2021 is the year of Pakistani startups. According to Abdul Razak Dawood, the emerging entrepreneurs have set a record by raising $305 million during January and September.
It would not be wrong to call this year a game-changer when it comes to startups. Airlift, a Lahore based startup unveiled a record of $85 million in November, followed by Bazaar’s record of $30 million.
Similarly, we saw many startups making headlines because of their seed funding and round the clock operations in 2021.
There was also a boom in the fintech startups making ventures like SadaPay and Creditbook a highlight.
Also, this year Pakistani startups took the internet by storm because of their outstanding idea and adding to the IT sector of Pakistan. Let’s see what were these startups.
Founded in 2019 as a transit company, AirLift shifted its operations to 30-minute delivery of all household essentials during the pandemic. And within 12 months of its launch, the company scales to 8 cities within Pakistan. It’s the only startup that has closed $85m in Series B financing to scale operations to international markets. In the year of chaos because of the pandemic, the company generated thousands of jobs within Pakistan. Now, it aims to create 200,000 jobs within five years. The startup is a great example of how to adapt to the challenges to stay relevant in the competitive era.
Bazaar is a fintech startup founded in 2020 that allows retailers to connect with the wholesalers and manufacturers on the go. To date, it has empowered over 750,000 and has successfully reached 400+ towns. The startup made headlines in 2021 by raising $30 million in a Series A round. It was a year of accomplishment for them with its robustness and deep focus on innovation. Bazaar aims to expand its eCommerce marketplace all around Pakistan and also its product stack and financial services.
SadaPay is a Pakistani fintech startup that aims to build a “neobank” for Pakistan. Although it’s still in its beta phase the startup has become one of the most anticipated companies in Pakistan with over 200,000 people on the waitlist. In Mach 2021, the company raised $7.2 million in a seed round. SadaPay follows the neobank model starting with a mobile wallet, free instant transfers and a no-fee bank account.
[Read More: What’s Sadapay]
CreditBook is a digital ledger app that helps small, medium, and micro enterprises manage their finances. It was launched in 2020 and gained traction with over 500,000 app downloads on the PlayStore. It made into the news by making $1.5 million in a seed round. The investment came from a mix of international and local investors. Starting small with a digital ledger app, the company aims to make it big by creating more opportunities for small business growth in Pakistan.
More faster, more swifter, delivery startup Krave Mart becomes the headlines because of its 10 minutes delivery operations. Founded in 2021 by the team of former executives of Daraz, Foodpanda, and Swvl, the company scaled rapidly right after its launch. It also raised $6 million in pre-seed funding round in less than four months after its launch. While a 10-minute delivery seems a tough task but the company is confident in what it promises and aim to make it big with time.
A finance and wellness startup that’s also a savior in your crucial times Abhi is a not to miss venture when it comes to the list of best Pakistani startups 2021. Unique of its kind, the platform gathered attention when it raised $2 million in a seed investment round. The startup enables employees to withdraw salaries in advance. Right now, it’s Karachi-based but has plans to expand its operations all over Pakistan and also to other markets in South Asia.
QisstPay is Pakistan’s first buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform that let you pay in instalments when you’re shopping online. It was founded in 2020 but closed an impressive $15M in seed and pre-seed funding led by MSA Capital in September 2021. It aims to be the largest BNPL platform by making online shopping easy for everyone.
[Read More: What’s QisstPay]
Created in 2018 Oraan is a women-based Pakistani startup that helps women access financial services. In September 2021, it got into the news for raising $3 million in funding co-led by returning investor Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners. The founders Farwa Tapal and Halima Iqbal are the first women entrepreneurs in the fintech space to raise a seed round. Starting with an outstanding objective to help women, the company aims to make it a full-fledge neobank to give women a sense of belonging.
Dastagyr as the name states is a startup that helps retailers to procure inventory for their stores – ranging from fast-moving consumer goods to mobile accessories and stationery, using its mobile app. It has featured over 2000 stock keeping units (SKUs) from different suppliers. It made headlines in the midst of 2021 by raising $3.5 million in a seed round led by SOSV. It’s one of the most talk-about startups that’s helping Pakistan to turn into a startup powerhouse. Let’s see where it heads on in 2022 and onwards.
The list is incomplete without TAG, a fintech startup that offers financial and banking services in Pakistan. In Sept 2021, the startup grabs attention by raising $12 million in the seed financing round in the South Asian market with a valuation of $100 million. This is a huge achievement for Pakistani startups. The company further looks to capitalize on this opportunity in the country.
Let’s see where these best 2021 startups will head in 2022.
If I miss your favourite startup, feel free to add it in the comments below.
I prefer books and diaries more than phones and Facebook. Soulfully connected to Pakistan. And I passionately believe that I can change the world through blogging.