LAHORE, Pakistan: After making their idea stand out from the 131 local applications in Red Bull Basement Pakistan, two IBA students, Hira Siddiqui and Warisha Farhat took their idea ‘uniThink’ to the Global Workshop. They ended up in the top 3 out of 38 finalists from around the world.
Siddiqui and Farhat believe that the Red Bull Basement platform has given them the boost they needed to kickstart their plans for ‘uniThink’.
“We have already gotten immense support from the mentors and the judges who helped us in each of the development stages and further beyond that,” said Farhat.
They particularly credited Austrian entrepreneur Mathias Haas and strategy consultant Debra Bordignon from Australia for mentoring and assisting them with their final pitch. “Their help was a big reason for uniThink’s success,” added Farhat.
“It was a wonderful experience overall. They were very accommodating at all points of the Basement. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have known about so many aspects of selling an idea or data policies.”
Siddiqui shared the difference she felt in pitching with the local startups and then with top finalists from around the world. For her, it was a whole different experience, which introduced her to many aspects of a successful pitch.
“When we were pitching our idea locally, we had just formed it. There were no numbers or statistics to support it. It just existed in our heads. However, pitching with the global startups was a better-informed experience because we had done all our work and research and calculated all the numbers. We were more confident in pitching ‘uniThink’ at the Global Workshop than we were before.”
She continued, “The pitch was our focus in the week before the workshop. The training we got on the first day was really helpful in designing our pitch structure. We changed the pitch almost 10 times, and then we finally felt it was just the way we wanted it to be.”
For the first time in the history of Red Bull Basement, the Global Workshop went 100% digital leveraging the latest cutting-edge technologies to create a virtual world full of surprises. The ‘uniThink’ team was amazed to see how Red Bull gave them the experience of connecting virtually as if they were physically present.
“Before the workshop started, we thought it will just be a normal video conferencing thing. But we were surprised by the whole virtual world they had created for us. We definitely loved the Gather Town and how close it was to just being physically present there,” shared Farhat.
The team believes that the judges also felt that uniThink was as scalable as they thought and that helped them finish in the top three spots among the world’s best entrepreneurial ideas.
“It’s a big need in the part of the world we live in,” said Siddiqui.“And not only that, research is one of the main drivers of economic growth, and it starts in the minds of the students who are the leaders of tomorrow. Our strong business model and the determination were definitely the main factors in our success.”
The student entrepreneurs didn’t just leave with the third position but also an incredible experience, achievements and new challenges. Siddiqui elaborated, “We learned the art of presentation, that’s for sure. We would mark that as the biggest challenge and the biggest achievement. Only a day after the storytelling exercises, our pitch was structured just the way we were taught. It had the right amount of information to keep the audience engaged and curious.”
The team has now explored and opened more horizons for uniThink, and the brilliant idea has done the same for them. Now their plan is to find a superlative team and start working on building UniThink block by block.
“We already have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for uniThink, and once our team is ready, we will start rolling before the year ends,” concluded Farhat.