OPTIMIZE, KITE’s keynote conference of the year, spanning over two days, will explore the nexus of finance, technology and entrepreneurship, and the opportunities that exist as these fields evolve around each other.
This year’s conference is divided into three major parts. The first part will focus on financing options available for startups and projects; the second part will discuss the present intersections between the worlds of finance and technology (such as payments systems, lending to tech startups, and the potential for a tech bank); finally, the third part of the conference will lay out a vision for the merger between the two worlds, concentrating on digital currencies, and the future of retail banking in an increasingly online world.
At the conference, you will get to hear some of Pakistan’s most distinguished personalities, in the world of banking, technology and business, discuss their vision for an inevitable evolution in the landscape of the financial and tech industries. Come join us optimize the future!
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Recent trends in technology have massively affected all fields including the financial, legal and entrepreneurship front. It has created new possibilities and offers immense potential for investors as well as individuals with innovative ideas. KITE took the lead on organizing a conference that would help bring the concerned individuals on one platform for a healthy and fruitful discussion.
1. Event details: KITE, in collaboration with Eduenrich and The Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) held an event called ‘OPTIMIZE: The finance, technology and entrepreneurship forum’. Held on the 7th and 8th of June at the Sheraton Hotel, this conference aimed to bring together professionals from diverse fields, mainly information technology, the financial sector and the legal front as well as entrepreneurs. The premise of the conference was that recent innovations in technology and finance have the potential to disrupt the current domestic financial system, and that entrepreneurs and professionals, with a robust understanding of both fields, will drive this shift.
2. Panel description: On day one, the panel discussions started with the introduction of ways start ups can finance themselves and how they can scale up. The talk involved current challenges that start ups face, how the industry has been financing itself, what options do small industries have to finance themselves? And how funding models can be improved in the future. The discussion was both knowledgeable and lively; presided by successful entrepreneurs, representatives from the central bank and private equity firms as well as angel investors, all with immense knowledge about their respective fields. These panelists shared their experiences, their lessons and the changes they foresee in the future. Such lessons will prove to be helpful for students who were attending and are considering becoming young entrepreneurs themselves.
3. The second day of the conference involved a discussion concerning cyber and financial laws that govern tech startups as well as a panel discussion of ‘how effective payment systems can be developed’ by panels who were representatives from the regulator and legal firms. The next session focused on the prospect of crowd-sourcing, and the legal domains in which it can operate. The panel drew insights from the experience of the tech industry, and financial and legal experts.
4. Another presentation on the second day looked at the history of banking, and how banking in its current form and shape may be disrupted by changes in technologies. One of those disruptions has been the emergence of digital currencies, including Bitcoin. A panel discussion focused on whether Bitcoin is a true disruptive technology or just a passing fad. An economist, a lawyer and a Bitcoin investor weighed in with their views. The final panel of the conference focused on how technology may be invading into the space of conventional banking, with an unbanked and online population providing a fertile space for such technologies. Most of these technologies have identified chinks in the financial system’s supply chain and have capitalized on them. The panel envisioned that conventional banks will have to be very nimble and more enterprising to tackle the challenges that await them as financial intermediation starts crossing into the virtual realm. On the other hand, the time is right for many entrepreneurs to take advantage of such disruptive technologies and enter the space that banks are hesitant to go into.
5. The panelists included representatives from the State Bank, representatives from the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@sha), Mr Zahid Jamil – a prominent lawyer, various entrepreneurs, and representatives from mobile payments service providers, among other distinguished veterans from the industry.
Being the first of its kind in this series, this conference has opened a lot of doors for individuals considering either investing in other companies or perhaps funding their own start-ups. More conferences of this nature would help promote a culture of entrepreneurship and self-financing. It would also encourage the youth of our country to come forward and explore existing opportunities and use them to benefit the industry as well as their own companies.