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The future is Fintech and Pakistan is ready

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Pakistan’s economy is bouncing back and it is being recognized by overseas investors. Since last year, Pakistani start-ups have attracted millions of dollars from abroad. The Fintech industry has also emerged as a promising avenue for international investors. The benefits of Fintech can be availed by a large variety of sectors and so it is expected to expand in the coming years.

Fintech is the application of technology for delivering financial services and is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. Fintech providers are involved in improving existing services and creating alternate solutions to maximize benefits. They are quickly filling the gaps left by the traditional banking sector.

Businesses across the world are turning expeditiously to Fintech for managing their finances and to deliver their products and services. Digital payment facilities have become essential as they can better cater to consumer behavior in the digital era.

Due to the restrictions imposed on traditional economic activities by COVID-19, the importance of digital financial services has been widely realized. The fintech industry is not only helping businesses to adjust their operations but is also contributing to relief activities. The adaptability of this industry in such a challenging era is a major source of confidence for investors.

Financial inclusion is important

Emerging economies in particular have seen a rapid rise of digital financial services in recent years. The traditional financial institutions in these economies have not been swift to adapt to technological innovations which have allowed Fintech companies to secure customers through their less complex services.

Major segments of the population in developing countries have remained unbanked but now they have access to a range of financial services through their smartphones.

Financial inclusion is considered a crucial component of a thriving economy. Affordable and practical access to financial products and services boost economic activity and support poverty eradication.

Financial inclusion is important
Emerging economies in particular have seen a rapid rise of digital financial services in recent years. The traditional financial institutions in these economies have not been swift to adapt to technological innovations which have allowed Fintech companies to secure customers through their less complex services.

Major segments of the population in developing countries have remained unbanked but now they have access to a range of financial services through their smartphones.

Financial inclusion is considered a crucial component of a thriving economy. Affordable and practical access to financial products and services boost economic activity and support poverty eradication.

Empowering women

Not surprisingly, the majority of the unbanked adults are women who have to face societal barriers as well. With better access to financial tools, women can play a major role in uplifting their households and eliminating poverty.

In Kenya, M-Pesa has been a very popular initiative that has helped in increasing financial inclusion rates considerably. It has helped users to lift themselves out of poverty and has enabled women to upgrade their professions.

Similarly, the growth of Pakistan’s fintech industry has already helped in overcoming a number of barriers to financial inclusion. The constraints which keep women out of labour force are also now more likely to be stamped out.

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Females constitute a major chunk of the much-feared youth bulge in the country. Accommodating an ever-growing number of labor force participants each year is a daunting challenge.

However, the talented youth of the country which can capitalize on digital financial services is an asset and the government should back the Fintech sector with enabling policies.

Fintech taking over

The impressive rise of the Fintech sector in a sluggish and COVID-hit economy in recent years shows that it has a critical role to play in the future. The government should look to strengthen the industry by encouraging innovation and supporting financial education initiatives.

Some of the key economic policy targets have been made easier to achieve due to technology-backed financial services and this should encourage all the stakeholders to carry forward this momentum.

Apart from achieving policy targets, government departments are extending digital payment facilities to citizens. Online Payment of utility bills, fines, and processing fees has enabled citizens to save time and travel costs.

On the other hand, this mechanism is supporting public institutions to enhance their efficiency and tackle malpractices. The use of physical cash in high volumes is vulnerable to leakages and these transactions are also difficult to trace.

There is strong evidence from different parts of the world that digital payments significantly cut down leakages. In India, the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme helped in saving billions of dollars by eliminating fake or duplicate beneficiaries.

Transparency and security offered by digital payment systems are helping developing countries to overcome long-standing issues while improving the perception of public institutions. The revenues of government-run projects have also increased after digitization.

The advantages of Fintech in Pakistan are wide-ranging and there is a huge potential for growth. The economy which used to suffer from a lack of diversity and opportunities now has a bright future ahead because of digitization and financial inclusion.

