Pakistani-American VC At Top Silicon Valley Firm Leads First Investment in Pakistan

 Kleiner Perkins, a top Silicon Valley venture capital investment firm, is leading series A round of $17 million investment into Pakistani start-up Tajir. The startup operates an online marketplace for small store merchants in Pakistan. The announcement came via a tweet by Mamoon Hamid, a Pakistani-American Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins who led the investment. Last year, Tajir raised a $1.8 million seed round.  The company's revenue has increased by 10x since its seed round. 

Here's what Hamid tweeted: "Made my first investment in Pakistan, my country of birth, and a place I called home from the ages of 10 to 13. Feels special. This also marks @kleinerperkins first investment in Pakistan. We are thrilled to announce our investment in @tajir_app_pk" 

Tajir has been cofounded by two brothers, Babar and Ismail Khan. The company lets stores place orders for inventory through its app and allows customers to compare the prices of goods, purchase inventory and have access to 24/7 ordering with a next day delivery. 

Mamoon Hamid, partner at Kleiner Perkins (who is himself originally from Pakistan), who led the round told Forbes magazine that given Pakistan’s prevalent bodega (small retail outlet called kirana store in South Asia) model, what Tajir was doing was very compelling. “Their software and mission to improve that supply chain and availability of products and pricing and digitizing that process made a ton of sense,” Hamid says. “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.”    

Other investors joining Kleiner Perkins include YC Continuity, AAVCF, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Flexport, Golden Gate Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, VentureSouq, and angel investors including Under 30 honoree and CEO of Figma Dylan Field, and Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.

Mamoon Hamid has a bachelor's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University, an MS degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Here is how Mamoon has described Tajir on Kleiner Perkins website:

"Tajir is Pakistan’s largest tech-enabled retail network — a one stop shop for sellers to compare the prices of goods, purchase inventory, and enjoy the convenience of 24/7 ordering with next-day delivery. They’re already servicing thousands of neighborhood stores in Lahore and have been growing in large part from word of mouth from the goodwill they’ve built with the seller community". 

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Why did Retailo raise a phenomenal seed round?
With $6.7mn in seed round and $9mn in total funding, the B2B marketplace is gunning to digitise mom-and-pop stores in Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/05/09/why-did-retailo-raise-a-phenomenal-seed-round/

B2B e-commerce marketplace Retailo Thursday announced raising $6.7 million in what the company claimed was the largest seed round for a Saudi Arabia-based startup.

Largest or not, the round is undoubtedly indicative of how rapidly the B2B e-commerce is heating up. At least four not-so-old B2B marketplaces are contending to digitise neighborhood convenience stores in Pakistan. Bazaar and Jugnu are trying their luck from their offices in Karachi, whereas Dastgyr and Tajir are sporting in Lahore.

Then we have Retailo, digitising mom-and-pop stores in Pakistan from their office in Karachi, and Saudi Arabia from their head office in Riyadh.
Riaz Haq said…
New players in the market, such as Tajir and Bazaar Tech, all seem to be primarily focused on aggregating demand for those in the retail segment and this is a great entry strategy. It's likely to be a profitable business in terms of unit economics and they are solving a real need. However before we go deeper into their strategy lets learn about the current best practices within the industry.

https://www.dyl-ventures.com/p/digitising-pakistans-retail-market

How do retailers stock their shelves today?

Currently retailers have to deal with multiple distributors and wholesalers, with some even going to places such as Carrefour/Metro to get bulk deals on products. Each store carries anywhere from 50-500 products and to gather inventory they have to deal with upwards of 20-30 distributors and wholesalers. The ordering process is ultimately broken as they have to wait for order-bookers to come and initiate the process. Having an order-booker is convenient if you are a big store and are serving a large area, however, if you are a small store in an underserved area it does not help much because the order-bookers are less likely to approach you on a regular basis. Once the order is taken, delivery usually takes place the next day.

Each of the startups (Tajir, Bazaar etc) currently entering this arena is likely to be focusing on the following key components: assortment; price; fast delivery and ease of use. While factors such as these are the most critical for ensuring long term success, We believe there are a few other areas that startups should also focus on to ensure long-term retailer loyalty, diversification of revenue streams and the creation of a strong ‘’moat’’ in general as a defense against competition.

