Airlift, a Pakistan-based transportation startup, is close to raising $11-12 million in a Series A funding round from Fatima Gobi Ventures, Indus Valley Capital and First Round Capital. If successful, this deal will make it one of Pakistan’s largest venture-backed Series A rounds on record.
According to three industry sources aware of the development, Airlift is likely to make the announcement over the next few days.
The capital raising exercise is understood to have developed rather quickly. One source told DealStreetAsia that the Series A fundraising process began only about three weeks ago.
Airlift had closed a $2.2 million seed round in August co-led by Fatima Gobi Ventures — a joint venture between VC firm Gobi Partners and Pakistan’s Fatima Ventures — and Indus Valley Capital, a newly formed Pakistani venture capital firm.
Messages sent to Airlift and the proposed investors seeking their comments did not elicit any response.
Airlift was founded by Usman Gul, Ahmed Ayub, Awaab Khaakwany, Meher Farrukh, Muhammad Owais and Zohaib Ali. The startup provides a marketplace enabling bus owners to operate their buses on fixed routes, offering a stop-to-stop solution. Users can book rides on premium quality and air-conditioned buses and vans that have fixed routes, stops and times in Lahore and Karachi.
Apart from Airlift, other prominent players in the market include Cairo-based Swvl and Pakistani bus ticketing platform Bookme.pk. Swvl has already expanded to Lahore and plans to enter Karachi going forward.
Pakistan has begun to appear on the radar of foreign investors in recent months. Other Pakistani startups that have raised overseas capital include Bykea, which closed its $5.7 million Series A round in April, and EasyPaisa, a digital wallet that is 45 per cent owned by Alibaba’s Ant Financial.