Author, Ali Haider Saleem has worked with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and National Defense University (NDU). His research interests lie in sustainable development, regional integration, and security cooperation. He has studied public policy at Queen Mary University of London and economics at NUST, Islamabad. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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Pakistani Fintech Startup Secures $7.2 Million in Seed-Round Funding
Posted 2 months ago by Ahsan Gardezi
SadaPay | ProPakistani



The Islamabad-based fintech startup SadaPay has secured $7.2 million in seed-round funding, led by a New York-based firm Recharge Capital, and the investment is being hailed as Pakistan’s largest seed-round secured by any local startup.

Besides Recharge Capital, the seed was bankrolled by Kingsway Capital, the Raptor Group, and other prominent constituents of the global fintech backdrop.

With this massive level of investment expected to make waves across Pakistan’s digital payment landscape, SadaPay plans to use these funds for the evolution of the payment services’ blueprint. For starters, the company is looking to hire professionals to help with the development to join the top-notch executives that it had recruited last year, including Jon Sheppard (former-CTO Gojek’s Financial Services) and Tayseer Ali (former-CFO JazzCash).

As a token of commitment to the country’s developing financial services, the CEO of SadaPay told the media that the company will soon be able to provide the easiest way to send money to Pakistan from anywhere in the world with market-competitive exchange rates. A statement by the company in this regard explained: "Since SadaPay does not bear the high costs of managing the physical infrastructure of traditional banks, it passes those savings to its customers in the form of free financial services. The company will generate revenues from premium product offerings such as merchant services and remittances".

Currently available in private beta, SadaPay is poised to break the barriers that restrict branchless banking with the help of easy-to-manage payment methods. It will take some time for the app to become operational in the local markets, and almost 200,000 people are on the waitlist to get their profiles approved.

The company is expected to begin the public rollouts of the service after receiving a full Electronic Money Institution license from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Pakistani Fintech Startup Secures $7.2 Million in Seed-Round Funding (propakistani.pk)
 
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View attachment 752053

Pakistan’s economy is bouncing back and it is being recognized by overseas investors. Since last year, Pakistani start-ups have attracted millions of dollars from abroad. The Fintech industry has also emerged as a promising avenue for international investors. The benefits of Fintech can be availed by a large variety of sectors and so it is expected to expand in the coming years.

Fintech is the application of technology for delivering financial services and is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. Fintech providers are involved in improving existing services and creating alternate solutions to maximize benefits. They are quickly filling the gaps left by the traditional banking sector.

Businesses across the world are turning expeditiously to Fintech for managing their finances and to deliver their products and services. Digital payment facilities have become essential as they can better cater to consumer behavior in the digital era.

Due to the restrictions imposed on traditional economic activities by COVID-19, the importance of digital financial services has been widely realized. The fintech industry is not only helping businesses to adjust their operations but is also contributing to relief activities. The adaptability of this industry in such a challenging era is a major source of confidence for investors.

Financial inclusion is important

Emerging economies in particular have seen a rapid rise of digital financial services in recent years. The traditional financial institutions in these economies have not been swift to adapt to technological innovations which have allowed Fintech companies to secure customers through their less complex services.

Major segments of the population in developing countries have remained unbanked but now they have access to a range of financial services through their smartphones.

Financial inclusion is considered a crucial component of a thriving economy. Affordable and practical access to financial products and services boost economic activity and support poverty eradication.

Financial inclusion is important
Emerging economies in particular have seen a rapid rise of digital financial services in recent years. The traditional financial institutions in these economies have not been swift to adapt to technological innovations which have allowed Fintech companies to secure customers through their less complex services.

Major segments of the population in developing countries have remained unbanked but now they have access to a range of financial services through their smartphones.

Financial inclusion is considered a crucial component of a thriving economy. Affordable and practical access to financial products and services boost economic activity and support poverty eradication.

Empowering women

Not surprisingly, the majority of the unbanked adults are women who have to face societal barriers as well. With better access to financial tools, women can play a major role in uplifting their households and eliminating poverty.

In Kenya, M-Pesa has been a very popular initiative that has helped in increasing financial inclusion rates considerably. It has helped users to lift themselves out of poverty and has enabled women to upgrade their professions.

