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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Bykea raises $13 million in second round of funding led by international tech firms

Bykea, a Pakistani transport & logistics platform, has raised $13 million in investments. The platform has international partners such as Naspers/Prosus

Bykea, a Pakistan-based on-demand transport & logistics platform, announced that it had raised $13 Million last week in a Series B funding round led by Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures). The round, which brought the total funds raised to US$22m, saw participation from existing investors Middle East Venture Partners and Sarmayacar.

Bykea is a three-year-old ride-hailing and delivery service.

The pioneer and leader in motorbike taxi and on-demand delivery in Pakistan, Bykea plans to invest significantly in its platform strategy leveraging its peak active driver fleet of 30K+ in 2020 for cross-utilization in e-commerce logistics, food, and payment services in 2021. The fresh capital will also be used to expand Bykea’s market reach in smaller cities.

This is a crucial development as it will pave the way for investment by more countries in Pakistan.” said Ambassador for Foreign Investment, Ali J. Siddiqui.

Naspers/Prosus ventures in Pakistan to attract many technology investors

“Bringing partners like Naspers/Prosus ventures into Pakistan will draw many other relevant technology investors, bringing more capital into Pakistan. The $13 million investment in the transportation service department will help provide cheap and remarkable services via technology to the middle-class segment of the country.”

Naspers Limited is a multinational consumer Internet company headquartered in South Africa. Its principal operations include online classified advertising, fintech, payments, and food delivery.

Bykea now has more than 500,000 bikes registered on its platform.

It operates in some of Pakistan’s most populated cities, such as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, Muneeb Maayr, Bykea founder and CEO, had told ‘TechCrunch’.

Maayr is now one of the most lauded startups founders in Pakistan. He had previously worked for ‘Rocket Internet.’ He was also associated with the e-commerce platform Daraz. While leading Daraz, he expanded the platform to cater to categories beyond fashion; Daraz was later sold to Alibaba.

In 2018, Bykea partnered with Jazz, a Pakistan-based digital communications company to provide enhanced digital connectivity and efficiency to users. In 2018, Bykea & MJSF (Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation) joined hands for Bikers Support Scheme.

In 2019, Bykea raised $5.7 million in series A funding from local and international institutions.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan, Bykea had secured a $13 million investment but due to the government’s ban on pillion riding to combat the virus, investors reneged on the deal.

The three cities Bykea operates in, Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Lahore, have a combined population of 30 million people. Public transportation is underserved in all three cities, but these urban centers drive the economy of the 5th most populous country in the world.

Read more: Pakistan Women win Top-5 spot at Tech Women 2019 with Child Protection pitch

Motorbikes are the rails for distributors, couriers, e-commerce retailers, and restaurants to move goods and collect receivables, almost entirely in cash in one of the least banked countries in the world. With 17 million two-wheelers in Pakistan; 4x the number of cars; Bykea offers millions of people the chance to earn an income by tapping into the tremendous opportunity in the country for both transport and hyperlocal commerce.

During COVID-19 pandemic K-electric had partnered up with Bykea

To ensure conformity with social distancing guidelines set by the WHO and continue with prioritizing the convenience of valuable customers, K-Electric (KE) had partnered with Bykea in June, a leading on-demand logistics service reported the ‘Nation.’

Under this arrangement, KE’s customers could place requests for Bykea riders to come to their homes and collect the payment for their KE bills.

Customers were asked to share their KE account number and relevant contact details. Once a request was lodged, Bykea rider was assigned for payment pick-up.

This facility was cash-based and for full bill payments only. In accordance with the SOPs set by the government, all Bykea riders underwent daily temperature checks, wear gloves, masks, visors, and a proper helmet.

“Bykea is one of the few internet businesses offering an interface in the Urdu language, and we drive our competitive advantage from being highly localized. This approach has helped us become the preferred partner for part-time motorbike gig workers. Our brand is now widely used as a verb for bike taxi and 30-minute deliveries, and the fresh capital allows us to expand our network to solidify our leading position” said Muneeb Maayr, Founder at Bykea.

Pakistan saw two significant investments during the month of September 2020, one by Prosus Ventures and the other by Pegasus, one of Turkey’s flagship airlines, which has begun flight operations in Pakistan. This investment materialized out of the many meetings held with Turkish conglomerates this year.

GVS News Desk