WE BELIEVE ENTREPRENEURS
HAVE THE POWER
TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
WE PROVIDE THE SUPPORT
THEY NEED TO GET THERE.
Who We Are
Invest2Innovate supports startup communities in growth markets, and has been operating in Pakistan since 2011. We believe that startup communities are forming all over the world, but more fragile or nascent markets can disable and hinder that entrepreneurial growth. At i2i, we believe the next great innovators can and should come out of countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Nigeria, but need the resources and proper ecosystem to get there. That’s where we come in.
Invest2Innovate finds, selects & vets impact entrepreneurs for the i2i Accelerator, an annual four-month program that provides business support and access to mentors and investment. Since 2012, i2i has accelerated 25 startups in Pakistan, which have gone on to raise over $2.5M in capital, scaled their businesses, created over 4000 jobs, and deepened their social and economic impact in the country. Aside from entrepreneur support, i2i also operates two more verticals – Invest, which works to strengthen access to capital in growth markets, and Insight, which provides research, data and analysis to provide a deeper understanding of these startup communities.
Founder / C.E.O.
Kalsoom is the Founder/CEO of Invest2Innovate, or i2i, which has been operating in Pakistan since 2011. Kalsoom has also trained young entrepreneurs, changemakers, and civil society leaders in Cambodia, Ireland, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, and has spoken at numerous venues, including the World Economic Forum, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. State Department, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She was previously a Washington, D.C. co-ambassador for Sandbox, a global network of innovators under 30, (recently renamed the Thousand Network) and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers. She was featured in Diplomatic Courier’s Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders under 33 in 2012, and was named an Ashoka Changemakers/ American Express Emerging Innovator for 2013. Kalsoom also founded the popular blog, CHUP, or Changing Up Pakistan in January 2008, and has written for the Washington Post, The Next Web, the Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, NextBillion and Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper. She has a B.A. from the University of Virginia in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies, and an M.A. from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in International Affairs/Conflict Resolution.
Accelerator & Strategy Head
Meenah Tariq is a Fulbright scholar and MBA from Babson College, with a degree in strategy and entrepreneurship. Prior to Babson, Meenah has years of experience as a serial-entrepreneur, consultant, project manager, and finance executive. Her oldest entrepreneurial experience was at age eight, when she started making bracelets and selling them door to door. She started her first ‘serious’ small business when she was fourteen years old, and has, over time, been a part of four other start-ups in a variety of fields. Meenah has substantial experience consulting for entrepreneurs and non-profits. Acting as an external consultant, she has facilitated business plan development, and provided managerial and strategic support. She has also designed and executed marketing research campaigns for various products and services. Meenah believes that entrepreneurship is currently one of the strongest economic forces in the world, and the dynamics of start-ups and entrepreneurial personalities fascinate her to endlessly!
Business & Operations Head
Ahsan carries a diverse experience of working with both corporates and startups. Before joining i2i, he has worked for Huawei and China Mobile, where he was managing network operations and optimization for northern Pakistan. He has also managed business development for Olaround, a location based loyalty service application designed for SME’s. He is also heading one of Google’s community outreach programs for local businesses, aiming to strengthen the digital presence of local businesses in Islamabad. He is a TEDster and co-curates TEDxIslamabad. Ahsan has represented Pakistan on various International forums in North America and South East Asia through the International Visitor Leadership Program and Google community platforms.
Afifa is the Program Associate at i2i and a former city supply intern at Careem. She has a Bachelors in Public Administration from NUST. Afifa has been affiliated with projects in collaborations with organisations such as STEP, PLAN International, Sweet Angel’s Foundation, School of Leadership, and AIESEC. An ardent foodie at heart, she is also nurturing her start-up, the ‘SPICE QUEEN’, a home based cooking venture providing lunch to Islamabad based offices such as Careem, as well as individual consumers. She fell in love with the world of entrepreneurship at a very young age when she used to gather all her belongings and set up a ‘shop’ in her house and engage in barter trade with her ‘customers’ (read: family and friends). She later went on to incorporate her skills in the kitchen and as an event organiser with her ‘pop-shop’ concept to host and participate in multiple community welfare fund raisers supporting causes such as flood relief, IDPs rehabilitation, renovating schools in under-developed communities, and mentoring children at orphanages to name a few. Afifa has also facilitated multiple skills-based workshops and is an ardent climate change and civil rights advocate.
