Entrepreneurs of Pakistan | Plan9

Entrepreneurs of Pakistan

I’m an educationalist and have worked in this field for 15 years. I remember, once on a school trip, we stopped at a Dhaba (roadside restaurant). There came a little kid selling boiled eggs. He was hardly 5 years old, skinny kid, breathing heavily, with a runny nose, wearing ragged clothes and a torn sandal in a cold weather. Upon enquiry, I came to know that the kid has a hole in his heart, since birth. I asked his father who was also working there, “Why are you letting him work when he is sick?” His reply shocked me ‘baji kiya karun, kharcha pura karna hai.

With less than 6 months left in my graduation, unlike any other student the fear of unemployment did not take over me. The only thing that seemed logical then was, why run after jobs when you can create them? Instead of going with the flow, I planned to create waves!

"When I was introduced to freelancing by my present Co-founder Khalid back in GIKI days, I never really gave much thought to this idea. As every other graduate, the fear of not getting a job right after graduation started setting in and I took up one of the job offers that I got, as an iOS developer in a software house. I always believed leaving a well-paid job and pursuing freelancing alone, was not my thing. However, fate has its own strange ways and I was left with no other option but to go for freelancing when I had a severe accident and was bedridden for almost a year.

My entire life ever since I shifted to Lahore, 15 years ago has been a struggle. From wanting to get into NCA but ending up studying fashion at PIFD, to being dropped out due to grades and eventually landing at NCA studying animation. My life has been a roller coaster ride and this was just the beginning. The course at NCA ended in 6 months and I pursued my bachelors and masters from Punjab University in Textile Designing following which I had my fair share of securing different jobs back to back.

A few years ago, I was working at a late stage startup called Okta in San Francisco. The startup itself was doing exceptionally well, but in the midst of everyone else’s success I felt like I wasn’t moving forward with my career or my life. One day, someone I knew called me in for an interview to potentially join a new company. It wasn’t much of an interview as much as me being told about what a great opportunity the new company was and how large was the financial package they were offering.

“A lot of people ask me, why I started Azauj. I smile and tell them that it makes business sense for X or Y reasons, but today I’ll tell the entire story. It all started when my traditional yet progressive parents sought the services of matchmakers for me. At that time, I had no objections and followed suit.

 

“Born and raised in a family of businessmen, I always had a knack for entrepreneurship. My first venture was in High School when a couple of friends and I started a magazine on our own. Only one issue ever came out though, but it was my first crusade in the world of business.

“Living in Wazirabad for 20 years was an experience in itself. The sight of the factories, the craftsmen working day and night and the sound of steel always intrigued me. When I returned to my hometown after completing my computer engineering, what was just a fascination to me in my childhood years became my passion. I started researching and was amazed to find out that the knives, daggers and body armors used in Hollywood movies were made in Wazirabad. The deeper I researched, the more it caught my interest.