Compared to many other countries in the world, Pakistan is considered a relatively new player in the global software development industry. While there are challenges competing with an already booming global market, undoubtedly Pakistan’s emerging IT industry has the capability to grow. Based on statistics provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, there are approximately 1,500 registered IT companies in Pakistan, and the number is growing. Efforts by the Government of Pakistan are partially responsible for this growth. As per the former Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, the rate of IT exports increased to 150%over the past five years. To attract investments in the IT sector and in order to improve IT-based infrastructure, the former PML-N government began promoting start-ups by facilitating them with incentives, some of which included income tax exemptions on IT exports until 2019, 100% foreign ownership, and a 3-year tax exemption. During 2016-17, Pakistan’s IT-based exports increased from US$3.3 billion to US$5billion. These incentives are bound to initiate the formation of more companies, especially if the current PTI government continues such steps to create a positive ecosystem for IT companies and start-ups. Driving this growth are companies like VentureDive, a technology solutions company that hails from Pakistan yet possesses a larger global footprint. “We at VentureDive believe that technology is just an enabler, a tool for the convenience of people. Our focus is on using technology to simplify people’s lives seamlessly; to use it as a facilitator for lifestyle improvements and for changing patterns in human behaviour,” says Saad Fazil, Managing Director and co-founder at VentureDive.Saad feels people and their habits are generally an overlooked aspect of tech intervention; thus along with his co-founders, he aims at making VentureDive a company that provides solutions to problems faced by people through disruptive technology. The approach has been paying dividends and, of late, the company has made a name for itself within the Pakistani IT industry. The company was founded in 2012 by former Stanford and MIT graduates who were working in Silicon Valley, California. With international experience in hand, and having seen the innovative culture that exists in the Valley, the founders looked to introduce a similar environment in Pakistan. Since its inception, VentureDive has come a long way towards achieving its mission. It now has a large team of capable engineers, developers, designers, and sales professionals, spread across Lahore, Karachi, Dubai, London, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The company provides its diverse portfolio of clients a wide range of services, including User Experience, Product Strategy, Software Development, Digital Transformation, Web & Mobile Development, Company Applications, Designing, and Management Consulting. Pakistan’s software industry has largely been driven by projects from both international and local corporations. VentureDive has been able to attract the likes of Dubai-based Careem and global aviation company VistaJet (well-known for arranging flights for government officials and private clientele and one of Europe’s top five Unicorn companies); the company has also developed smart government applications and pioneered intelligent transportation systems for the Roads & Transport Authority Dubai.It was, in fact, the success of its various projects that has allowed VentureDive to expand into the Middle East by opening offices in the UAE as well, after Lahore and Karachi. Apart from attracting international clients, the company’s founders are particularly proud of making an global impact with a ‘made in Pakistan product’, Athan, which VentureDive has established in collaboration with Islamic Finder; the most authentic source of Islamic information available online. IslamicFinder’s mission is to help Muslims around the globe navigate their daily lives – VentureDive has only scratched the surface when it comes to reaching the product’s full potential. The app’s popularity led Athan to be featured as one of the fastest growing applications in the Asia Pacific region at the Google App Summit in Singapore. As one of the region’s fastest growing technology companies, VentureDive is also dedicated to helping corporations and start-ups navigate their journey by providing them the tools with which to make their goals a reality. Recently, VentureDive acquired Karachi-based Taplando, an augmented reality (AR) start-up. The success story doesn’t stop here; VentureDive is also one of best start-up companies in the list of all notable start-up companies in the country. This feat was achieved in the PSEB IT Awards 2016 held by the Ministry of IT and Telecom.While VentureDive has made its mark in almost every aspect of software development, the company CEO Atif Azim firmly believes the impact of a technology solutions company like VentureDive can be far more than just that. “Technology has been identified as one of the strongest contributors to societal progress. While we are actively looking for CSR initiatives with organisations willing to partner for the greater good, some of our clients too present opportunities that help us deliver technological innovation in areas such as healthcare. It is exciting to be in a position where we can use innovative technologies to bring convenience in people’s lives. Our work with Careem in Pakistan and Droobi, a health tech initiative, are prime examples of this.” Atif believes that socio-economic acceleration should be a natural by-product of the work done by technology companies, and that developing countries such as Pakistan will be the greatest beneficiaries of such work.Having established itself as a software development hub par excellence in Pakistan, it’s now time for VentureDive to look towards building an even greater footprint for the Pakistani industry on an international level. Surely, an approach of this sort is bound to take Pakistan’s flag at the forefront of the global technology landscape, while enabling the lives of thousands of global netizens.Published in Daily Times, November 8th 2018.