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Pakistan’s first ever hackathon in Lahore next week

In the run-up to the Momentum Tech conference to be held in the third of week of February in Karachi, Abacus Consulting with the Momentum Pakistan is launching the first-ever API (application programming interface) hackathon – APIthon – in Lahore on January 13 and 14 where startups will be tasked with consuming Pakistan’s major companies’ open APIs.

The event, where startups can register and participate free of cost and try their tech skills to build innovative products and services, will have access to open APIs of Telenor Pakistan, Apigee, JS Bank, Easypaisa and Telenor Bank.

Shoaib Khan, vice president of Abacus Consulting financial services and digital, said: “By harnessing the power of open APIs coupled with the intelligent, secure API management system, startups and corporations will have endless opportunities to mutually design and explore an ecosystem focused on disruption and experimentation – an ecosystem that will continue to grow long after the APIthon.”

The APIthon expects the participants to come up with an upgraded or new service(s), by consuming partner companies’ APIs, in their existing app and/or revenue stream(s). The best three services will get the winning prizes.

World-class companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have opened their APIs’ access to other vendors the world over for the advancement of technology.

Shoaib said Google maps’open APIs had revolutionised ride-sharing applications like Uber and Cream, and the APIthon would also come up with such wonderful products.

Global Social Entrepreneurship Foundation founder Muhammad Siqqique said the innovative Apps and service solutions originated at the APIthon would get more exposure at the upcoming Momentum Tech Conference being held in Karachi. The mega event will feature tech giants like Facebook, Amazon Web Service, IBM and Microsoft besides many other international and national enterprises who would mentor and adopt Pakistani startups and entrepreneurs.

“The APIthon, in strategic partnership with Momentum Tech Conference, will host the premium gathering of business leaders, to establish an API-driven digital economy in Pakistan,” said Abbas Ali Khan, Abacus Consulting managing director. “The partnership will be a game-changer for startups, telecoms, tech companies, financial and government sectors by enabling them to develop new services and revenue streams; and transform the customer experience”.

Momentum Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Amir Jafri said, “We are pleased to have Abacus Consulting on board to drive digital economy of Pakistan. This alliance will bring enormous benefits to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country”.

According to MIT Sloan Research, “the companies that are adapting to a digital world are 26% more profitable than their industry peers”. Globally, digital key-players like eBay, Google, Twitter, and Amazon rely on APIs for innovation.

With over three billion people worldwide online and over two billion on social networks; today, the digital economy is worth three trillion dollars globally. Conversely, Pakistan needs to quickly catch up with the digital advancements to avoid the risk of falling behind in the game as it is currently less than 0.1% of the world’s digital economy.

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