 in Nicaragua, 1 in United Kingdom, 1 in Senegal and 7 in Pakistan. We represent some of the best brands in the industry - from the leading technology and consumer electronics companies to many of the top telecommunications, financial services and emerging technology companies."-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2017
 

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This is an old number of $5 billion in exports. Even the US dept of commerce reported minimum IT exports from Pakistan of 5 billion but yet it only shows up at $1.5 billion in our export receipts. I will explain later why such big discrepancy and discuss how to close loopholes.

Did you know Indian calculate pay cheques earned by their H1B visa holders as export earnings? They are very good at inflating numbers and even their workers' paycheques are counted towards their IT export figures.
 

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This is an old number of $5 billion in exports. Even the US dept of commerce reported minimum IT exports from Pakistan of 5 billion but yet it only shows up at $1.5 billion in our export receipts. I will explain later why such big discrepancy and discuss how to close loopholes.
Majority of IT income into Pakistan goes to freelancers. Most of these count towards remittences.
 

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Yes it does but even worse is that almost all IT houses have their offices outside Pakistan even in Dubai etc.

So they get all the work done in Pakistan and then invoice client for let’s say $100 from their Newyork office. Once the payment is received 10 dollars ( bare minimum to cover cost and show minimum profit) is sent to Pakistan . The rest stays in the USA and we call it export of $10.

Indians don’t do that . They count entire supply chain and any foreign subsidiary business as their export. They even countH1B salary earnings as exports .

Pakistan is majorly screwed by under reporting. A grocery store selling water bottle to IT company selling software they all under report just so they can save taxes and bypass rules.

If one is to go by the Indian way of reporting our exports will be much higher and one estimate is that upto $15 billion and even this from an old report .

4A79ED48-346B-4875-9983-C27E85F15D84.png
 

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