Similarly, the growth of Pakistan’s fintech industry has already helped in overcoming a number of barriers to financial inclusion. The constraints which keep women out of labour force are also now more likely to be stamped out.

View attachment 752055

Females constitute a major chunk of the much-feared youth bulge in the country. Accommodating an ever-growing number of labor force participants each year is a daunting challenge.

However, the talented youth of the country which can capitalize on digital financial services is an asset and the government should back the Fintech sector with enabling policies.

Fintech taking over

The impressive rise of the Fintech sector in a sluggish and COVID-hit economy in recent years shows that it has a critical role to play in the future. The government should look to strengthen the industry by encouraging innovation and supporting financial education initiatives.

Some of the key economic policy targets have been made easier to achieve due to technology-backed financial services and this should encourage all the stakeholders to carry forward this momentum.

Apart from achieving policy targets, government departments are extending digital payment facilities to citizens. Online Payment of utility bills, fines, and processing fees has enabled citizens to save time and travel costs.

On the other hand, this mechanism is supporting public institutions to enhance their efficiency and tackle malpractices. The use of physical cash in high volumes is vulnerable to leakages and these transactions are also difficult to trace.

There is strong evidence from different parts of the world that digital payments significantly cut down leakages. In India, the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme helped in saving billions of dollars by eliminating fake or duplicate beneficiaries.

Transparency and security offered by digital payment systems are helping developing countries to overcome long-standing issues while improving the perception of public institutions. The revenues of government-run projects have also increased after digitization.

The advantages of Fintech in Pakistan are wide-ranging and there is a huge potential for growth. The economy which used to suffer from a lack of diversity and opportunities now has a bright future ahead because of digitization and financial inclusion.

Author, Ali Haider Saleem has worked with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and National Defense University (NDU). His research interests lie in sustainable development, regional integration, and security cooperation. He has studied public policy at Queen Mary University of London and economics at NUST, Islamabad. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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Good article, Pakistan has so much potential in the field of Finance and the latest innovative techniques associated with it.
 

StormBreaker

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Also check NayaPay, They are going parallel to SadaPay with option to make business accounts as well
Good article, Pakistan has so much potential in the field of Finance and the latest innovative techniques associated with it.
And the latest innovate scams
 

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Pakistan’s KTrade raises $4.5 million for its stock trading app
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Karachi-based stock brokerage KASB Securities that owns and operates stock trading app KTrade has raised $4.5 million in a funding round led by Hong Kong-based investment firm TTB Partners and New York-based global VC HOF Capital. The round was also joined by fintech investor Christian Angermayer, and David Mortlock, the managing partner of German investment bank Berenberg, as well as Pakistani business families.

KASB is one of the oldest brokerage houses in Pakistan and was relaunched in 2018 by investment executive Ali Farid, with a focus on retail investing. The firm launched KTrade, a stock trading app for retail investors, in 2019 and has since served thousands of users in Pakistan. The app enables users to sign up for a brokerage account and start trading with as little as PKR 5,000 ($32). KTrade charges PKR 0.03 on the trade of stocks priced at PKR 20 or less and 0.15 percent of the stock price for stocks priced at more than PKR 20. On its website, the firm claims that this is the lowest commission in the industry.

Since its launch, over 200,000 have registered on the app to access research and virtual trading – thousands of these users have used the app to trade stocks, KASB Chairman Ali Farid told MENAbytes, adding that over 50 percent of the trading volume served by their brokerage now comes from the app. KASB also serves corporate and individual clients through a variety of other tools.

The Pakistani financial regulatory agency, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, had introduced online signup/onboarding for brokerage accounts in late 2020, which has made it relatively easier to trade. The KYC requirements, however, still include payslip and bank account statements, which means a large number of Pakistanis cannot signup for brokerage accounts.

KASB’s Chairman who previously served as Chief Financial Officer of UK fintech SafeCharge remains optimistic about the future of retail investing in the country, with the aim to reach 10 million (local and overseas) Pakistanis by 2023 through KTrade, enabling them to invest in stocks, bonds, commodities, and mutual funds through KTrade.

