Pakistani Tech Stars Make It big in Silicon Valley
By Farrukh Zafar

Dubai: It’s always amazing to see how brown lads from the sub-continent outdo other nations in the field of technology, but they seldom take their net worth all the way close to $450 million.

One such name is Ashar Aziz, who recently won his cyber security firm, FireEye , an initial public offering (IPO) at Nasdaq stock exchange worth $304 million. Aziz also owns about 10.91 million shares in a California-based security company, Milipitas, which makes up almost 9.3% stake in the firm worth about $392 million.

Aziz’s company, FireEye, has a virtualization engine that shields its clients’ infrastructure from attacks sourced from the web and email, all through its dynamic virtual cloud – analyzing and providing intelligence on incoming data in real-time. Before going public through the IPO, FireEye raised $100 million in funding from companies like Sequoia Capital, Goldman Sachs, Juniper Networks, Silicon Valley Bank and others.

Another proud Pakistani in the Silicon Valley is Riaz Haq, who was one of the six engineers who comprised the award winning Intel 80386 CPU design team. For his services to the computing industry, specifically the 80386 family of Intel processors, he was recognized as the Person of the Year by PC Magazine, apart from being on the faculty of Rutgers University and NED University and co-founding DynArray Corp.

Another man who’s taken the tech community by surprise is a Pakistani American, Rayid Ghani, the chief scientist who helped Obama elect for the second time, through his research on immensely large sets of data that belonged to Obama’s supporters on the internet, and took his election campaign 10 folds deeper than his supporters’ influence.

Ghani used to work for Accenture before joining Obama’s campaign and had a vast experience of working in the big data field and forecasting consumer behavior. He used his experience to mine and study meaningful patterns out of Obama’s supporters’ data online and used their presence to advertise Obama’s campaign through means of micro targeting.

Another thriving venture from a Pakistani American is Streetline , which comes from Zia Yousuf, formerly, the executive vice president at SAP AG. Streetline has come up with tailored smartphone applications that help drivers locate vacant parking slots in crowded parking lots at universities, airports, garages or even private parking providers.

The company has raised $65 million in capital so far and is doing exceptionally well, having reached nine-digit figures for its total parking events completed already.

All these men together have served the green flag well and deserve to be on this list I’ve composed. There’s a browner enigma that sticks out of the nation that Pakistan is, and a lot more that is seen in the Silicon Valley. I’ll keep that for another column.

The writer runs a software company in Dubai. - Courtesy The Express Tribune


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