American media giant Forbes has included four Pakistani individuals in its "30 Under 30" list for the North American region for 2021, which featured some 600 trailblazers in 20 different fields.
According to Forbes, there were "bright spots on the horizon" as the North American region "settles in for a long pandemic winter".
"Hundreds of them," the statement added. "The 600 young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers featured in our 10th Annual Forbes 30 Under 30 give everyone reason to hope.
"Some are defying the odds and building businesses despite COVID-19; others are helping to fight the illness, serving on hospital frontlines or working with AI to discover new drugs.
"Collectively, our Under 30 trailblazers have raised over $1 billion in venture funding and are proof positive that ambition and innovation can’t be quarantined," added Forbes.
Asad J Malik
The 24-year-old is the chief executive officer of Jadu AR - a mobile app that helps create holograms. Malik moved to the United States from Pakistan in 2016 for college and is a pioneer in using augmented reality for storytelling. "His breakout project 'Terminal 3' featured young Muslim immigrants and a collaboration with Magic Leap called 'A Jester's Tale' explored the personification of AI," says Forbes.
Now based in Los Angeles, California, Malik is working with Verizon to build educational AR experiences with 5G and his app Jadu turns TikTok stars and musicians into holograms.
Another Pakistani spotted in the prestigious list is Sanaa Khan, who works as a program manager at Google where she leads go-to-market strategy and hardware planning for the tech giant's cloud gaming service Stadia.
"She spearheaded initiatives such as Stadia's Free Play Days, enacted during the pandemic for financially constrained gamers and drives a scholarship program for women developers," read Forbes.
Danish Dhamani co-founded Orai ['Oral AI] with Drexel University classmates Aasim Sani and Paritosh Gupta in 2017.
A Pakistani native who grew up in East Africa, Dhamani was terrified of speaking in classroom presentations and job interviews when he moved to the US.
"Between corporate clients including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Comcast and IBM and individuals who pay $10 per month, 5,000 active monthly users record themselves speaking and receive feedback such as how many times they say 'um'," says Forbes.
"The Philadelphia-based startup has raised $2.3 million in seed funding and expects to become profitable in 2021."
She studied Bachelor of Arts/Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Faizan Bhatty co-founded Halo Cars with Kenan Saleh while studying at the University of Pennsylvania in 2019 as a way to create new ad space on rideshare vehicles and a way for Uber and Lyft drivers to earn more money.
"Smart digital screens sit atop cars enabling the display of hyper-targeted ads," said Forbes, adding that startup-competition awards funded prototypes and a pilot and $500,000 from angel investors followed.