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Pakistan’s potential for technology start-ups: Hamza's story

Pakistan’s potential for technology start-ups: Hamza's story

Entrepreneur and Ding user Hamza Afridi from Pakistan boasts a pretty impressive resume.

The son of a Pakistani government official, he launched his first piece of technology software around the age of 13. It was a crowd-sourcing digital-art sharing system.

Just under ten years later, he is currently helming not one but two start-up companies; one of which involves harnessing technology for an electronic bike sharing facility.

And yes, he is still only 22.

“I am one of the co-founders of a company called CYKIQ. Our vision is far beyond just a bike sharing system. Keeping developing countries as our target market, we are developing technologies that are low-cost, energy efficient and robust solutions to short distance or inter-city traveling.

“At the same time we have started working on a smart bike that is going to revolutionize how this technology is going to be used.”

Hamza’s unwavering belief in his country and its potential for growth (particularly in the science and technology sectors) is more than palpable when speaking to him.

Though the infrastructure is there to encourage innovation in the sector, certain obstacles remain a major challenge for innovators and entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

“Being a product guy, I have faced numerous issues [but especially] finding mass manufacturers locally. There is a very small number of people who have the facility but half of them are illiterate and don't understand what we engineers have in mind.”

“Currently Pakistan has been focusing on helping start-ups but it's slow. [However] the… interesting thing… is that although we don't have a high literacy rate, we still have huge acceptance and appreciation for new technologies which keeps my hopes and morale high.”

I asked Hamza where he finds his inspiration and motivation for his businesses and his answer was startlingly simple.

Just look around you.

“I would advise each and every young person in the world to look around themselves. They don't really have to look into the world, maybe [even] their [own] neighbourhood.

“Find problems! You will find many! Choose one, the one you think you are born in this particular region to solve. Doing this, you will eventually find purpose to life.”

At the centre of all Hamza’s ventures is the simple motivation to make the lives of people in his country easier.

It was this same motivation that Ding CEO and founder Mark Roden had when a chance encounter with a waiter in Dubai planted the seed that would eventually grow into Ding.

Looking around him, Mark saw the potential to make the then cumbersome and complex system of sending mobile recharge back home simple and accessible for all.

So when Hamza got in touch with us and told us that he was a fan of Ding, we were excited (though a little bit anxious!) to hear his opinion of us.

“I remember googling an online solution for top up and… I tried [a] couple but they had so many steps and many of the steps where so useless.

“Then I found Ding; a perfect and easy way to get my top up done within minutes. It has never once taken more than a minute.”

Since then, Hamza has used Ding whenever he needed to recharge the Ufone Pakistan phones of his friends and family.

“I remember getting a call from my friend late night, in need of a recharge and I did it for him with my eyes closed through my smart phone. It's that simple.

“Ding has helped me stay in contact with my friends and family in very serious times. It has my trust and respect.”

Send recharge to a Ufone Pakistan phone today.

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