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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pakistani startups raise over $200 Million

Sadapay raised a $10.7M seed round just after receiving their EMI license. Meanwhile, Abhi Pvt. raises a $17M Series A round.

Pakistani startups have raised over $200 million in funds with the recent Sadapay funding round of $10.7 million. According to the stats by Chief Executive Officer Brandon Timinsky, the Islamabad-based startup has become the nation’s highest-funded fintech.

The funding announcement comes a day after the central bank allowed it to offer financial services through its smartphone app.

Pakistan is seeing a rush of investors eager to back startups in the world’s fifth-largest nation, one of the last large untapped markets. A flurry of fintech’s is emerging in Pakistan, which has the world’s third-largest unbanked population, according to the World Bank.

Earlier, Pakistani financial platform Abhi Pvt. raised $17 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm Speedinvest. The Karachi-based salary advance platform has raised funds at a $90million valuation within a year after introducing its business.

Read more: Pakistan’s startups raise $163m in 3 months

“All sizes of companies and their employees want the services we provide. The proceeds will support our exponential growth, and help us meet customer demand,” Omair Ansari, CEO at Abhi, said in a statement.

Reportedly, another startup Dastgyr is close to raising a $45 million Series A round as it gears up for expansion. The country’s startups raised a record over $350 million in 2021. From 2015 to 2022 YTD, Pakistani startups have raised a total of $728 million across 272 deals.

Timinsky, an American entrepreneur, came to Asia to explore new opportunities after a previous startup was acquired in the U.S. Last year, the fintech started operating in pilot mode, which restricted users to 10,000, before it got the Electronic Money Institution license from the State Bank of Pakistan on Monday.

The opportunity lay in “a huge population of young people with smartphones, high cellular-broadband penetration, sleepy incumbent banks, and massive policy reform by the government to support digitization,” Timinsky said when he first visited Pakistan.

Unlike conventional banks, Sadapay allows customers three free cash withdrawals in a month, offers round-the-clock in-app chat support, and opens an account in two minutes.

Read more: Pakistani startup NayaPay secures $13 million in seed funding

While Pakistan has seen an increase in digital payments during the pandemic, only 1% of almost $4 trillion payments are made digitally. SadaPay is projected to be the fastest-growing mobile wallet globally in the five years to 2025, research from London-based fintech company Boku Inc. mentioned last year. A unit of Uber’s Careem Inc. has also decided to invest $50 million in the country and acquire a similar license.

SadaPay’s prior backers, Recharge Capital, Kingsway Capitaunitl, and Raptor Group, added to their investment. The startup plans to more than double its employee headcount to over 250 people by the end of the year.