Ease of Use & Guaranteed Delivery

The startups intend to provide retailers with an easy and simple mechanism to place orders for supplies. This itself will add value as the retailers will now be able to compare prices of inventory very easily and therefore earn a higher return on their investment. They also intend to offer speedy delivery along with the option to do live tracking of the ability to choose delivery slots.

Branded Items & Private Label

The startups intend to offer all sorts of branded items from all the FMCG’s that are available. One of the largest segments of sales however are commodities such as sugar, flour and salt which are ripe for upstream integration and can be sold under private labels. In a market which will be inundated with new startups and incumbent players the best way to make yourself stand out is to have the lowest prices. We believe that the shrewdest of players will go the extra mile and aim for a higher strategic position in the supply chain to earn additional value.

Building Infrastructure & Enabling Technology Focused Growth
After these startups establish their core business models, they can then begin to focus on expanding their business lines. By using their relationships with retailers, they could decide to build core infrastructure which currently does not exist and/or are unusable by retailers for reasons such as complexity, comprehension and price. Some examples could include infrastructure for Inventory Management Systems (IMS), a Point-Of-Sale (POS) System, Credit Ratings for retailers etc. Getting into these adjacent markets will create a larger impact in the future. This is because it will provide other Pakistani startups & retailers with the infrastructure and data they need to expand into additional services such as Loyalty Programs and the B2C market..

Riaz Haq said…
Dukan.pk vs Chikoo: How do these e-commerce solutions stack up against each other?

https://www.techjuice.pk/dukan-pk-vs-chikoo-how-do-these-e-commerce-solutions-stack-up-against-each-other/


While both Dukan.pk and Chikoo empower their customers to conveniently create an online outlet for their business, there is some nuance that separates both of their offerings.

Built using state of the art technological tools like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Applications (PWA) alongside infrastructure like Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, Chikoo “provides a single-window solution for web, conversational commerce and aggregator-platform e-commerce orders”. It comprises an easy-to-use system featuring merchant-first ordering, out-of-the-box payments, and logistic integrations.

On the other hand, Dukan.pk provides a platform that not only takes care of payments, but also handles delivery of goods/supplies and basic accounting. Plus, upon analysis of the business’s track record, it even hands out “instant affordable loans” to the business to help it grow.

Therefore, upon a cursory glance, it appears that Dukan.pk has more to offer and is willing to work more closely with businesses to keep them afloat.

Ease of use

Both Dukan.pk and Chikoo feature an incredibly user-friendly interface, and all you need to do to get things going is to enter your phone number. For people with minimal technical knowledge, you can’t come up with a simpler way of kick-starting an e-commerce journey.

However, Dukan.pk ultimately takes the cake in terms of time taken to launch a web store. While Chikoo will “setup your online store in 3 minutes”, Dukan.pk allows you to “create your web store in 29 seconds”. That is an incredible lead, and one that will definitely sway consumer decisions.

Company size

With 201-500 employees as per LinkedIn data, Chikoo is definitely the larger of the two startups. In contrast, Dukan.pk has no more than 10 employees.

Testimonials

I personally find this one to be the most interesting metric for comparison, because if there is one thing that would compel business owners from a diverse set of background to trust your solution, it’s testimonials from other business owners like them. Naturally, both Dukan.pk and Chikoo have used made sure to use that fact to their advantage.

Both startups have taken a different approach here, however. Chikoo’s testimonials come about in the form of pictures of apparently satisfied business owners on its home page. Dukan.pk, meanwhile, has a whole YouTube channel featuring short clips of business owners explaining how the ecommerce solution has helped them.

Riaz Haq said…
Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi's tweet:


Pakistan’s startup funding and foreign interest is going through the roof. Why? Covid has helped us because travel has closed. Now investors are open to speaking with founders over Zoom. It was not easy for them visiting Pakistan, says
@afkhwaja

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-07/two-fintech-deals-add-to-startup-funding-rush-in-pakistan

https://twitter.com/FaseehMangi/status/1401967579812466696?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani online #pharmacy Dawaai nets $8.5M in latest funding round to scale #supplychain. Round led by #US-based "500 Startups" with local #VC firms Sarmayacar, Kingsway Capital, Crimson Seed Capital & Mentors Fund participating. https://shar.es/aWmoyi via @MobiHealthNews

Pakistani online pharmacy Dawaai has announced that it raised $8.5 million in a recent investing round led by US-based 500 Startups and participated by local venture capital firm Sarmayacar. Kingsway Capital, Crimson Seed Capital and Mentors Fund also participated in the round.

