Aatif Awan is one of the most well-known startup Gurus in Pakistan. Having done his undergrad from the country, he has since gone on to become a part of some of the biggest companies around the world. Moreover, Awan has contributed immensely towards developing a Startup culture within Pakistan. He is a part of the board of directors in the likes of Airlift and Bazaar, two of the most well-known tech startups in the country. He is further known for his role as the Vice President of Growth at LinkedIn, taking the company to new heights under his regime. Let us take a look at the amazing story of Aatif Awan.
Awan completed his undergraduate degree from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIK) with honors and a Gold Medal. He went on to pursue his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, despite his academic excellence, Awan was destined for much greater things. Hence, he started his professional career as a program manager at Microsoft. He would go on to stay at the company for 5 years, learning and then later applying his knowledge. He left Microsoft for LinkedIn in 2011 for a role that would define his career and set him on the path towards greatness.
Awan joined LinkedIn in 2011 as a Senior Project Manager and built out their growth team, eventually becoming Vice President for Growth, International, and Data products. This was a huge role at one of the biggest companies in the world; a huge feat for anyone. However, it was his success at this role that really made his name.
In his tenure as VP, Awan managed to lead a team that grew LinkedIn by nearly half a billion members and tens of billions of connections through a variety of Growth & Engagement strategies and products. Moreover, he also led LinkedIn through one of their most shaky times in history: their acquisition by Microsoft. He led the LinkedIn plus Microsoft product integration strategy after Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, partnering closely with product leaders at both LinkedIn and Microsoft. His time at LinkedIn came to an end in 2018 as he went on to his entrepreneurial journey since he helped grow one of the biggest companies in the world.
Aatif Awan has been involved with many famous Startups in Pakistan. Moreover, he is currently in the Board of Directors of Bazaar, Airlift Technologies, and Atoms. Let us take a look at these startups and what they do.
Bazaar is an online marketplace that connects retailers in Pakistan directly with wholesalers and manufacturers. The company aims to empower small to medium-sized retailers by helping them digitalize and improve their processes.
Airlift is building the next generation of mass transit for the emerging markets. They are a a fast-growing startup re-inventing mass transit in Lahore and Karachi. Until now, the company has raised $24.2 million in funding, becoming one of the fastest-growing startups in the country.
While Atoms is not a Pakistan-based startup, it was founded by Pakistanis Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim. The married couple started their footwear journey when they founded Markhor in their hometown of Okara, Pakistan. However, they were meant for bigger and better things. In 2015, the couple moved to Mountain View as part of Y Combinator’s accelerator program. They started their shoe company Atoms, starting to sell via invite-only access on their website and built a waitlist of over 40,000 people before publicly launching on June 03, 2019.
Indus Valley Capital is Awan’s very own Venture Capital Fund founded in 2020. The firm aims to “help founders build Pakistan’s future”. Furthermore, Aatif Awan has been at the forefront of promoting a Startup culture within Pakistan. His venture capital firm plans to do exactly that. On June 30th, 2019, Aatif launched the Indus Valley Connect initiative’s first event in the heart of Silicon Valley. Moreover, this will lead to a series around the world that would inform and connect the Pakistani diaspora to startups in Pakistan.