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SurveyAuto: The Bright Future of Data Processing


Nothing circulates today’s tech-crazed society quite like information. But, doing research and collecting data takes time and resources. And if that’s not enough, there’s the off chance of making many crucial human errors whilst collecting it.

Luckily, the complex process of collecting data was far simplified thanks to Umar Saif. A brilliant computer scientist, Umar created Survey Auto Inc., a company that leverages refined AI solutions and machine learning tools - thus facilitating data processing on a global level!

There’s no real mystery behind SurveyAuto - other than it generates more accurate and organized real-time data, thus granting every business a thorough - and actionable - insight. With the power that is data nowadays, SurveyAuto allows ventures to engage with customers, solicit a loyal clientele, and tend to customer feedback at a particular time and in a particular location.

An advocate for smart data processing himself, here’s the story of Umar Saif and his journey to creating one of the most in-demand niche platforms of today.

It Takes Chaos to Find Order

Umar Saif was born in 1979, in a small town in Pakistan. His father was in the army, and since he was constantly moved and stationed in different places, Umar had to change schools very often. This was very stressful for the young boy as he even had to be homeschooled for a whole year after his parents failed to find a decent school where they lived.

So, Umar was often put in grades higher than his age, but chaotic as it was, Umar learned plenty from the experience. By 5th grade, he began stepping outside his shell and even did exceptionally well in a board examination.

Seeing his son’s potential and intelligence, his father decided they should move to Lahore, where Umar would have a chance at a quality education.

After getting into Aitchison College - the best school there was at the time - Umar had an option to take the senior exams, which he did, and successfully so.

The young genius got into the Lahore University of Management Sciences when he was only 16 and got his degree three years later, which made his parents super-proud. Seeing what he’s capable of, Umar’s family was well-supportive of his intent to apply to the world's best universities and move away from home.

Shoulder to Shoulder with the Best

Umar's first option for continuing his education was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But, sadly, he didn’t get in, which was quite disappointing for him. He didn’t have intentions of applying elsewhere, but luckily, one of his professors managed to convince him to apply to Cambridge University. He did so, on the last day for applications. They accepted him, and so, the 19 year old Pakistani left his home and went to England to study his heart out.

After getting his computer science degree from Cambridge at the age of 22, he applied again to MIT for postdoctoral studies. This time he was accepted. At MIT he was a part of a huge project worth $50M called “Project Oxygen”, one that shaped the future of mobile computing.

The experience and knowledge that Umar gained at MIT opened a whole set of opportunities for the young man. And, combined with his highly above average intelligence and his work ethic - the sky was his limit.

Coming Home

Even though Umar planned on staying in the United States, there was a change in events that quickly shifted his plans. In 2005, when he was 26, Umar found out that his father needed to undergo heart surgery, so he decided to go back to Pakistan and spend time living with his parents.

But, this didn’t mean that he wouldn’t have a superb career in Pakistan, too. Having earned degrees from both Cambridge and MIT, Umar got immediately accepted as a professor of computer sciences at Lenore University, where he studied earlier.

Teaching students was not enough for the ambitious Umar. In fact, the desire to solve problems and find practical solutions that can help people and his country was his biggest drive.

Umar’s eagerness led him to become the founder of many successful projects.

He founded the first Pakistan startup incubator. He also developed BitMate - a BitTorrent client that increased the download and upload speed - used by thousands of Pakistanis. Another invention was his SMSall, an SMS platform that eventually hit 13 million users. In the meantime, Umar also started a citizen journalism service called See’n’report, following a media ban issued by Pakistan's president.

Seeing what he’s capable of, the Chief Minister called Saif and offered him the position of chairman of the Punjab Informational Technology Board (PITB).

Even though he never saw himself working for the government, Umar eventually accepted the offer, realizing it was the best way he could continue helping people. He also demanded help and support from the Chief Minister, to build the first university for IT in Pakistan, and became the youngest Vice-Chancellor in a university in the history of Pakistan.

The Turbulent Pakistan

Umar was highly successful when he led the PITB. Working for the government gave him the opportunity to make significant changes in the Punjab province. He even led the digital transformation of the government’s bodies and helped in areas like healthcare, education, and law enforcement. Developing the first eLearning platform, improving the electronic surveillance system are some of the successful projects Umar accomplished there.

But, his most acknowledged had to be the help he provided to healthcare authorities during the Dengue Fever outbreak. Namely, the warning system Umar developed helped fight the outbreak and earned him tremendous praise within the highest governmental circles. Moreover, Umar also founded a program for training young and unemployed Pakistanis.

Still, not everything was fun and games in Pakistan. In 2017, Umar was almost killed when someone shot at his office and the bullet missed him by inches. Although a disturbing experience, this didn’t make Umar neither quit nor run. Quite the opposite, Umar continued his activities until the next year, when he was replaced for political reasons - totally unfair treatment of the man who gave the province so much.

Again, this too didn’t discourage Umar. On the contrary, he never once stopped inventing and creating. In fact, a few months later, Umar was already on a whole new project - SurveyAuto.

You Know It’s Good When Bill Gates is In

Using his knowledge in technology, Umar decided to try to make the process of collecting, analyzing, and putting information to good use easier, cheaper, and more reliable. So, he developed SurvayAuto in early 2019.

SurveyAuto Inc. is a platform that uses AI and machine learning to create more successful surveys, and in any field needed. It uses satellite images for identifying, monitoring and tracking, and automatically analyzing collected data.

Survey Auto attracted the world's attention pretty quickly. Not long after its launch, the company caught the eye of one of the richest men on the planet, but also a big philanthropist, Bill Gates. Even before SurveyAuto, in 2018, Bill had praised Umar for his contribution to the Pakistani immunization. Acknowledging its potential to make changes in the market research industry, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to support Umar’s startup by investing in it - a total of $182.421.

This was a big push for SurveyAuto, not just financially, but also morally. After all, when Bill Gates gives you a tap on the shoulder - you take it as a compliment and much-validated stimuli to keep pushing forward.

The Punjabi Star

Umar Saif is a well-known name, and not just in Pakistan. This is all well-deserved, too, especially when you see all of Umar’s professional accomplishments. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the list of awards he received throughout his career is a lengthy one.

The more notable praise includes the Mark Weiser award in 2008, the Young Global Leader award by the World Economic Forum in 2010, the Google Faculty Research Award in 2011, and Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a high Civilian Award in Pakistan. Umar was also named as one of the top 35 young innovators by MIT in 2011. He’s been also listed in the top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world, every year since 2015.

In 2018, Umar was appointed chair in UNESCO for his contributions in the development sector. No matter if working for the university, or the government, or independently, Umar undoubtedly left a trail that can not be ignored or forgotten.

SurveyAuto, Today

SurveyAuto’s headquarters are in Lahore, Pakistan, but the brand also has its offices in Boston, the USA, and Nairobi, Kenya, and counts over 40 employees.

Funded by the Gates Foundation, it has reached success through collaborating with big organizations like the World Bank, World Food Program, ITA, Unesco amongst others. Saif's worldwide acknowledgment and respect helped SurveyAuto’s success.

The story of Umar Saif is quite the stunner. From changing school after school as a child to graduating from Cambridge and MIT and ultimately creating SurveyAuto.

Umar overcame all obstacles on his way - including an attempt on his life - to come out stronger on the other side of the storm called life. So, it can be easily said that Umar is a one-in-a-million, a rare talent and a spotless mind who knew exactly which strings to pull to get where he is now - on the top layer of the business cake!