WHY IT MATTERS

Launched in 2014, Dawaai is touted to be Pakistan's largest pharmaceutical marketplace that offers authentic and affordable medicines. On the enterprise end, it runs an online one-stop shop for the inventory needs of small pharmacies. With over 250 staff, the company is serving 11 million people across the country with deliveries made in 98 cities.

The healthcare merchant also provides other web and mobile app-based services, including teleconsultations, nursing, physiotherapy and at-home lab testing.

The latest funding round brings a total investment of $10.5 million for the company to date. In a press statement, Dawaai said it will deploy the proceeds to build a pharmaceutical supply chain infrastructure in Pakistan, as well as invest in technology for business optimisation.

THE LARGER TREND

Digital pharmacies drew investments from various sources in 2020 as lockdowns forced customers to purchase medications online.

In July last year, NowRx bagged $20 million in Series B funding for its expansion. In the same month, Medly also closed a financing round where it raised $100 million.

Online pharmacy platform GoodRx debuted in the Nasdaq in September where it drew $1.1 billion from cornerstone investors.

ON THE RECORD

"We are laser-focused on our mission to make healthcare accessible and affordable for the people of Pakistan and wider South Asia. The first step in achieving that is building the missing pharmaceutical supply chain infrastructure in the markets we operate and honing the next generation of talent to take our economies forward. This financing is enabling us to carry forward on our journey to make the lives of people better across the length and breadth of Pakistan, with a low-cost healthcare model for all Pakistanis," Dawaai Founder Furquan Kidwai said.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s online #grocery delivery #startup, GrocerApp, has successfully raised $5.2 million in a Series-A round from local and global institutional and angel investors. #technology #Investment https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/06/14/pakistans-grocerapp-scores-5-2mn-in-series-a-funding/

The round was led by Hayaat Global, with participation from Millville Opportunities Fund, New York, MENA-based Wamda Capital, Jabbar Internet Group and Nama Ventures, China-based Haitou Global, and Pakistan-based LeanBricks and Walled City Co. Further participation from angels included former Souq/Amazon MENA CFO Asif Keshodia, Khalid Alami, Ziyad Alami of Huda Group in Dubai, and Jon Puckhaber of Alvento Capital who participated in his personal capacity.

Founded in 2016 by Ahmad Saeed, Hassaan Sadiq, and Rai Bilal, GrocerApp is digitising grocery shopping in Pakistan with a focus on customer experience. Grocery shopping is the largest segment of consumer spending comprising over $48 billion in 2019 according to Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES) data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. It was until recently also largely an untapped market as far as tech-enabled solutions are concerned.

Prior to GrocerApp, the founders were key team members of PakWheels, scaling the company to one of the earliest Pakistani tech ecosystem powerhouses.
Riaz Haq said…
#KP province of #Pakistan takes lead in #IT sector with first-ever #5G trial. Experimental test in #Peshawar comprises remote surgery concept & cloud gaming. The trial in Peshawar will increase pace of #internet penetration in Pakistan. #Telecom #Tech
https://tribune.com.pk/story/2305786/k-p-takes-lead-in-it-sector-with-first-ever-5g-trial

The country took one step further towards expanding its internet horizon on Thursday with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) conducting the successful test of 5G technology for consumers at the Durshal Incubation Center in Peshawar.

The PTCL Group and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB), under the umbrella of Department of Science and Information Technology, conducted the 5G trial in a limited environment on a non-commercial basis.

The demonstration included successful remote surgery concept, cloud gaming and an overview of anticipated 5G technology applications in Pakistan. Once the infrastructure and systems are operational, surgeons will be able to perform surgeries remotely in the far-flung areas.

Once operational, Pakistan would join a select group of nations benefiting from the latest internet tech. The first country to adopt 5G was South Korea way back in 2019. Other leading nations like Switzerland, Kuwait, Finland, Qatar, US, UK, China, Italy, Spain, Australia etc followed later.

