Pakistani women’s fitness chain AimFit raises $1m seed led by Indus Valley Capital

AimFit's co-founders.

Pakistani women’s fitness startup AimFit has raised a $1-million seed round led by Pakistan-focused fund Indus Valley Capital. The round was also joined by other local angel investors including a unicorn founder and the founding team of Pakistani startup Atoms.

AimFit was founded in 2014 by Oxford-educated sisters, Mahlaqa and Noor-ul-Hira Shaukat, in Lahore. Upon their return from the UK, Mahlaqa and Noor discovered a lack of female fitness spaces in Pakistan which led to the start of AimFit.

Since then, the firm has grown into a community of 5,000 members across four studios, served by a team of 55 instructors trained by AimFit’s own instructor academy and certification programme.

According to Mahlaqa Shaukat, CEO of AimFit, the proceeds will be used to develop its online product and expand its studio footprint. The COVID-19 lockdown has already led to an increase in online membership locally and abroad, with some 5-7 per cent of its members coming from overseas markets like the UK, US and the Middle East. In the next year, it plans to expand its membership to 10,000 people.

Shaukat added that it also plans to launch two more studios in 2021, with at least one situated in Karachi – a new city for the company. Its existing four studios are in Lahore and Islamabad and remain the primary source of profits for AimFit with some 38-42 per cent of its profit margins coming from its studios alone.

While the COVID-19 lockdown has also led to a temporary pause in studio operations, AimFit said it has not reduced its staff salaries or headcount during this season. It however remains cautious and adaptive to the pandemic and aims to maintain breakeven this year. It will also be making 15-20 hires in key positions such as content, product and technology in the next few months to support its growth.

Indus Valley Capital  is a Pakistan-focused VC investing in early-stage tech startups in Pakistan, raising $15 million for its first country-focused fund. It joins the ranks of Sarmayacar, i2i Ventures and Fatima Gobi Ventures, all of which are also newly-launched funds investing solely in the Pakistani market.

It recently led a $1.3-million pre-seed funding round for Pakistan-based B2B marketplace startup Bazaar.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.