In a statement, he said, “People in Pakistan have traditionally turned to gold or real estate when they consider investment options. However, as the regulatory approach, authority, and credibility of the Karachi Stock Exchange has grown, more people are getting comfortable with stock market investing. This is an exciting trend but accessibility to these markets remains a hurdle for millions. KTrade will enable this mobile-first population to participate in the investment opportunity. By connecting these people to companies we can drive capital trapped in unproductive assets into the formal economy which would eventually drive a virtuous cycle of economic growth and higher investments.”

“Most people in Pakistan lack access to formal financial products and their savings in real estate or gold offer inferior returns, are inefficient and have high transactional costs. We aim to democratize access to the capital markets and enable them to make stock market investments. The strong demand for KTrade shows that the market is ready for this transformation. Other regional and emerging markets have seen similar evolution led by successful fintech companies” added the KASB Chairman.

Stock trading apps, like Robinhood, Zerodha, Flatex, and many others have made retail investing easier and accessible for investors in markets like United States, India, and Germany. With KTrade, KASB aims to replicate the success in Pakistan.

Jonathan Bond, the Managing Partner at TTB Partners, said, “Pakistan and South Asia have some of the most exciting market dynamics and demographics globally, and KTrade is well-positioned to take advantage of the democratization of finance in the region. We are delighted to be investing in the latest round of funding for KASB, and to support Ali and his first-class team on their continued journey.

“We have been extremely impressed by what KASB has built over the past few years, both from a tech perspective and from the educational overlay to investing, which the company has embraced. In particular, we believe that in KTrade, the company has a stellar solution to expanding stock market participation across Pakistan,” he added.

Pakistan's KTrade raises $4.5 million for its stock trading app (menabytes.com)
 

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How KTrade Plans To Drive A Boom In Pakistani Share Trading
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David Prosser
David Prosser

Could Pakistan be the latest world stock market to see an explosion of interest from retail investors? Ali Farid, the cofounder of KTrade, thinks so. The online broker is today announcing a $4.5m funding round that Farid believes will position KTrade perfectly as a new generation of Pakistanis embrace the stock market. “It is time for people to get their money out from under their mattresses and get a better return from more formal types of savings,” Farid insists.

KTrade launched in 2019 and has already racked up more than 200,000 users. Farid founded the business after a stint serving as CFO of the fintech SafeCharge, where he saw early evidence of the worldwide boom in online trading. “Online brokers became our biggest customer segment,” says Farid of an industry where firms such as Robinhood in the U.S. have seen exponential growth in recent times.

He believes Pakistan is now set for a similar trajectory. Already, the volume of shares traded on the Karachi Stock Exchange has risen seven-fold over the past 18 months, primarily driven by surging interest from retail investors. Retail investors, for whom international stocks are off-limits under Pakistani investment regulation, now account for more than 65% of overall trading volume compared to around 45% only two years ago.
That increase in demand reflects strong performance from the Pakistani stock market in recent times, but also growing confidence in the calibre of the companies listed on the market and the regulation of investment. Many of the leading constituents of the Pakistani indices are domestic subsidiaries of well-known multi-national businesses—Nestle and BAT, for example—while a consortium of Chinese exchange investors in the Pakistan Stock Exchange has helped drive international corporate governance practices. A growing number of new issues from innovative and entrepreneurial smaller companies adds to the appeal.
However, it is the potential customer base that gives Farid so much confidence in the potential of KTrade. “Pakistan has a population of 200 million people, many of whom are young and internet-savvy,” he explains. “But until now, there has not been much of a culture of formal savings and investments—around 50% of people keep all their savings at home where the money is earning no returns.”
In addition to the domestic user base, KTrade is also targeting 9 million Pakistanis living overseas, particularly in the Middle East, Canada and the U.K. “Many Pakistani expatriates are very keen on the idea of investing back into Pakistan,” Farid says.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidp...-to-automate-the-secret-sauce-of-advertising/
Combining these two target markets, KTrade believes it can increase its user numbers to 10 million by 2023. It operates through a mobile app that has become Pakistan’s most downloaded investment app, enabling customers to trade equities, bonds, commodities and mutual funds. The service operates with low-cost commissions in the model of online brokers in markets where price competition has become cut-throat.