There are a host of others, including India, who have started making remarkable progress with 5G or have already achieved 5G technology. Noman Ahmed Said, Chief Executive Office (CEO) Si Global said that there were several advantages in introducing 5G in Pakistan.

The advantages, he added, included increased bandwidth along with faster speed with the potential to integrate seamlessly with technology that supported it. “The 5G, the 5th generation mobile network, enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects, and devices,” he told The Express Tribune.

K-P Senior Minister and Minister for IT, Science and Technology Atif Khan termed the 5G trial in Peshawar a “significant milestone in the history” of K-P. Speaking at the trial, he congratulated all the stakeholders on “making significant contribution to this latest technology demonstration”.

“This technology, once deployed, will enable provision of best medical and healthcare facilities to remote areas, provide international-level education opportunities to the underserved areas, and have a significant overall impact on the socio economic landscape of the country,” he added.

The main challenges facing the developing counties like Pakistan in implementing 5G is that “we have very recently implemented 4G for which the overall roll-out phase is still incomplete”, Said said. “There are also major technical challenges that we are likely to face while deploying 5G.”

According to Said, there were various security aspects of the 5G networks, which were an ongoing issue and added: “We are currently not technologically competent to handle the many security glitches of 5G networks.”

He said: “Additionally, there are infrastructural hurdles that will need to be completely reworked and will also involve heavy costs in doing so. Spectrum costs, costs of increased network density and dynamic spectrum sharing are also issues that are to be considered.”

Said said that introducing 5G would be a massive step in the formation of a Digital Pakistan in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that 5G would facilitate the move towards digital currency and cryptocurrency, putting the country at par with the rest of the world.

According to Si Global CEO, implementation of 5G could ultimately change the technological landscape of Pakistanm but stressed that several arrangements had to be made prior to its implementation.
Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi-based startup Trukkr raises $600,000 seed for its trucking marketplace in #Pakistan. It helps businesses transport their goods across Pakistan using its network of vetted transporters who match users' needs. #transport #freight https://www.menabytes.com/trukkr-seed/ via @MENAbytes


Karachi-headquartered trucking marketplace Trukkr has raised $600,000 in seed funding led by Peter Findley, it told MENAbytes today. The investor is a General Partner at Anchorless, a New York-headquartered VC focused on Bangladesh. The deal also included participation from Pakistan-focused investor Kinnow VC, Kargo Technologies’ founder and CEO Tiger Fang, and executives from Cue Health. In addition to the equity investment, the startup has also raised an undisclosed amount of money in debt financing.

Founded in 2020 by Sheryar Bawany, Waqas Khatri, Ali Haji, Mishal Adamjee, and Kasra Zunnaiyer, Trukkr helps businesses transport their goods across Pakistan using its network of transporters. Its marketplace features vetted transporters and truck drivers and matches loads in real-time, with transparent (and fair) pricing for both the parties. Since its launch, the startup claims to have served 20,000 trucking movements for different businesses in Pakistan including leading large corporations like Artistic Milliners, Ittehad Chemicals, and Master Group.

Trukkr has also built a dedicated logistics management platform that can be used by companies to manage their fleet, clients, and transporters. The platform is completely free-to-use for Trukkr’s customers.

There are at least ten local and regional online trucking marketplaces operating in Pakistan. Speaking about how they’re different, Trukkr’s co-founder Waqas Khatri told MENAbytes that their tech is world-class and is being used by some of the largest corporations in the country, “They’re not only using our marketplace to move their goods all over Pakistan but our online software as well to manage their entire logistics operations.”

Peter Findley seems to agree with the bit about tech, “Trukkr’s technology is top in a category not just in Pakistan but also in global markets. Its management team has a great understanding of how to implement the freight solution. Their knowledge of graph theory allows them to understand routes in a manner that minimizes waste. This leads to an ability to improve the carbon footprint of the trucking industry and also their partners.”

