KARACHI: Bykea, a technology platform for on-demand transport and related services, announced today that it has completed a $5.7 million Series A round of financing from Pakistan’s first VC fund Sarmaycar and institutional investors from South East Asia and for Middle East. The announcement was made at the National Incubation Center Karachi, as Bykea is one of the Karachi chapter’s first members.
The financing will be used to fund Bykea's expansion in the ride sharing and express delivery, including cash to digital services for consumers and businesses in urban areas of Pakistan.
Bykea enables a crowd sourced network of motorbike owners to transport people and parcels allowing them to supplement their incomes while delivering cost effective logistics solutions. Its cash on delivery technology enables real time transactions in a nascent payments market thereby pioneering the development of e-commerce in Pakistan.
Over two hundred thousand motorbike owners have installed the partner app to connect with over two million users in Karachi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Lahore. Although available in English, the platform is mostly deployed in Urdu with voice notes to facilitate the use of technology by the broadest audience in their local language.
The CEO of Bykea, MuneebMaayr said, "We’re aiming to solve technology adoption and economic activity for the 200 million people in Pakistan by allowing users to connect with one another via simple steps in Urdu or voice chat. We are also working with leading telecommunication providers to enable feature phones, or not-so-smart phones, to connect to our driver partner network of part timers."
He further said, "The additional investment will pave the way for deeper penetration into the masses enabling Pakistanis at large to use technology to better facilitate personal and business activity in the cities.”
Bykea was seed funded by a group of angel investors in a round led by Ithaca Capital who have made several pioneering venture capital investments in Pakistan. It was founded by veterans from eCommerce and logistics, MuneebMaayr(Co-Founder at Daraz.pk and Director Operations at SNL Pakistan), Abdul Mannan (formerly Rocket Internet), IshaqKothawala (Head Actuary at Pak-Qatar) and Rafiq Malik (formerly COO at TNT Logistics Pakistan).
The Managing Partner of Sarmayacar, RabeelWarraich said, "We are pleased to join Bykea on its journey of building affordable technology solutions that will create income generating opportunities for tens of thousands in Pakistan, while addressing rampant challenges in the transportation, logistics and payments sectors of the country.”
“This transaction also ushers a new era of venture capital investment into Pakistan by bringing together varied and complementary value propositions of institutional VCs from different parts of the world to back one of Pakistan’s most promising startups,” added Warraich.
The Managing Director of Ithaca Capital, Haider Ali Hilaly, said, “We are excited for the next round of Bykea’s development and welcome the institutional investment that brings relevant expertise from other developing markets to the Company. We have worked with Muneeb and his team to develop Bykea by seeding this project despite the obstacles involved in raising substantial further capital for venture stage companies in Pakistan. We are also pleased to have been the main sponsor of one of the largest Series A investments in Pakistan’s history.”
Bykea's funding announcement includes collaboration with the country’s leading telecom network Jazz on connecting customers with drivers using a simple dial in mobile number 0307-1234567.
In addition, the company has received grants from USAID’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority to help create jobs in the hospitality sector and the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation for providing short term lending to enable motorbike owner operators with income opportunities.
Going forward, Bykea intends to use funds from the new raise to continue to focus on increasing its driver network and provide new members income generating opportunities in the transport, delivery and ecommerce space. The Company is also actively looking to fill roles within the organisation as it expands its execution capabilities.