Published in Nov-Dec 2021
1) Airlift Technologies
This home grown start-up raised $85 million in a Series B round, making it the biggest pivot in the ecosystem. Their idea moved from transporting people to transporting ‘goods’, which became an essential service demand since the Covid-19 lockdown.
Raising $30 million in a Series A funding, Bazaar is a B2B marketplace focusing on small merchants that form a $170 billion market in Pakistan. It offers a suite of digital products including commerce and fintech (digital ledger ‘Easy Khata’) to its current customer base of five million.
The ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ retail model was introduced in Pakistan by QisstPay and it secured a $15 million seed round in September 2021. Contributing around 20% to the GDP, retail is the third largest and among the fastest growing sectors in Pakistan. QisstPay is tapping into a high-demand space and facilitating merchant sales by as much as 60%.
BridgeLinx is a digital freight marketplace, connecting shippers with truckers and private fleets, and offers end-to-end support services. It is essentially reducing inefficiencies in the trucking system, thereby contributing to the economy. BridgeLinx has already raised a $10 million seed round, moved over 40,000 loads and on boarded over 150 shippers in less than a year.
An early player in the edtech sector, Maqsad has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed funding with the objective of offering mobile-based after school academic support to 100 million Pakistani students. It is an idea to be watched as Pakistan’s edtech market is filled with opportunity. Maqsad is led by young, dynamic individuals who represent what it truly means to create an opportunity in a crisis and it is precisely this that makes them extraordinary. By inspiring Pakistan’s youth to take action, be effective and dream big, start-up founders are investing in a stronger Pakistan – are you playing your part?
Nabeel Qadeer (PMP, SCPC) is Executive Director, Infinite Scaleup and CEO, DirAction.