Pakistani-American to Head Top High-Tech Incubator in Silicon Valley
By Riaz Haq
33-year-old Qasar Younis, a Lala Moosa born Harvard-educated Pakistani-American , is the new Chief Operating Officer of Y-Combinator, a spawning ground for emerging tech giants Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe in Silicon Valley, according to Fortune Magazine .
Younis was born on a farm in Lal Moosa, Gujarat, Pakistan. He was brought by his parents as a 6-year-old boy to the United States where his parents found work as blue collar workers in the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan.
Younis' start-up TalkBin was offered a $7 million seed round by Y Combinator. However, it was acquired by Google in 2011 even before signing the seed-round term sheet. Younis joined the Google Maps team where he worked to bring local businesses onboard them. He stayed there for three and a half years.
Y Combinator is set to graduate 222 startups, including Pakistani start-up Markhor, this year. There are currently 7000 startups vying for 106 spots in the program, according to ProPakistani.pk . Markhor, co-founded by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim, is the first Pakistani company based in Pakistan to be accepted into Y Combinator as a part of the Summer 2015 class, according to Tech Crunch . Markhor launched a Kickstarter campaign that brought in over $107,000 in seed money from 508 backers in two months.
Silicon Valley is home to 12,000 to 15,000 Pakistani Americans. Thousands of them are working at Apple, Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle and hundreds of other high-tech companies from small start-ups to large Fortune 500 corporations. Pakistani-Americans are contributing to what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee describe as "The Second Machine Age" in a recent book with the same title.
Pakistani-American entrepreneurs , advisers, mentors, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants and lawyers make up a growing ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Dozens of Pakistani-American founded start-ups have been funded by top venture capital firms. Many such companies have either been acquired in M&A deals or gone public by offering shares for sale at major stock exchanges. Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) has become a de facto platform for networking among Pakistani-American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. It holds an annual event called OPEN Forum which attracts over 500 attendees.