This year, Pakistan experienced disruption online.
The Nest IO wrapped their flagship conference 021 Disrupt Wired this weekend. This year, the event was kept remote due to the pandemic, and rather than dampening their efforts, it gave them a boost and broke all records to host 7000+ participants from both Pakistan and abroad, with major announcements from tech companies.
The Big Bird, Founder of Nest I/O and President of [email protected] said that at the start, the organizers were wary of the virtual format and wondered whether participants could enjoy a packed schedule of online sessions. However, she said holding the conference completely virtually this year was a “very successful experiment”, adding “the engagement that happened during the past six days is unbelievable.”
And she’s right! The conference was a 6-day event that started on 30th November and leading up to the two main days of the event, was filled with engaging remote roundtables, office hours, and discussions where people from all industries discussed their domain, and the impact of COVID-19 on each.
Creators roundtable and other discussions
One of our favorite sessions was the Creator’s Roundtable that was held on December 2nd. The session was moderated by the renowned comedian and creator, Faiza Saleem, along with Sahar Habib Ghazi who’s a design thinking trainer, journalist, and community-builder. The session hosted some of the biggest creators of the industry including Kanwal Ahmed – founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, Humna Raza – blogger, entrepreneur, and creator, Hira Saeed – entrepreneur and founder of Catherpillars, Amtul and Fahad from Patangeer, Safa Rauf – CEO of Mad Media, Shehzad Ghias Sheikh, Muzamil Hasan, Anam Masood, Agha Ali Gul, Anam Hakeem, Shahanajan, and Marya Javed.
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The session included a discussion about Pakistan’s regulatory policies of social and creation platforms and their impact on our content and the overall industry. The creators also talked about the role of brands and agencies in building the influencer marketing industry and the impact of their practices on its growth. The insights shared during the session were a good eye-opener and opened a dialogue for the attendees and participants to talk about one of the most talked-about industry in Pakistan.
Then there was the Future of Work roundtable that talked about one of the most pressing issues every entrepreneur, corporation, and employee faced this year: remote work, its impact on businesses, time flexibility, empathy at work, and how companies should see themselves adapting to the remote work model in the long run. The session was moderated by Owais Zaidi, Executive Chairman at The Hive, and Saad Hamid, Developer Relations & Ecosystem at Google, with attendees including some of the most brilliant minds from the tech industry.
Aside from this, the conference was a hustle and bustle of events, with investor announcements taking up the stage in various moments:
- Indus Valley Capital launched applications for the Indus Valley Wapistani Track, a dedicated programme for returning Pakistanis.
- Lakson Investments Venture Capital led a $1,000,000 Pre-Series A round of funding of Roomy.pk — a lodging and hospitality startup.
- Fatima Gobi Ventures announced the first close of its $20 million debut fund, Techxila Fund I, investing in SafePay and Invest Hub, graduated cohorts of The Nest I/O.
- I2i Ventures and Sarmayacar launched Early Stage Investors’ Guide for Pakistan, a playbook for how to invest in local startups.
- 10Pearls acquired TwoDots, a Karachi-based design studio.
All in all, the event was a successful run of six days and kept the attendees hooked throughout. The theme of the event was Foraging Brave New Worlds, and forage it did with its content.
021 Disrupt in a Brave New World
2020 hasn’t been a normal year for anyone, and while 021 Disrupt wired itself to adapt to that scenario, not only did it come out strong but also more successful than ever before. The conference has always been a trailblazer in disrupting the tech and startup ecosystem of Pakistan. But this time, not only did it do that, but it also brought us an example that while a brave new world may seem like a strange concept, it becomes possible when great minds come together, as they did in 021 Disrupt Wired 2020.