Ali Farid and the KTrade team

Ali Farid and the KTrade team
KTRADE
“Covid has been a real inflection point,” Farid adds. “During lockdown, many people all over the world had more time to explore new ideas and online trading has been one beneficiary of that trend.”
KTrade’s fundraising will support a significant expansion of its marketing activities in a country where regulators and policymakers have traditionally devoted relatively meagre resources to building public understanding of savings and investments. “We have to invest in education,” Farid explains. “We need to persuade people to get their money out from underneath the mattress.”
That will mean conventional advertising and marketing campaigns, but KTrade has also invested in online learning, running online courses to teach people the basics of stock market investment. Fantasy stock picking contests have also proved popular.
The funding round takes in a range of global investors and institutions, and is led by Hong Kong-based TTB Partners and HOF Capital from New York. German fintech investor Christian Angermayer, the managing partner of German bank Berenberg David Mortlock also participated in the round.
“Pakistan and South Asia have some of the most exciting market dynamics and demographics globally, and KTrade is well positioned to take advantage of the democratisation of finance in the region,” argues Jonathan Bond, managing partner of TTB Partners.


How KTrade Plans To Drive A Boom In Pakistani Share Trading (forbes.com)
 

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Two Fintech Deals Add to Startup Funding Rush in Pakistan
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By
Faseeh Mangi
June 7, 2021, 8:40 AM GMT+5


A flood of overseas capital into Pakistan’s fintech startups that began during the coronavirus pandemic is continuing unabated, with two new fundraising deals announced on Monday.

Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Securities Pvt.’s fintech trading app KTrade as well as former Morgan Stanley fund manager Omair Ansari’s early wage access platform have raised a total of $6.6 million, adding to the $19.3 million funding for the country’s startups in the first quarter of 2021.

Of that, nearly $15 million came from foreign investors, which poured a record $48 million into the sector last year, according to an April tweet by Invest2Innovate that support startups. The decrease in global air travel during Covid-19 has been an unexpected boon for startups in the South Asian nation, which has had travel advisories issued against it by many nations.

“Covid has helped us because previously an investors’ due diligence process would usually involve them coming to the country. It was not that easy for them to visit Pakistan,” Ali Farid Khwaja, chairman at Karachi-based KASB Securities, said in an interview. “Now they can’t go to any country, they became open to speaking with founders over Zoom and other digital means.”


KTrade, which allows investors to buy and sell equities on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, raised $4.5 million in a funding round led by Hong Kong-based TT Bond Partners and HOF Capital from New York, according to a statement by the company. German investor Christian Angermayer also participated in the round.


Ansari raised $2.1 million in seed funding for Abhi, which like Payactiv Inc. and Wagestream Ltd. allows employees to access already earned wages before they’re paid out. Investors included VEF Ltd. and Village Global, Ansari said in an email.

“There are always stages in an ecosystem,” said Talal Gondal, Chief Executive Officer at TAG Innovation Pvt., which recently raised one of the highest pre-seed fundings in the region. “Pakistan’s fintech wave is just starting.”

Two Fintech Deals Add to Startup Funding Rush in Pakistan - Bloomberg
 
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Pakistan Startup to Offer Financial Services Post Fund Raise
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By
Faseeh Mangi
June 3, 2021, 9:31 AM GMT+5 Updated on June 4, 2021, 11:47 AM GMT+5

TAG Innovation Pvt. will start offering financial services this month in the world’s fifth most populous nation where 70% of adults don’t have a bank account.

The Islamabad-based fintech startup will launch with a limited number of customers and will start commercial operations in two to three months after it gets central bank approval, Chief Executive Officer Talal Gondal said in an interview. The startup aims to have millions of customers for its digital wallets in the first few years under its electronic money institution license, he said.

The company has raised about $5.5 million in pre-seed funding, making it one of five biggest deals in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan region, according to data from Crunchbase. The funding round was led by Quiet Capital Management, Liberty City Ventures and Fatima Gobi Ventures. TAG also received strategic angel investments from general partners of Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures LLC, Canaan Partners and Mercury’s Immad Akhund.

