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December 4, 2017

Top5 founders aim to be Yelp! of Pakistan


Mon, Dec 04, 2017

One fine afternoon, a trio of buddies was lunching out at a restaurant near their workplace at Gurumandir, a bustling neighbourhood in the coastal city of 20 million, when one of them came up with the idea of launching a portal to help people explore quality eateries close by.

After months of hard work and research, they ended up co-founding the “Top5”, a discovery platform that shows the best places to eat in town based on crowd-sourced reviews.

(L-R) Osama Noor (CCO), Saad Qadeer (COO) and Saad Umar (CTO)

The startup is powered by three forward-thinking graduates from Karachi University’s Umaer Basha Institute of Information Technology (UBIT).

Saad Qadeer, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at the Top5, says the idea is to be ‘Yelp! of Pakistan.’

“Our objective is to create a community where people can share their meaningful experiences and help each other find the best options available out there, saving time and money. We simply answer the most difficult everyday question: “What should I eat today?”

“You would often see people asking for suggestions from friends and on social media for the best burger, spicy karahi (a chicken/mutton/beef dish), or sticky paye (a savoury made from the trotters of cows, buffaloes, or goats), in the town” Saad Umar, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at the startup, said reflecting on the eating choices of Karachiites.

“Actually we wanted to bring the brands and the consumers at one platform,” Osama Noor Noor, Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of the new food finding portal, shared with The News.

Qadeer said there were a few social media platforms where consumers were able to share their experiences, but those forums lack constructive criticism, while Top5 aims to change it by bringing out the positive experiences of the consumers. “Brands complain that users blackmail them by posting negative reviews,” he said referring to a famous Facebook page that gives user-generated feedback. Qadeer added that they have a strict criterion for commentators and reviews can only be posted online if they are aligned with our editorial guidelines.

“We are in initial phase but our market research confirms that the time is ripe for crowd-sources reviews. Top5 have plans to expand the idea to other areas like lifestyle, healthcare and tourism.”

Sharing the troubles they faced on their way to success, Qadeer said no problem stood in the way of their passion for too long. “It was not easy but we were determined to not to take even an iota of anything from anyone or even ourselves as an excuse for not succeeding,” he said adding failure had never been an option to begin with.

Hailing the support the trio received from The Nest i/o, a technology incubator based in Karachi, the trio said they would have been nowhere without their support. “It’s just like our second home,” Omar said.

Beta version Top5’s app was released in March this year and the team is planning to launch the website and app in December, 2017.

Pakistanis are crazy about food. Top5 has produced a few videos which gained a lot of traction on social media. The video titled ‘Super Burger - The Cleanest Bun Kabab In K-Town’ was viewed over 140k times.

Tech entrepreneurship is a bit new ‘scene of action’ for young ambitious minds but by all means is the best way to go…So what are we eating today?.