The Most Well Funded Tech Startups in Pakistan

most well-funded startups in Pakistan

Last Updated: 1/3/2021.

Pakistan is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. Yet, the amount of venture capital invested in the startup ecosystem is seemingly low.

Considering that, I decided to look at some of the most well-funded startups in Pakistan and how much money they have raised. In this post, I document some of my findings and provide a timeline of their funding.

Highlights

💰 $108 million — Total amount raised by 7 most well-funded active startups.
🤝 20 — Number of deals leading to the cumulative amount raised.

Inclusion Criteria: Venture capital or Angel funded active startup founded by a Pakistani and headquartered in Pakistan.

1) Zameen.com ($29 million)

Founded in 2006, Zameen.com is the most well-funded startup in Pakistan. Co-founded by 2 brothers, Zeeshan Ali Khan and Imran Ali Khan, it allows you to invest, buy, sell, or rent properties in all major cities of Pakistan.

Timeline
– 2012:
 Seed, amount undisclosed, from French angel investor Gilles Blanchard.
– 2014: Series A, amount undisclosed, from Singapore-based Catcha Group and Malaysia-based Frontier Digital Ventures.
– 2015: Series B, $9 million, from Sweden-based Vostok New Ventures (lead).
– 2016: Series C, $20 million, from existing investor Frontier Digital Ventures and other undisclosed investors.

To date, Zameen.com has raised $29 million in disclosed venture capital funding. Its valuation during its most recent funding round was estimated to be around $80 million.

2) Airlift ($24.2 million)

An app-based transportation service provider, Airlift allows fixed-route commuters to book rides on luxury buses. Founded in 2018 by Usman Gul and Ahmed Ayub, it tapped a niche unfilled by the likes of Uber and Careem in Pakistan — middle-class 9 to 5 commuters.

Timeline
– 2019: 
Seed, $2.2 million, from China-based Gobi Partners, Silicon Valley-based Indus Valley Capital, and Pakistan-based Fatima Ventures.
– 2019: Series A, $14 million, from Silicon Valley-based First Round Capital and Indus Valley Capital, China-based Gobi Partners, and Pakistan-based Fatima Ventures.
– 2020: Series A1, $10 million from Quiet Capital, TrueSight Ventures, RT Ventures, Shorooq Partners, ACE Capital, and existing investors.

To date, Airlift has raised $24.2 million in disclosed venture capital funding.

3) Bykea ($18.7 million)

An on-demand transport and logistics startup, Bykea was founded in 2016 by Muneeb Maayr of the Daraz.pk fame. Currently, it’s the hottest startup in Pakistan given the recent Careem exit and excitement around last-mile delivery startups.

Timeline
– 2016:
 Seed, amount undisclosed, from Angels and Pakistan-based Ithaca Capital.
– 2019: Series A, $5.7 million, from the Pakistan-based Sarmayacar (lead) and Beirut-based MEVP.
– 2020: Series B, $13 million from Prosus Ventures, Sarmayacar, and Middle East Venture Partners.

To date, Bykea has raised $18.7 million in disclosed venture capital funding.

4) Finja ($14.5 million)

Founded in 2015 by Monis Rahman (Rozee.pk), Qasif Shahid, and Umer Munawar, Finja provides B2C and B2B payment solutions. Most notably, its mobile wallet SimSim (think Apple Pay) and Payroll Plus products are regarded as one of a kind in the market. Recently, it introduced a P2P lending program.

Timeline
– 2016:
 Seed, $1 million, from Sweden-based Vostok Emerging Finance.
– 2017: Series A, $1.5 million, again from Vostok Emerging Finance and UAE-based Gray Mackenzie Engineering Services.
– 2019: Convertible Note, $3 million from Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital & Beenext.
– 2020: Series A1, $9,000,000 from ICU Ventures, BeeNext, Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital, and Gray MacKenzie Engineering Services.

To date, Finja has raised $14.5 million in disclosed venture capital funding.

5) Cheetay ($9.7 million)

Founded in 2016, Cheetay is on-demand transport and logistics startup. It was founded by Ahmed Khan, who previously served as the CEO of Daraz and Kaymu. He also did a brief stint at Savaree which was later acquired by Careem.

Timeline

– 2016: Seed, $750K, from an undisclosed number of U.S. based investors.
– 2017: 
Series A, $1.1 million, from an undisclosed number of U.S. based investors.
– 2019: Series A, $7.8 million, from an undisclosed number of U.S. based investors.

To date, Cheetay has raised $9.7 million in disclosed venture capital funding.

6) Rozee.pk ($8.5 million)

Founded in 2005 as a scrappy website where founder Monis Rehman could post jobs for his existing company at the time Naseeb.com, in 2006 turned into a full-fledged employment website. Even today, Rozee.pk is the most popular website for employers and job seekers in Pakistan.

Like its 2005 scrappy start, the timeline of direct investment into Rozee.pk is murky.

Timeline
– 2003–2006:
 Angel and Series A, amounts not available, as the majority was invested in Naseeb.com which was later used to fund Rozee.pk. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) and Mark Pincus (Zynga) were the angel investors in Naseeb.com.
– 2007:
 Series B, $2 million, from San Francisco-based Draper Fisher Jurvetson and ePlanet Capital.
– 2015: Series C, $6.5 million, from Sweden-based Vostok New Ventures and London-based Piton Capital.

To date, Rozee.pk has raised $8.5 million in disclosed venture capital funding.

7) Inov8 ($5.4 million)

The most well-funded FinTech startup in Pakistan, Inov8 is a B2B payment solutions provider specializing in e-commerce, mobile banking, and branchless banking. It was founded in 2004 by Bashir Sheikh and Hasnain Sheikh.

In 2015, it raised Series A investment of $5.4 million from the Dubai-based Angel investor Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.

Source: Crunchbase and CB Insights. In Zameen’s case, investment information is from the website.

There are 3 new VC funds searching for startups to invest in, and they have $65 million in cumulative capital available.

Sarmayacar, a well-known first-seed-check for high growth startups, announced a Pakistan focused VC fund of $30 million. Soon after, Invest2Innovate, an equally well-known enabler with a best in the class accelerator program, announced that it too has commitments of $15 million to invest in Pakistani startups under i2i Ventures. And most recently, Fatima Ventures announced that it has partnered with Gobi Partners to launch a Pakistan focused $20 million fund.

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