Pakistani firm wins top spot in maiden Stanford SEED Spark Programme

Pakistani firm wins top spot in maiden Stanford SEED Spark Programme

Pakistani firm wins top spot in maiden Stanford SEED Spark Programme

KARACHI: The Pakistani startup has won first place across South Asia in the capstone business pitch competition in the Stanford Seed Spark Programme, a statement said.

The startup nominated by the National Incubation Centre (NIC) Lahore at LUMS, won top laurels and a cash prize for high-achieving entrepreneurs across South Asia. This was the inaugural cohort from Pakistan, and was introduced by the NIC LUMS, it added.

“Our partnership with Stanford SEED Spark reflects our confidence in Pakistani entrepreneurs and their ability to compete with the very best talent globally,” NIC LUMS Lahore and Quetta chairman Saleem Ahmad said at the graduation ceremony of Stanford SEED Spark’s inaugural cohort in Pakistan.

“Our conviction is reinforced by the fact that all of NIC LUMS mentored startups made the top 20 finalists and have brought home much pride in also winning the top position across South Asia,” he added.

83 ventures participated in the programme, from across 17 collaborating institutions such as IIT Bombay, TiE Chennai and CII-Young Indians. The competition selected only the top 20 graduates as finalists.


After a rigorous scoring process, the top three start-ups were selected to win a cash prize as well as a virtual showcase feature in the global Stanford SEED Spark gallery.

“Our collaboration with NIC LUMS for Spark’s maiden cohort in the Pakistan startup ecosystem has been a great experience,” Stanford Seed South Asia regional director P R Ganapathy said.

“We are thrilled to see the energy and enthusiasm that NIC LUMS nominated entrepreneurs brought to the programme. We are looking forward to meeting more innovators and problem solvers from Pakistan to apply and make best use of a word-class online entrepreneurship programme at their own pace and time,” he added.

Speaking about her journey with the programme, co-founder of, Sadaf Rehman said, “The Stanford SEED Spark Programme was instrumental in helping us articulate our vision. The frameworks, expert sessions, as well as the one-on-one mentorship provided just the right mix to propel us beyond what we could have achieved on our own.”

“I am deeply grateful to NIC LUMS for introducing this programme to Pakistan, and for the networking opportunities and support that they have provided along our journey,” she added.

Her venture,, provides fun, interactive coding classes to children aged six years and up, with the aim to promote critical 21st century skills like problem solving, creativity, and resilience.


Within the first year of operations, the startup is reaching over 450 students in ten countries. She was mentored by LUMS alumnus, Google programme manager in Zurich Adeel Saya.

Another NIC LUMS backed entrepreneur founder of XStak, Malik Waleed Tariq also made the top 20 finalist list. His venture is an all-in-one, self-service retail operating system that enables retailers to perform Omni-channel commerce, marketing, payments, and business intelligence operations on a transaction-based pricing model. He was mentored by another LUMS alumnus, Ali Almakky, Strategy and Operations, JPMorgan, London.

Haris Anwaar, AWS Finance, Amazon, (Seattle) also joined the NIC mentors list with a startup in the top 20 finalists.

The Stanford SEED Spark Programme is a four-month training for early-stage entrepreneurs in traction or growth stage and seeks to empower them with practical tools to refine and develop their businesses through an action-based curriculum, networking opportunities with peers, one-on-one mentorship, and live expert-sessions. The NIC LUMS brought the Stanford SEED Spark programme to Pakistan and will be expanding it nationwide, with the second cohort due to begin in March 2022.

The Programme is one of three academically supplemented training opportunities provided by NIC LUMS. Its Foundry Programme is driven by LUMS’ curriculum and taught by the University’s faculty, and has recently launched the Entrepreneurship 101 programme in collaboration with Germany’s University of Saarland.


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