TAG joins other digital payment startups in raising funds as digital banks take off in emerging markets where millions lack access to banking services. Razorpay, an Indian startup that facilitates digital payments, said in April it was raising $160 million, while Egyptian digital banking app Telda raised $5 million last month.

Pakistan has the third largest unbanked adult population globally with about 100 million adults without a bank account, according to the World Bank. About 70% of the population doesn’t have a bank account, according to Raza Jafri, head of equities at Intermarket Securities Ltd. Potential customers complain about the lengthy documentation process and multiple branch visits needed to open an account.

Potential Customers
Pakistan is among the most unbanked nations globally in 2021
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Source: Merchant Machine, Intermarket Securities

“In Pakistan, the system is broken,” said Gondal. “Some banks don’t even have a banking app. It’s that bad.”

TAG plans to make the process simple with potential customers needing just a copy of their national identification card and a selfie. Accounts should be opened within three minutes, Gondal said.

The startup received a provisional electronic money institution license from the central bank last year that allows basic banking services such as cash transfer, online shopping and a debit card.

Pakistan’s central bank governor Reza Baqir said in April that he welcomes digital banks in the country, including full-fledged digital banks and smaller ones to constructively shape the industry.

Pakistan Startup to Offer Financial Services Post Fund Raise - Bloomberg

@Goenitz
 
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Fintech startup Abhi bags $2mn in funding to finance salary advances
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June 7, 2021
By Ariba Shahid

With the recent investment, Abhi will be commencing three-month pilot with select companies in steel, pharmaceutical, insurance, textiles and retail sectors.

LAHORE: Abhi, a Karachi-based salary advance platform, has raised $2 million in a seed round, the company announced in a statement.

Founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai earlier this year, the duo has managed to raise equity in a seed round led by Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF) with Village Global, Sarmayacar, i2i Ventures, Zayn Capital, and Portman Wills.

Dave Nangle, Partner at VEF said, “This investment allows VEF to continue on a mission of improving the financial well-being of average Pakistanis. The traditional pay cycle has tied up employees’ earned income for as long as we can remember, forcing workers to turn to overdrafts, payday loans, and other punishing products. We hear companies talk about ‘Digital Transformation’ all the time; modernizing the pay cycle is the most fundamental transformation a company can make to its relationship with employees. It is a great scale product, a win for all involved and the cornerstone for a much broader employee financial wellness play.”

What is Abhi?

Living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to meet expenses towards the end of the month is not rare. To facilitate such employees, Abhi has partnered with 20 companies to enable employees to withdraw their accrued wages any time they want through the webpage or mobile app.

Before launching publicly, Abhi signed MOUs with 20 companies and is currently conducting a three-month pilot. The companies taking part in the pilot come from sectors like insurance, steel manufacturing, pharmaceutical, textile and retail, allowing Abhi to validate the product as well as gather information for future growth metrics. The exercise is centered around gaining insights on the pain points of employees, their lending needs and what situations triggered that need.

The financing facility is Shariah Compliant and the company charges a transactional fee to employees but will be free for employers. Employees will pay back the advances through a deduction in their monthly salary prior to it being transferred to the employee salary account. Moreover, the advances will be funded by Abhi and will not make a difference to the employer’s balance sheet.

Abhi is the recent entrant in the employee salary financing space and joins the ranks of Finja, another fintech company that was launched in 2016. Similar to Abhi, Finja provides salary advances to employees of the companies that use Finja’s payroll processing application against a service charge. Finja recently raised $10.15 million in its Series A financing round and one of its investors include Habib Bank Limited that invested $1.15 million in the company.

What purpose does this serve?

Co-founder Ansari, who previously advised and invested in fintech solutions in emerging & frontier markets, noted, “We believe financial wellness and access to credit are basic human rights, which we aim to bring to all our customers. Our goal is to digitize consumer credit, address pain points in the manual payments process and be there when consumers need us most. Your wage is your right, and we want you to have access to it ABHI (“right now” in Urdu).”