Prior to starting Trukkr, its co-founder Sheryar Bawany used to lead a logistics company in Karachi. After doing that for ten years, he teamed up with his co-founders to solve the inefficiencies in the local trucking industry using tech, “With an experienced operations team led by the founders, and a strong, comprehensive and localized tech platform built in house, we have completed more than 20,000 trips since we started operations in 2020, and the positive response from our customers has been overwhelming,” he stated in a conversation with MENAbytes.

Faaez Ul Haq from Kinnow VC said, “We are thrilled to invest in Trukkr as they take on the massive opportunity that the Pakistani freight market represents. We looked at several players in this space, and the Trukkr team stood out for their deep expertise, ability to quickly execute, and a rich product offering.”

The startup plans to use the latest funds to further enhance its technology and expand its operations.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #tech ecosystem is finally taking off. In 2021, Pakistani #startups are on track to raise more money than the previous 5 years combined. This capital is coming from investors from #Asia, #MiddleEast & top #SiliconValley VCs.
https://tcrn.ch/2TEwRR0 via @techcrunch

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1412922307438268416?s=20


Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, has been slow to adapt to the internet economy. Unlike other emerging economies such as China, India and Indonesia, which have embraced digitization and technology, Pakistan has trailed the region in the adoption of technology and startup formation.

Despite this, investors have dreamed for years of the huge opportunities in unlocking Pakistan’s potential as a digital economy. As a country of 220 million people, almost two-thirds of whom are under the age of 30, Pakistan draws natural comparisons to Indonesia — which has rapidly emerged as one of the most vibrant technology ecosystems outside the U.S. and China.

After years of lagging behind, over the course of the past 18 months, Pakistan’s technology ecosystem has come to life in unprecedented fashion. In 2021, Pakistani startups are on track to raise more money than the previous five years combined. Even more excitingly, a large portion of this capital is coming from international investors from across Asia, the Middle East and even famed investors from Silicon Valley.

The rapid emergence of Pakistan’s technology ecosystem on the international stage has been no accident — it’s the result of a confluence of changing facts on the ground and shifting dynamics in the startup and investing world as a result of the pandemic.


The sudden emergence of Pakistan’s tech ecosystem on the international stage has been driven by three major factors: an improving security situation, quickly growing mobile connectivity, and critical legal changes and deregulation.

As a frontline state and coalition partner in the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan saw fatalities from terrorist violence soar from 295 in 2001 to a peak of over 11,000 in 2009. This climate of instability and violence scared away international business and investors from Pakistan for much of the first two decades of the 21st century.
Riaz Haq said…
IT ministry to establish more software technology parks

https://pakobserver.net/it-ministry-to-establish-more-software-technology-parks/


He (Minister of IT) said the (Pakistan federal) government had also decided to set up an information technology park near the Jinnah International Airport in the trade and business hub of Karachi at a cost of Rs 31 billion.

The IT park would house about 210 IT companies having 8,400 employees. Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) would act as the project executing agency and complete it in six years.

The IT park would span over an area of 106,449 square meters with eight floors above the ground and three basement floors, he said.

To a question, the official said the ministry of IT had recently inaugurated IT Park in Islamabad, consisting of twelve-storey self-contained building on covered area of 66,893 square meters.

The IT Park would be developed with state-of-the-art infrastructure and allied facilities for IT companies with financial assistance of Exim Bank, Korea, he added.The project, he said, would be completed in 30 months with the total cost of Rs 13.72 billion.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's DigiKhata raises $2 million seed to help small businesses digitize bookkeeping and start online stores


https://www.menabytes.com/digikhata-seed/

Faisalabad-based fintech DigiKhata has raised $2 million in a seed round, it announced in a statement today. The round was led by Chinese VC MSA Capital, and joined by Shorooq Partners, SOSV, +92 Ventures, and some angel investors.

Founded in 2020 by Adnan Aslam, DigiKhata enables micro and small businesses to manage their bookkeeping using its web and mobile app. The app replaces offline registers and diaries and helps merchants digitize their bookkeeping by recording financial transactions digitally. It also sends automated reminders to their customers for (due) payments, helping merchants recover debts.

The first user of the app was Adnan’s father who runs a wholesale business in Faisalabad. It claims to have grown the number of registered businesses to over 1 million since then. DigiKhata declined to share the details about their active userbase but told us that their retention numbers are excellent. Once a user has a large number of transactions recorded on the platform, it becomes difficult for them to switch to alternatives, said the startup, adding that in 2020 alone, its userbase has recorded over $1 billion worth of transactions on its platform.

