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Silicon Valley to Skardu: a journey through entrepreneurship and innovation

Sitting on the floor of a village hall in Shigar Valley, Pakistan, collecting over forty fingerprints from joint owners to finalize the purchase of a 48 Kanal plot on a cold winter day was a stark contrast to the soft chairs and negotiating tables of Silicon Valley . However, this step was crucial in the launch of our new startup: a luxury resort in the Skardu Valley.

The startup founder’s dilemma

The Startup Founder’s Dilemma is universal, whether developing software or designing a resort. It is essential to determine whether you are creating a solution in search of a problem or whether you are actually meeting a need. Post COVID-19, we have found that there is a significant demand for travel options in the northern areas of Pakistan, attracting both Pakistanis and international travelers.

Recognition of the need for luxury accommodations

Pakistan is home to 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, which attract international mountain climbers and adventurers. However, there was a shortage of quality accommodations for less strenuous travelers. This need, which we experienced firsthand, motivated us to enter the hospitality industry despite our backgrounds in EdTech and MedTech. We saw this as another problem that was solvable with a strong execution strategy.

Drawing from global experiences

After traveling to remote locations such as Patagonia, Alaska and Africa, we knew we wanted to develop a high-quality product that offered luxury and service in remote areas. Over the years we have evolved from camping and cheap motels to adventure with comfort: hot showers, good beds and excellent food. Our goal was to surprise guests with luxury in remote locations.

Selecting Skardu for our resort

After evaluating several northern locations, we chose land near Skardu due to the influx of tourists, the shortage of rooms and the international airport. An emotional connection to the product influenced our decision: we were solving our own travel problem, which we thought was shared by others.

Overcoming challenges and maximizing opportunities

Falling in love with the landscape brought both blessings and challenges. Building on one of the most difficult terrains, we understood the opportunity cost of missing the summer season. That’s why we pushed our architect, contractor and contracted workers in multiple shifts to ensure completion in May 2023. Leveraging our startup experience, we accelerated the process by parallelizing the work and maintaining a dedicated, trusted team on site.

Collaborate with local talent

Working with local architects, Archoholics injected fresh ideas and blended local, traditional architectural features with a modern aesthetic. By using local workers, craftsmen and materials, we ensured the upliftment of the local economy. Our resort is proudly approximately 98% made in Pakistan, with minimal imports.

Commitment to excellence and growth

Whether in technology or hospitality, success comes from vision, perseverance and the courage to pursue dreams against all odds. At Khoj, we remain committed to providing unforgettable experiences that embody determination and excellence. We hope to inspire others to build and invest in Pakistan, and turn challenges into opportunities for growth.

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