After competing with hundreds of startups across Telenor’s accelerator programmes around Asia, Telenor’s Digital Winners programme brought together seven standout emerging market startups and crowned a single “Digital Winner” yesterday in Singapore.
Micropower Labs from Telenor Pakistan’s Velocity’s Pakistan has won Telenor Group’s annual Digital Winners competition. Specializing in hardware development, including the world’s fastest charging power bank, a 5000mAH power bank that charges itself in just 15 minutes, Micropower Labs will receive 100,000 Norwegian Kroners to explore market expansion to some of Telenor Group’s other markets in Asia.
Abdullah Soomro, the 24 year-old Founder and CEO of Micropower Labs said, “This is amazing – there were some great pitches and truly tough competition here from around Telenor’s Asian markets, but it’s great to come away the winner. We are looking forward to exploring every opportunity with Telenor as a future partner.”
Telenor Group’s Digital Winners program connects local startups with international players in Asia’s technology and innovation ecosystems, including investors, fellow startups and corporate partners. The program is designed to provide insights into regional expansion and new market launches, including team capacity building and doing business in specific markets where Telenor Group has a footprint. This year, Telenor Velocity sent two of its startups to Digital Winners Asia in Singapore, which included Micropower Labs and Artsy.
Telenor Group’s Head of Innovation, Vegard Aas, said, “At Telenor Group, we’re always on the lookout for the best ideas for new digital products and services, as well as talents to help grow and nurture. This year we chose Micropower Labs of Telenor Pakistan’s Velocity program, because they’re a market ready product, easy to pick up, get into our stores and leverage our distribution power. It’s a good example of a startup success story in one market demonstrating readiness to scale around the region.”
“I extend my heartfelt felicitations to Micropower Labs team on their victory at DWA” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan. “This feat proves that Pakistan has remarkable talent that shines on a global platform given the opportunity. The remarkable success comes as a testament to the excellence of Telenor Velocity that enabled a successful scale up to access the market and international investment successfully. I wish Micropower Labs the best of luck for their future endeavours.”
Micropower Labs is also planning a Flashpack Pro 12000mAH for larger devices, and going forward plans to develop power packs for the entire spectrum of devices that people use every day, from smartphones to PCs. In addition, they’re developing “CityOS”, a new kiosk-centred initiative which will provide people both power- and city-related mobility services, collect environmental data from users of these kiosks and employ blockchain technology for future sources of revenue.
Soomro added, “We have a lot of exciting prototypes in development.” One of these includes the world’s first solar-powered wearable cooling device, a concept he came up with after witnessing the suffering of his fellow Karachi citizens in the Summer 2015 heatwave, which claimed 1500 lives. The story of Micropower Labs is one that brings products closer to people by integrating human-centred designs into product development cycles, while not leaving out the acute social needs that their technology and hardware systems can solve.
Digital Winners was hosted this year for the first time at Telenor Group’s new Singapore hub.