Islamabad – October, 2021. DeafTawk, a startup powered by Jazz xlr8, announced plans to expand its operations globally at a ceremony held to officiate the $250,000 grant it has received under the GSMA Innovation Fund for Assistive Tech. Using this grant, DeafTawk plans to scale up the application and increase its coverage, building the capacity of its interpreters, in order to reach both national and international audiences.
DeafTawk is an online sign language services provider enabling people with hearing impairments and was a part of the third Cohort at the NIC under the premium accelerator program, Jazz xlr8.
An MoU was also signed at the ceremony between DeafTawk and Jazz, Pakistan’s number one 4G operator and the largest internet and broadband service provider. Jazz will provide assistance to DeafTawk in developing strategies to further support the deaf community and assist with the startup’s expansion plans.
DeafTawk after successfully launching its operations in Pakistan and Singapore is expanding its reach to America, Europe and South Asia and will be officially launching in the coming weeks. The startup to date has 92,000+ beneficiaries, has created 1,100 direct jobs, and has a 25% month-on-month revenue growth.
“Recognition by the GSMA is a testament to the work DeafTawk has been doing and builds on Jazz xlr8’s reputation as a leading accelerator program in the country. These wins double our resolve to help young entrepreneurs take transformational ideas from start-up to scale-up,” stated Aamer Ejaz, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer at Jazz.
“With the support of our donors, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), we aspire to support great ideas and startups like DeafTawk. By helping a community to tackle their inabilities, we think DeafTawk has a potential to contribute exponentially towards digital inclusiveness,” said Bilal Qureshi – Manager, GSMA Innovation Fund.
DeafTawk CEO, Ali Shabbar, said, “When we pondered over the idea of DeafTawk, we instantly thought of empowerment through technology. And today, as the thought manifests itself into reality, we are glad to receive this grant and deeply honored by our partners and well-wishers for supporting our work, especially Jazz xlr8, which allowed us to transmit our raw idea into a proven business model. We aim to empower the ones who need a voice and bridge the gap with the GSMA.”
Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar, by mentioning the importance NICs hold in Pakistan stated that, “Ignite, through a strong network of NICs across the country, has been uplifting the startup ecosystem of Pakistan for the last five years. Our NICs have incubated more than 800 startups which have raised funding of more than $56 million so far. 2021 has been a remarkable year for Pakistani startups with an investment of more than $300 million so far, and Ignite’s forecast by December is of around $400 million.”
The GSMA Innovation Fund is funded by the FCDO and supported by the GSMA and its members. This fund is for startups aiming to address the varying needs of the differently-abled and overcoming barriers to digital inclusion. For this grant, DeafTawk was up against 350 other start-ups and SMEs from 31 nations. After a meticulous assessment process, four final grantees from Asia and Africa were chosen by an independent committee of specialists.