“The MSME sector contributes significantly to the Pakistani economy in terms of GDP, exports and employment. If empowered with the right tools and resources, their value addition to the economy can grow manifolds. With this round of funding, we are looking to scale our team and continue building world-class utility solutions to help these MSMEs generate real economic value and grow,” noted DigiKhata’s founder and CEO in a statement.

Prior to starting DigiKhata, Adnan led finance and accounting functions at different companies in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Africa. He’s a chartered accountant by profession and bootstrapped the business before raising this round, with his savings.

The startup has recently also launched its second product, DigiDokaan, a mobile app that helps MSMEs build and launch their online stores. Since going live three months ago, DigiDokaan has helped users set up 50,000 stores, claimed the startup.

On all fronts, DigiKhata faces competition from multiple players. In the digital ledger space, the local alternatives include CreditBook, Bazaar’s Easy Khata, and Uhdaar, and for building stores, there are options like Dukan and Chikoo. Adnan termed competition good for business, “It keeps you on your toes. We’re focused on serving our userbase by building the best-in-class products.”

Riaz Haq said…
The startup boom in Pakistan

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2308970/the-startup-boom-in-pakistan

Record levels of funding are pouring into Pakistan-based startups, boosting hopes for a brighter economic outlook for the world’s fifth-most populous country.
Startups have received $85 million in venture capital (VC) funding so far this year, outpacing the $66 million raised in 2020, and venture firms continue to build their war chest.
“A surge in venture capital investment in 2021 augurs well for innovation in the country,” said HBL COO Sagheer Mufti while talking to The Express Tribune.
“In particular, the focus on fintech and partnerships with banks provide immense opportunity for driving consumer choice and ease, employment, financial inclusion and economic growth. HBL’s investment in Finja was in this spirit,” he added.
Fintech companies have received about a fourth of the total VC investment so far this year. They are finding plenty of overseas investors eager to tap the world’s third-largest unbanked population in what is being called a “fintech revolution”.
In Pakistan, 71% of adults do not have a bank account, one of the highest rates in the world.
Islamabad-based fintech SadaPay raised $7.2 million - reportedly the largest seed round ever in the country - for a personal debit card and e-wallet that still awaits regulatory approval.
Trading app KTrade - dubbed the “Robinhood of Pakistan” - raised $4.5 million after amassing 200,000 users since its launch in 2019.
US-based mega-firm Kleiner Perkins made its first investment in the country - a $17 million round for Tajir, a B2B marketplace based in Lahore that enables small business owners to buy from manufacturers and wholesalers.
Another B2B marketplace, Bazaar, raised $6.5 million in seed capital. Abhi raised $2.1 million for its early wage access platform and is headed to Y-Combinator (along with TAG).
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani #fintech Dastgyr raises $3.5 million in seed round. #Karachi-based B2B marketplace aims to connect over 2 million underserved #retailers directly to manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers to fix what is currently a fragmented supply chain https://www.dawn.com/news/1637048

On top of further building the tech stack and expanding the already 280-odd team, “the funds will be deployed towards officially launching new fintech solutions that Dastgyr’s team has already been experimenting with, including ‘Buy Now Pay Later’.

Its fintech products will strive for financial inclusion of the retailers that Dastgyr aims to serve, the majority of whom remain unbanked. "Access to financing options will ultimately enable them to have more purchasing power and expand their businesses to include more categories, improve store capacity, or purchase new equipment like refrigerators and shelves,” the press release states.


Founded in 2020 during the height of Covid-19, Dastgyr is a B2B marketplace app that enables retailers to order wholesale inventory of over 2,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) with guaranteed next-day delivery and telephonic helpline support. Product categories on the app include fast-moving consumer goods, stationery, mobile accessories, and more. The startup claims to have grown the gross merchandise value 7x between September 2020 and July 2021, while boasting 5,240 daily active users on the app.

SME retailers are the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, representing a combined market of roughly $125 billion dollars, about 30-40 per cent of the country’s GDP. Dastgyr aims to empower and uplift this segment with a near-perfect supply chain and financial inclusion to increase that contribution even further, the press release states.