Board of Advisors
Cameron is an Investment Funds Associate at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, providing financing to private equity funds in emerging markets. Prior to joining OPIC, Cameron was an Investment Analyst at Leopard Capital, a Southeast Asian private equity firm. He began his relationship with invest2innovate as an i2i MBA Fellow where he led the team’s early efforts in creating the i2i Angel Network. Earlier in his career, Cameron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the remote hills of northern Thailand. Cameron holds an MBA from the Middlebury Institute and a BA in Economics from Fordham University.
Elmira is the co-founder of Foreign Policy, Interrupted, an incubator/media enterprise aimed to increase the number of women commenting on foreign affairs on op-ed pages and television. She is also the founder of the World Policy Institute’s Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Project. Elmira will soon be releasing a book called, “Steve Jobs Lives in Pakistan: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs in the Developing World,” the story about how entrepreneurship has gone global. Occasionally, Elmira writes about global innovations and entrepreneurship in a weekly column entitled, Entreventures, on Forbes.com.
Faisal Khan is an independent Banking Payments Consultant, providing advisory services for banks and financial services companies. Most of his work is based on architecting payment networks, products, and solutions for clients or doing product/idea validation, and his core focus has been on cross-border transactions in the P2P, B2C and B2B space. Faisal also an advisor to Hippocorn (a VC company out of Denmark) as well as a talent scout for Series A & B financing for various fintech VCs/funds. He has over 5,000+ answers published on Quora Internet related to banking, fintech, payments & payment systems, and is also a Co-Host of a Fintech / Banking Payments Podcast
Fawzia Naqvi is a former Vice President of Soros Economic Development Fund of Open Society Foundations where she had prime shareholder responsibility for SEDF’s investment portfolio in India as well as fund investments in Mexico and a Micro-Insurance fund which invests in Africa and Asia. In addition Fawzia co-founded Open Society Foundations Economic Policy think tank in Pakistan called Institute for Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), and serves as a member of its Board. Prior to leaving OSF in December 2016, Ms. Naqvi worked with a team to build Open Society Foundation’s new Economic Advancement Program
Misbah heads Global Market Development for Boloro Global Limited, a US-based start-up that has launched Boloro, a global mobile payments network currently live in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Misbah has over 16 years experience in finance and business development in Pakistan and the US. Previously, Misbah was at Acumen, a non-profit global venture fund, initially building and managing investments in Pakistan and subsequently focusing on fundraising and community building.
Shuja joined The Resource Group founding team at inception in 2002. Shuja is a Managing Director at The Resource Group based out of San Francisco. His primary responsibility is to help the firm drive value by improving the operational effectiveness of TRGâ€™s portfolio companies, and leading fundraising, growth, and liquidity initiatives. Shuja has worked on over twenty-five completed M&A transactions. He currently serves on the Boards of several private companies. Prior to joining TRG, Shuja was a founder of HauteDecor an internet platform for high-end furniture and furnishing funded by Institutional Venture Partners, GeoCapital, and Art Alliance. Earlier, Shuja held positions at Morgan Stanley and Salomon Smith Barney. Shuja is a Founding Board Member of The Spark Academy – a private elementary school in the San Francisco area for exceptionally motivated learners with an inclination for mathematics and programming. Shuja graduated with a SB degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with concentrations in Finance, Information Technology, and Operations Research and a Minor in Economics. Shuja is an avid traveler and is passionate about fine dining, art and design.
Valerian is an Investment Manager for Insitor Management, an impact investment firm based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Working between Phnom Penh and New Delhi, Valerian has structured deals in several sectors including clean water, renewable energy, and healthcare. Valerian started his career as a buy-side analyst in a small cap investment fund in Paris, and subsequently worked in New Delhi as a management and corporate finance consultant.