Here’s how to make smarter investments in Pakistan’s stock market

“Anybody invested in the stock market with a decent portfolio requires powerful analytics to generate good returns on their investment,” says Sennen Desouza, co-founder and director marketing at Investors Lounge.

One of the first startups to graduate from Karachi incubator The Nest i/o, Investors Lounge is solving a key problem in Pakistan’s financial markets; enabling affordable access to quality insights and education. 

Since its launch, the portal developed by co-founders Baqar Abbas Jafri, Desouza and Hammad Ali Hashmi, has been helping investment institutions make better decisions with the help of data visualization tools.

Jafri initially launched Investor’s Lounge as a simple research-sharing website in 2013, with the other two getting on board a couple of years later, and it was the Nest i/o’s platform that introduced them to their investor, Arpatech Technology Ventures in late 2015.

More than three years into the business, Investors Lounge has established itself within the country’s financial information services sector, and in 2018, won in the ‘Banking, Insurance, and Finance’ category at the annual P@SHA ICT Awards.

This year, the team has its eyes set on expanding their services to other asset classes and geographies like Vietnam and Indonesia, after raising another round of capital.

Watch our interview with Desouza, who candidly shares some of the mistakes the company made in the early stages, as well as invaluable advice for startup founders in Pakistan.

Growing up in Hyderabad, Desouza attended school at the Army Public School and College System. He is a proud graduate of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), and has been involved in the technology space for the past five years, working on projects related to capital market analytics and crowdfunding.

The platform as it stands today is the product of several iterations and Desouza was forthcoming in admitting they wished they had not designed their product in isolation. “If we had designed the product while sticking close to the customer, we would have achieved a product far more meaningful, much quicker.”

For those that rely on investment insights, Investors Lounge is offering much more than a data-crunching service. It’s also saving valuable time. Today, people tend to put a greater value on time than ever before, which is why some of the most popular tech companies are built around convenience, such as Daraz.pk, Careem, Foodpanda, and WhatsApp.

With innovative tools that handle simple data much faster, the time that was previously used to manually gather information can now be utilized on other important tasks or deeper analysis.

“This transition arrived a long time ago in developed markets and it’s just a matter of time that the entire financial fraternity [in Pakistan] adopts a data-driven approach towards investing,” says Desouza.

Investor education, he says, is the need of the hour for Pakistan’s financial markets.

When asked about the role of entrepreneurship in Pakistan’s future, Desouza is hopeful, as he thinks young people are getting more support, especially from their parents. However, he cautions aspiring tech entrepreneurs to also look outside the technology space for solutions.

“I’m concerned of the sudden frenzy where everyone wants to be a tech entrepreneur, while they might be great at non-tech models.”

Mindful of having an impact beyond Investor’s Lounge, Desouza is passionate about improving the quality of education in Pakistan and keeps himself engaged as a trainer for Beyond the Classroom – a startup that’s working on fostering critical thinking and empathy among Pakistan’s future generation.

His current read: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.