Telenor Pakistan’s digital accelerator programme, Telenor Velocity is excited to announce the startups for its much anticipated 7th cohort, this time in partnership with Telenor Microfinance Bank / Easypaisa. The startups were welcomed onboard in a virtual orientation session, with keynote addresses by Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan and M. Mudassar Aqil, CEO Telenor Microfinance Bank / Easypaisa. Designed to foster an environment of innovation and collaboration, Telenor Velocity enables Pakistan’s tech-startups to break new ground in digital product and service offerings, and to scale to great heights with the support of Telenor Pakistan’s extensive digital resources.
Launched in 2016, the accelerator has to date conducted 6 cohorts, with 32 graduated startups, 4+ pilot runs and $40,000 pilot investment. Moreover, $3 million investment has been raised, so far, by the programme’s startups.This year, Telenor Velocity has collaborated with the recently launched Easypaisa Open API Gateway, marking another step towards digital enablement through technology. Easypaisa’s Open API Developer Portal which is now live, allows for seamless third party integration, enabling partners to integrate 30+ digital payments use cases and also testing the processes in a sandbox environment.
Telenor Velocity’s 7th Cohort received 70+ applications from mature startup business, out of which 24 startups were shortlisted for the interview rounds. After 4 days of vigorous startup interviews judged by a panel of internal experts from Telenor Pakistan & Telenor Microfinance Bank, 7 startups were chosen for this cohort. The cohort was formed keeping in mind the industries and verticals which need to be amplified in today’s world. The startups work in the areas of Fin-tech, Ed-tech, Agri-tech, Health-tech, and Inclusion. The 7 startups that have been selected for this year’s cohort are Uptrade, GoodEarth, Digi Khata, Foree, Ola Doc, SehatKahani, and DeafTawk.
During his keynote address, welcoming this year’s cohort, CEO Telenor Pakistan, Irfan Wahab Khan stated, “This year’s Velocity Cohort,is designed with the purpose of co-creating digital solutions for sustainable development, with a focus on promoting inclusion and bridging divides. I am extremely proud of the incredible work each of these 7 startups are doing and consider it our responsibility to empower them on their journey.” He further added, “Telenor Pakistan is committed to playing its part in enabling the country’s youth to achieve the common goal of a robust, equitable digital society.”
CEO Telenor Microfinance Bank / Easypaisa, M. Mudassar Aqil stated on the occasion, “It gives us immense pleasure to work with Telenor Velocity to equip today’s young change-makers with the tools needed to redefine ‘inclusion’ on a nation-wide scale. We have always believed that startups form the innovative backbone of progressive economies and can potentially usher in a new era of digitization and development across several domains. Moreover, this cohort will also be able to access the recently launched Easypaisa Open API Gateway which is another step towards digital enablement through the power of technology. This gateway will enable startups to empower Pakistanis to dream, believe, and achieve more than ever before”.
The Telenor Velocity program offers startups equity-free support for 4 months. Along with having access to Telenor Pakistan’s 48 million customers and My Telenor App’s 8 million users, the startups will also be supported in SMS marketing campaigns, will receive coaching from domain experts, and have access to state-of-the-art data analytics/customer insights. They will also be able to reach the organisation’sagri portfolio of 7 million farmers. Moreover, the 7 startups will have access to Telenor Pakistan’s APIs and for the first time ever, they will enjoy unprecedented access to the recently launched Easypaisa Open API Gateway.
This year, Telenor Velocity is also working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support selected startups with access to AWS Activate. Activate provides startups with a host of benefits, including AWS credits, AWS support plan credits, and training, to help grow their business. Activate benefits are designed to give startups the right mix of tools and expert support so they can succeed with AWS while optimising performance, managing risk, and keeping costs under control.