In addition to SOSV, the round also included ADB Ventures, the Asian Development Bank’s venture capital arm, Seedstars, and Edgebrook Partners, marking their first investments into the Pakistan market. Strategic institutional and angel investors from the MENA region also participated, including Zayani Venture Capital and Tricap investments.


“Pakistan is seeing the same patterns as India five years ago and China 10 years ago: with 75pc of the population owning a smartphone, the first-movers in mobile-first services will be the winners. We are particularly impressed with Dastgyr’s culture of growth: the company’s fintech offering is truly a game-changer for the unbanked and underbanked while ensuring the success of their businesses. We are particularly impressed with the company’s culture of growth and are proud to have the company as part of our portfolio,” said William Bao Bean, General Manager at SOSV and Managing Director of MOX.

Dastgyr’s asset-light model functions on a cross-docking approach: goods are delivered to sorting centres, sorted into individual orders and routes, and are then dispatched to retailers. Currently operational in both Karachi and Lahore after its official launch in September 2020, it has fulfilled hundreds of thousands of orders worth millions of dollars to roughly 30,000 customers.

Dastgyr hasn’t raised an incredibly large dollar amount in this seed round, but its management has been conscientious about ensuring that their deployment of capital remains exceedingly efficient. Its current investment to gross merchandise value (GMV) ratio is $1 into $58.

Dastgyr’s team includes former members of some of the region’s fastest growing startups, including Daraz (Rocket Internet venture acquired by AliBaba), Careem (acquired by Uber), and Airlift (raised Pakistan’s largest Series A at the time led by First Round Capital).
Riaz Haq said…
@FaseehMangi:

Pakistan’s startups fund raising is going through the roof. Record $101 million in the first half of this year compared with $65.6 million in the whole of 2020

https://twitter.com/FaseehMangi/status/1420013252981964805?s=20

Pakistan’s Keenu Eyes IFC backing as startups raises record funds – Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Wemsol Pvt., known as Keenu, is looking to raise as much as $5 million from the International Finance Corporation that would extend a record fundraising spree by Pakistan’s startups. The Karachi-based company, which makes point-of-sale debit and credit card machines, will use the money to expand its network, Chief...

Riaz Haq said…
IFC board to consider the investment proposal by end of August
Keenu is only non-bank in Pakistan POS payments space
Wemsol Pvt., known as Keenu, is looking to raise as much as $5 million from the International Finance Corporation that would extend a record fundraising spree by Pakistan’s startups.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-27/pakistan-s-keenu-eyes-ifc-backing-as-startups-raise-record-funds

The Karachi-based company, which provides point-of-sale debit and credit card machines, will use the money to expand its network, Chief Executive Officer Syed Ejaz Hassan said in an emailed reply. The company is also planning to create consumer and merchant wallets and will seek a license from the central bank, according to Numero Advisors, arrangers to the transaction.


Pakistan’s startups have raised a record $101 million in the first half of this year compared with $65.6 million in the whole of 2020, with most going to e-commerce and financial technology firms, according to a tracker from venture capitalist fund Invest2Innovate. The South Asian nation has the third-largest unbanked adult population globally, with about 100 million adults without a bank account, according to World Bank data.

IFC’s board will consider the investment proposal by end-August, the World Bank’s finance arm said by email. It added that the project would help Keenu expand its network toward small businesses.

Keenu is the only non-bank in the point-of-sale-space, with about 10,000 machines or 30% of total market share, according to Numero Advisors.


Riaz Haq said…
Digital technologies are set to transform the way people live and work in Pakistan. As we saw in the GSMA 2020 Digital Societies Report, which tracks the progress of 11 focus countries in Asia Pacific, Pakistan is advancing its societal, economic and digital ambition, as outlined in Digital Pakistan Vision. Indeed, our report’s digital society index tracked Pakistan in achieving one of the highest increases in its overall score.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/798868/pakistans-digital-transformation-2/


By 2023, the economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan is expected to reach $24 billion, accounting for 6.6% of GDP .In an effort to stimulate this growth, Pakistan has recently moved forward with significant mobile services tax reforms.