It is also aimed at showing employers that Abhi does not disrupt the cash flow or business process and adds no cost to HR or Accounts. Instead, the companies benefit from a more motivated workforce leading to increased productivity, satisfaction, and retention.

Co-founder Ali Ladhubhai, who previously founded Pakistani fintech startup KarloCompare and led business development at Foree noted, “Less than 2 million people in Pakistan have access to formal credit. We saw the need for an early wage access product that could allow them to access alternate digital finance together with a knowledge center to educate them about using personal finance responsibly and to their benefit.” With an eye already on future innovations, Ladhubhai added, “This is just the beginning for us. We have plans to provide a range of digital financial services to allow for customers to conduct all financial transactions from a single financial app.”

Sarmayacar’s General Partner, Dr. Bernhard Klemen added: “The annual salaries of the urban employed labor force across 100,000 public and private companies in Pakistan is estimated to be over $65 billion yet official reports suggest that formal lending channels account for credit of just over $3 billion only, with millions of Pakistanis accessing informal channels at egregious rates. Sarmayacar believes in Abhi’s vision and is delighted to back Omair and Ali in transforming the way Pakistanis access credit and over time build the region’s leading finance wellness platform.”

Team Abhi is now gearing up to join the Summer cycle of Y-Combinator, an American seed funding accelerator that aims to equip startups with the skills and knowledge to help their ideas grow. They join the ranks of alumni companies from Pakistan like SafePay, Markhor and Byte, and the global alumni companies that include Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, and Coinbase.

Fintech startup Abhi bags $2mn in funding to finance salary advances - Profit by Pakistan Today
 

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First think of simplifying the economic system and then introduce the electronic money transfer method. Below is my proposal for a new economic system :

 

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Pakistani B2B ecommerce marketplace Tajir raises $17 million Series A led by Kleiner Perkins
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ByZubair Naeem Paracha
Posted on June 2, 2021

Lahore-based B2B ecommerce marketplace Tajir has raised $17 million in a Series A round led by one of the leading American VC firms Kleiner Perkins, it announced today. It is the first investment by the American VC in a Pakistani startup. The round also included the participation of Y Combinator Continuity Fund, AAVCF, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Flexport, Golden Gate Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, VentureSouq, and angel investors including Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen and Figma CEO Dylan Field.

The investment comes a year after Tajir raised $1.8 million. Tajir had graudated from Y Combinator in March 2020. It was the first startup focused on Pakistani market to have gone through the American accelerator.

Founded in 2018 by brother Babar and Ismail Khan, Tajir sells inventory to mom and pop stores (aka kiryana stores locally) in Pakistan through its mobile app. The startup that serves retailers in Lahore (and some other areas of Central Punjab) has over 1,000 SKUs including soft drinks, biscuits, shampoo, and food staples like rice and wheat, on its app. With the latest funds, it plans to expand to Pakistan’s largest city Karachi as well.

Babar Khan, the co-founder of Tajir in a previous interview had told MENAbytes that they’re building the infrastructure for commerce in Pakistan, “That means Tajir should facilitate any store to increase their income. Right now, that means providing the largest selection, transparent prices, and next-day delivery. We are expanding our catalog continually with more brands and product categories.”

There are at least four other VC-backed startups in Pakistan working to solve the same problem, including Bazaar, Retailo, Dastgyr, and Jugnu. They’ve collectively raised over $20 million to date from international and local investors. With today’s raise, Tajir has become the best-funded player in the space in Pakistan, and one of the best-funded startups of the country overall.

Mamoon Hamid, Partner at Kleiner Perkins, said, “Their software and mission to improve that supply chain and availability of products and pricing and digitizing that process made a ton of sense. I thought that would be the first foray for a company to make an attempt at doing a lot more to be a consumer company, not just a wholesale company.”

“We’re proud to make Kleiner Perkins’ first investment in Pakistan, and partner with Babar, Ismail, and the entire Tajir team as they transform how stores in Pakistan source inventory and grow,” he added in a blogpost announcing the investment.

Pakistani B2B ecommerce marketplace Tajir raises $17 million Series A led by Kleiner Perkins (menabytes.com)

@Goenitz @ghazi52 @PAKISTANFOREVER @FOOLS_NIGHTMARE This one bagged large amount of money.
 

