Pakistan’s Airlift to raise $12m from Fatima Gobi Ventures, Indus Valley Capital, others

Traffic moves in front of a Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd. branch in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg

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.

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.