Digital platforms, such as mobile services, have become the primary channel for a growing number of citizens to access public and private services, especially during the pandemic. Behind this development are the vital roles played by National and provincial policymakers, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), who have helped increase access for citizens high-quality connectivity and digital services. This has cultivated digital inclusion, e-commerce and a general entrepreneurial spirit for the people of Pakistan.

With a population of approximately 220 million, and more than 100 million people under the age of 25, Pakistan is well positioned to play a growing role in the global economy over the next decade.Pakistan’s mobile market has experienced rapid development over the last decade, playing a significant role in Pakistan’s growth. In 2018, the total economic contribution of the mobile ecosystem was worth $16.7 billion, equivalent to 5.4% of GDP.

In a post pandemic world, Industry 4.0 – otherwise known as the fourth industrial revolution – will help economies recover and become more resilient to future shocks. And technology, supported by mobile networks, will be at the core of Pakistan’s industrial development as it works to launch the fourth industrial revolution.

Pakistan’s recent policy actions offers a glimpse of this potential. But authorities must act together, creating the business environment necessary to realise these goals. A whole-of-government (WGA) approach will ensure better coordination of digital transformation initiatives across the public sector, complemented by private sector investment and innovation. We believe this holistic approach is a way for emerging and transition digital societies to leapfrog bureaucratic pain points.
Riaz Haq said…
Digital technologies are set to transform the way people live and work in Pakistan. As we saw in the GSMA 2020 Digital Societies Report, which tracks the progress of 11 focus countries in Asia Pacific, Pakistan is advancing its societal, economic and digital ambition, as outlined in Digital Pakistan Vision. Indeed, our report’s digital society index tracked Pakistan in achieving one of the highest increases in its overall score.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/798868/pakistans-digital-transformation-2/


A whole of government approach in Pakistan creates the start of a predictable investment and flexible regulatory environment. These measures, needed to achieve the goals of Digital Pakistan, include tax reforms as well as efforts to implement Right-of-Way (RoW) infrastructure policies. The success of these efforts will be measured by their implementation, along with the growth they support in the future.

Implementing tax reforms for industry growth and infrastructure policy Pakistan recently approved tax reforms that will stimulate mobile industry growth. These include gradually reducing Advance Income Tax from 12.5% to 10% in the next financial bill (FY2021-22); further reducing to 8% in the 2022-23 Finance Bill; approval of harmonization /uniform rate of taxes on telecom service; withdrawal of SIM issue tax; simplification of and exemptions for withholding tax to ease doing business; reduction of minimum tax for telecom services from 8 to 3%.

In order to fully realise the benefits of these tax recommendations, the Financial Bill (FY 2021-22) must be enacted into law. Similarly, we recommend policy makers implement Right of Way (RoW)and other policies that impact the infrastructure supporting digital and mobile access. Recently, a significant milestone was reached when policy makers in Pakistan approved, for the first time, RoW infrastructure policy. We commend this move and urge that these policies are implemented quickly. As technology evolves, unforeseen challenges can arise that may not have occurred to policy makers during their inception.

Spectrum roadmap and digital inclusion

Along with these crucial policies and regulatory modernisation initiatives, there are additional steps needed as Pakistan continues to build itself into a digital society. In particular, the development and implementation of a five-to-seven-year spectrum roadmap. Spectrum is the foundation for mobile services. Sufficient spectrum allows mobile networks to reach even more citizens in Pakistan and offer a better quality of service.

Digital Pakistan also includes digital inclusion as one of its policy objectives. Currently, it has a 54% mobile broadband usage gap , as defined by people who live within the footprint of a mobile broadband network but do not use mobile internet. A spectrum roadmap provides stability and certainty as it helps to create a more investment-friendly environment for mobile operators looking to build 5G and 4G mobile networks.



Industry and government stakeholders

A holistic, whole-of-Government approach speeds digitization and the adoption of new technologies in a more efficient manner. By removing barriers caused by siloed efforts from different ministries, Pakistan could more efficiently harness the capabilities of its existing 4G networks, while preparing for 5G. Another key piece in the digitization effort will be the solicitation of input from industry stakeholders. A transparent consultation process that offers parties the ability to submit thoughtful input has the potential to lead to an enabling regulatory framework primed for new technologies.

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