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Business & Finance

Pakistan’s Neem sees $1mn investment from DNI Group

  • Startup says focus continues to be deeply on Pakistan for the next stage of growth
Published June 26, 2023

South Africa-based DNI Group has invested $1 million in Pakistani startup Neem as part of a strategic partnership, with the aim of “fostering innovation and growth in the embedded finance space” and “transforming the financial landscape in Pakistan”.

The funds will be used to further develop Neem’s Banking-as-a-Service technology and platform and acquire talent across key areas including product, partnerships, compliance and product marketing, company co-founder Vladimira Briestenska told Business Recorder.

“Our focus continues to be deeply on Pakistan for the next stage of growth,” the official said.

Neem, a Karachi-based embedded financial wellness platform that says it is building for emerging markets, added that it is targeting over 134 million underbanked consumers and 2.5 million micro, small and medium-sized companies in Pakistan.

Karachi-based ‘financial wellness’ platform Neem raises $2.5mn

It also said it is the first financial services company in Pakistan to issue sustainable planet-friendly debit cards.

In a statement, Neem said the collaboration with DNI “represents a strong signal for the embedded finance industry,” which integrates financial services like lending, payment processing or insurance into nonfinancial businesses’ infrastructures without the need to redirect to traditional financial institutions.

The statement added that despite the macro-climate around the world, Pakistan’s digital ecosystem keeps growing, and it is committed to building financial resilience and economic prosperity for people within Pakistan and beyond.

First time in three years: no startup deal for Pakistan in April 2023

“This strategic investment partnership between Neem and DNI Group serves as a significant signal for the market and the digital ecosystem as a whole. It reinforces the massive need for serving underserved communities and validates Neem’s vision of enabling financial wellness for all,” read the statement.

Meanwhile Ross Venter, CEO of DNI’s technology arm Digital Ecosystems, said “DNI is excited to partner with the high-quality, like-minded individuals at Neem operating in a vibrant, growing economy.”

“Neem’s goal of providing financial wellness to the Pakistani market aligns with DNI’s own objectives around empowering people and enhancing financial and digital inclusion,” he said, adding that through its investment DNI hopes “to fast-track the development, exchange, and commercialisation of our respective technologies for the benefit of consumers within our global communities.”

Briestenska said the investment from DNI Group showcases “their confidence in the embedded finance model, our Neem team’s strong execution capabilities, and, above all, our shared vision of empowering Financial Wellness for communities in Pakistan and across emerging markets worldwide.”

In September last year, Neem said it had raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round led by global and local investors.

The development comes amid dwindling startup funding in Pakistan, which took another hit in April when not a single deal was closed for the first time in three years.

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