Islamabad, 22 May 2023: Over the past week, three startups from Ignite’s National Incubation Centers have won international recognition. “KalPay” of NIC Lahore and “Bioniks” of NIC Karachi made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list under “Finance & Venture Capital” and “Social Impact” categories respectively while Aero Engine Craft of NIC Lahore has successfully registered a patent on supersonic jet engines that can comply with current aircraft noise standards and can also achieve high performance of the engine during flight.
Hassan and Islam are cofounders of Pakistan’s sharia-compliant buy-now-pay-later startup KalPay, which aims to target the country’s huge population. Launched in June 2021 at NIC Lahore, KalPay has been partnering with other tech companies in Pakistan such as Foodpanda and Muawin to extend its reach and to provide financial access in a country where credit card penetration is less than 1% and almost 90% of transactions are done by cash. One backer of KalPay is Singapore-based Sabr Capital, which invests in Sharia-compliant ventures.
Anas Niaz and Ovais Hussain Qureshi are cofounders of Bioniks which is a social enterprise that develops low-cost bionic arms. The 3D-printed prosthetics are custom-made and equipped with sensors and software that allow the user to hold objects using robotic fingers. The devices can be updated and monitored via a cloud system. Bioniks, founded in 2016, can make arms for patients as young as 3 years. While the latest bionic arms typically cost $20,000 or more abroad, the ones from Bioniks are one tenth of the cost for $2000. That’s a saving of almost 90% for local patients. The company also connects those who can’t afford the prosthetics with donors.
Cherishing the memories of her father (co-inventor), Dr. Sarah Qureshi, founder of Aero Engine Craft said “On this World Intellectual Property Day, I am sharing my recently granted patent in the US and UK for a commercial supersonic engine design that I co-invented with my father, Late Masood Latif Qureshi. Although my father left us last year, his work lives on. The grant of a patent for my invention has been an overwhelming experience for me as I did not find any women jet engine inventors worldwide during my search for prior art in this domain.”
Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite stated that “It is a great moment for Ignite and IT Ministry for Pakistani startups winning international recognition in Forbes which indicates that the startups incubated and coached by Ignite’s NICs have demonstrated excellence, innovation, and market potential at a global level. The grant of an international patent to Dr. Sarah for a jet engine design demonstrates the talent of female engineers of Pakistan”.
National Incubation Centers (NICs) are a flagship program of Ignite and Ministry of IT & Telecom. Ignite’s network of incubation centers has spread to eight cities of Pakistan now including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, and Rawalpindi with more being planned in future. These NICs have incubated more than 1300 startups, created 126K direct and indirect jobs, generated cumulative revenue of Rs. 13.8 billion and raised funding of more than $74 million (Rs. 22.2 billion) over the last five years. Successful startups include Bykea, PakVitae, MyTM, Integry, Digikhata, Encorepay, Kalpay, Bioniks, Farmdaar, Ezbike, and many others. NICs are technology incubators that aim to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth of the startup ecosystem in Pakistan.