Foreign investors are pouring millions of dollars into Pakistan’s FinTech startups as two new funding deals — KTrade and Abhi — notch an infusion of fresh capital totaling $6.6 million, Bloomberg reported on Monday, June 7.
These latest funding deals are on top of the $19.3 million raised by Pakistan’s startups in the first quarter of this year. Of that, almost $15 million came from investors outside of the country. Last year, foreign investments in Pakistan totaled a historic $48 million, according to an April tweet by Invest2Innovate, per Bloomberg.
KTrade, also known as KASB Securities or Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Securities, is a FinTech trading app founded in 2018 by Ali Farid Khwaja in Karachi. Also headquartered in Karachi, the salary advance platform Abhi was co-founded this year by Ali Ladhubhai and Omair Ansari, a former Morgan Stanley fund manager.
KTrade, which enables 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 with participation by German investor Christian Angermayer, according to a company statement, per Bloomberg.
Ansari raised $2.1 million in seed funding for Abhi, which provides people with a tool to get advanced access to money earned ahead of payday. Investors included VEF Ltd. and Village Global, Ansari told Bloomberg.
Amir Wain, chief executive officer of i2c Inc., told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that the COVID-19 pandemic helped accelerate the wider build-out and adoption of mobile infrastructure, which is now resulting in a greater number of developing and emerging economies embracing the digital ecosystem. The interview in February coincided with i2c’s partnership with TAG to introduce a payments super app. At the time, the unbanked population in Pakistan consisted of about 100 million adults.
When it comes to developing digital tools for emerging economies, Mariam Hussain Randhawa, head of consumer products at JazzCash, said in a PYMNTS interview that a customer-centric approach is key. She added that Pakistan represents a significant market opportunity for companies that can offer tools to meet the needs of the underbanked.