OPEN SV LaunchPad Roundup
This past Tuesday, Pillsbury Winthrop LLP sponsored the 2nd OPEN SV LaunchPad event of the year. Six startups pitched to four judges in a conference room at capacity. It seemed the over arching theme of the pitches involved leveraging Big Data to generate revenue. The evening began with dinner, and a networking session in the Pillsbury Law Firm lobby.  The entrepreneurs had booths showcasing their business and others networked with VCs, Law Firm Partners, business executives and fellow entrepreneurs.

The four judges at the event were:
• Riaz Karamali – Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
• Alicia Castillo Holley – Angel Investor & Founder of the Wealthing® Institute
• Stewart Guenther – Board Member, Family Media Angels
• Sudhakar Muddu – VP & GM Cloud and Big Data Analytics @ VMware

The six startups presenting were:

• (1st PLACE)
Eric Dillon & Kirti Baliga – A new social way for moms to shop for clothes for their children - from pictures shared by other moms. We enable shopping from the pictures with tags placed by moms as they share. Our social platform is the perfect channel for kids clothing brands: a community of moms, focused on kids’ clothes.

• (2nd PLACE)
Marco Montes - SaaS solution for any business to receive high volume, precise and real time feedback from their customers and employees. Through its micro survey solution, businesses gather data through mobile devices.
• (3rd PLACE)
Jawad Ansari – Big Data & Al-Powered Litigation Intelligence
Jeh Daruvala – speech recognition & sentiment/topic engines that allow you to automate indexing and monetization of audio / video assets.

Omar Khalid – Cyclone Firewall Service is a FWaaS solution that provides ubiquitous network usage policy enforcement.
Kevin Longa - documentary series featuring the stories of international food entrepreneurs - from the aspiring chefs in France to the global food enterprisers in America. 


1st and 2nd place winners will have the opportunity to meet OPEN SV charter members for a mentorship lunch, and discuss the opportunity to connect with their valuable network.
The evening was capped off with a fitting story involving the essence of Entrepreneurialism. Waqas Ali of Okara, Pakistan (a small remote village) spoke about how he spotted a problem and wanted to help. Growing up in the small village, he saw large companies employ local  leather craftsmen to produce high quality goods with very little economic gain. He had a passion and vision to allow these craftsman to excel at what they do and retain the economic benefits. After dropping out of college, Waqas turned his passion for high quality handmade leather goods into a growing company named Hometown Shoes (Lahore, Pakistan). As a testament to their great products, Waqas will be visiting Tony Shea’s Zappos next week in Las Vegas. This story shows us all, that with a great product and proper execution, anything is possible; regardless of location.


On Feb 06th, OPEN SV and its members welcomed Saad Jangda, CEO and Founder of and Rehan Mushtaq, CTO of Ingenious Zone. Saad and Rehan's companies are this year's winners of MITEF-BAP Business Competition and were excited about the prospect of meeting with our members and larger community.

Saad is also the founder of eBusiness Group. He started Symbios with five employees and today the company has grown to 50+ employees with thousands of items listed in the only online store serving the Pakistani market. He spoke about his passion for entrepreneurship and how he bootstrapped his company in Pakistan taking the current sales into Millions of USD. He talked about the challenges of the business environment in Pakistan as well as the replete opportunities for entrepreneurship in Pakistan and the region. 

Rehan Mushtaq of Ingenious Zone was present to talk about development of Web and Mobile applications in Pakistan. Ingenious Zone provides solutions ranging from small to large scale applications, including ERP solutions. Ingenious Zone has been providing these services since 2006 and is now moving towards product based business. One of its latest apps is called Swap Device, which is a data transfer application for mobile devices. It allows users to transfer all kinds of data from one mobile to another regardless of the OS or type of the phone. Ingenious Zone has a team of 50+ people at its facility in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Rehan talked about the fierce competition in Pakistan for talent and the segments of markets that exist in the region. 

Audience present at the event provided some great feedback to the two entrepreneurs and in fact, Saad managed to snag a new customer adding to the portfolio of the products sold on his website from the audience. 

OPEN SV wishes the best to the two entrepreneurs and will continue to work with them and other entrepreneurs in the future.

OPEN Silicon Valley Monthly Breakfasts provides a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs and industry professionals to meet with Experts in their respective field, in a relaxed, informal setting, to build relationships and get valuable Business and Career feedback. Participatants deliver an elevator pitch for 30 to 60 seconds, and the guest mentor provides immediate feedback, enabling fast, effective, accessible mentoring and relationship development.

Like some other OPEN events, the partipating in Monthly Breakfasts is available to  to all OPEN SV members free of charge. If you are currently not a member and would like to become one click here .  If you are interested in hosting or attending a breakfast event please email the Mentorship committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


OPEN SV is proud to count the LaunchPad Program as a leading initiative with entrepreneurs in mind. The program is for both, budding and experienced entrepreneurs and is designed to bridge the gap between the entrepreneurs and potential investors. Entrepreneurs are invited to submit pitches (Business Plans, Deck, Executive Brief) in order to get selected and get an opportunity to present their business ideas to VCs and Experienced Entrepreneurs at an event where they can expect candid feedback as well as making important connections. OPEN SV is proud to have featured many startups already over the coarse of the past two very active years for the program under the guidance of our Program Manager and Charter Member, Shoieb Yunus.

Here is the process for submitting your business plan:

1. Send a One page Executive Brief about your startup to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the email

2. Send a slide deck to the same two addresses (No More than 10 slides)

As part of the series of events under the program a successful panel discussion on funding trends was held in Q4 of 2013. The details of the event can be found here. If you are looking to submit your plan for participation in the event, the content discussed in the write up and the questions asked are good to consider before formulating your business plan and presentation.

LaunchPad is available to all OPEN members who qualify as an entrepreneur, and  comply to a predefined criteria. The participating entrepreneur can expect to get valuable feedback and, hopefully funding to fuel their startup.

Entrepreneurs, mentors and investors are encouraged to attend.


Chair: Shoieb Yunus
Volunteer Team: Saif Akhtar, Mufaddal Esmail, Tajammul Sheikh and AbdulRahman El Hussaini


For more information or to submit a pitch email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


At OPEN SV we host monthly workshops that focus on specific topics in Entrepreneurship and business leadership.