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HBL inks landmark investment in Finja, Pakistan’s leading fintech startup
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27 May 2021
https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php...t-in-finja-pakistans-leading-fintech-startup/
HBL becomes the first bank in Pakistan to invest in a digital fintech startup with its Rs176 Million (USD 1.15 Million) participation in the last tranche of Finja’s Rs1.56 billion (USD10.15 Million) Series A1 round.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO – HBL, and Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder Finja signed the two organizations’ agreement. Umer Munawar, COO and Co-Founder, and Monis Rahman, Chairman and Co-Founder were also present at the occasion.

HBL joins an impressive list of leading global fintech funds that have invested in Finja including BeeNext, Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital, and ICU Ventures. All investors from previous rounds topped up their investment in Finja’s Series A1 round.


For HBL, an investment in Finja serves two of the bank’s strategic priorities, namely, making investments into Digital Financial Inclusion and Development Finance companies, especially ones making an impact in agriculture and SMEs as these are the backbone of the economy, and proactively reinventing HBL to become a “technology company with a banking license”.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in April last year, Finja has scaled its digital lending portfolio by 550% disbursing over 50,000 digital loans to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Despite being the backbone of the economy, small businesses in Pakistan have traditionally not been able to obtain credit to grow.

Message from CEO and Chairman Finja

“We are elated to have HBL participate in this funding round. Our ground-breaking success in digitally scoring undocumented small businesses has resulted in a 64% month-on-month portfolio growth for us since the outbreak of the pandemic earlier this year. Undoubtedly, HBL’s financial clout, massive network, and progressive leadership will help us elevate the country’s most important segment, the SMEs,” said Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder of Finja.

“These loans are critical for Pakistan’s economic growth. Our productive loans result in a 40% increase in SME revenue with less than a 1% default rate,” added Monis Rahman, Chairman, and Co-Founder Finja.

Message from CEO HBL

Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO – HBL, commenting on the occasion said, “We are delighted to be investing in FINJA. Pakistan’s fintech landscape has immense opportunities.”

He added, “At HBL we believe that by making this investment we are not only developing the Startup ecosystem, but it will also pave the way for Pakistan to play a bigger role in the fintech space globally. SME lending is the future and therefore we are investing in Finja which enjoys a first-mover advantage over the market in digitally lending to SMEs in this country.”

Fintech in Pakistan

Fintech is the term given to financial service firms whose products or services are built upon technology, usually implying something innovative in the field. It involves removing barriers and improving accessibility

Around the globe, this emerging sector has impacted many fields like Banking, Insurance, Loans, Personal Finance, Electric Payments, Loans, Venture Capital, and Wealth Management to name a few.

According to a recent report, the first quarter of 2021 has been the best for FinTech funding globally, surpassing Q2’18’s previous record, which included Ant Group’s(Alibaba) $14B funding round. Between 614 deals, VC-backed fintech companies successfully raised $22.8 billion. This represents 15% and 98% year-over-year (YoY) growth, respectively.

Finja in Pakistan

Similarly, Pakistan’s fintech industry is developing too, with organizations like Finja microfinance bank, which is banking the unbanked population of Pakistan and providing loans to the small traders and merchants digitally.

Finja Fintech


In partnering with commercial banks and telecom companies, Finja is increasing its reach to the mass population of Pakistan, 77 percent of whom are still unbanked.

On the other hand, HBL is Pakistan’s largest bank, not just by assets (Rs3.6 trillion), the data is from the end of 2QFY21, but also by lending (Rs1.1 trillion), deposits (Rs 2.7 trillion), customer base (30 million), bank branches (1,709), and small and medium-sized enterprises finance (Rs50 billion).

In leading the financial sector of Pakistan into the digital realm Habib Bank Limited offers various digital services like HBL Mobile, HBL’s own interactive mobile app, HBL InternetBanking, HBL WhatsApp Banking. These are all an effort to enter the digital space.

HBL inks landmark investment in Finja, Pakistan’s leading fintech startup (globalvillagespace.com)
 

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