The 5th edition of Pakistan’s biggest startup competition, Pakistan Startup Cup held its closing ceremony yesterday In Islamabad. The Pakistan Startup Cup has been initiated in Pakistan by TiE Islamabad in Partnership with US State Department and Griffin Worx, USA (which was formerly known as Startup Cup LLC). Since its inception in 2013, the Cup has attracted stellar and amazing startups from across the country.

This year’s cup saw more than 2000 startups join the competition across the nation with the workshops and pitches being held at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Faisalabad. Over a grueling 10 month period the startups passed through multiple stages of the competition and the final saw the top 3 from the six cities come together for the final 18 pitches in front of an esteemed panel of judges comprising of top entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the nation.

This was the first time in all of the Startup Cups held so far that Peshawar really made its presence felt, as two out of the three top positions went to Peshawar based startups. Nano IT Solutions bagged the Cup by securing the First position and a prize money of Rs. 1 million while Aprus Technologies secured the second runner up position and a prize money of Rs. 500,000. Both of the Peshawar based startups are incubated at the National Incubation Centre Peshawar.

Nano IT Solutions is Pakistan’s first manufacturer of AR VR motion platforms used in education, gaming & training simulators. They have launched an edutainment arcade with their own locally produced motion platforms in Peshawar by the name of VRHere which has already served more than 13000 customers. They are currently digitizing local tourist experiences to be used on their AR/VR platforms (such as a Cable Car ride in Malam Jabba or a boat ride in Lake Saif ul Malook) to be integrated in their VRHere franchise across the nation.

Aprus Technologies’ Electrosurgical Unit is one of these ground breaking innovations, which aims to make surgical procedures all around the world safer and more reliable. These units are used in almost all surgical procedures to cut and coagulate the tissues during surgeries. Pursuing a PhD in the same subject matter, the founder is creating a safer surgical blade that helps surgical cuts heal faster.

This year’s Pakistan Startup Cup saw massive interest from KPK with more than 180 Startups joining the competition. The three finalists from Startup Cup KPK; Nano IT Solutions, Aprus and Bera, were all incubatees of NIC Peshawar. These amazing startups are reinventing the industries in their particular domain.

The winners received their awards by the guests of honor for the session, ; Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training and His Excellency Paul W. Jones, Ambassador of United States of America to Pakistan. Addressing the attendees of the session, Minister stressed on the importance of innovation, creativity and initiative for successful transformation of economic landscape of Pakistan. He also appreciated young innovators for presenting localized solutions to our social problems. While the Ambassador commended the young entrepreneurs by saying,

“You all represent the next generation of business leaders and with the skills you have been honing here, you are equipped to solve the most challenging problems and create durable solutions for your communities, for Pakistan& for the global community.”

Murtaza Zaidi, Director NIC Peshawar expressed his gratitude at closing ceremony of Pakistan Startup Cup and said,

“Today is the proud moment for NIC Peshawar. It’s been 6 years since the inception of Startup Cup but not even a single company won or even made the cut to top three positions of Pakistan Startup Cup from Peshawar but this year not one but two Peshawar Based companies incubated at NIC Peshawar got the top slots. This shows the hard work and dedication of the team, mentors and all our partners.”

President of TiE Islamabad, Sarah Hashwani congratulated the winners and reassured them that TiE will always support them in their future endeavors. The guests of honor for the ceremony; Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training and His Excellency Paul W. Jones, Ambassador of United States of America to Pakistan showed great interest in the pitches of both startups and appreciated them for innovating their respective fields.

Launched in January 2018, National Incubation Center, Peshawar funded by Ignite, Ministry of IT & Telecom and driven by LMKT in collaboration with PTCL aims to build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa by supporting the creation of disruptive, innovative product-based startups.