Editor’s note: This story was updated on August 13 to include Middle East Venture Partners as one of Bykea’s Series A investors.
Bykea, a ride-hailing and parcel delivery startup based in Pakistan, has raised $5.7 million in Series A funding from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Pakistan-focused VC Sarmayacar, and institutional investors from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Dubai-based, MEVP contributed $2 million to the round, making it the VC’s first investment in Pakistan.
The announcement confirms an earlier report by DEALSTREETASIA about Bykea’s fundraising plans and its backing from Sarmayacar.
According to a statement, the capital will be used to fund Bykea’s expansion in ride-sharing, express delivery and conversion of cash for consumers and businesses. Its key focus areas this year include increasing its driver network, providing new members income and expanding its execution team.
According to Bykea, the platform has over 200,000 motorbike owners who have installed its app to connect with more than two million users across Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore. The platform operates mainly in Urdu through voice notes to drive wider user reach. It is also available in English.
Muneeb Maayr, CEO of Bykea, said: “We’re aiming to solve technology adoption and economic activity for the 200 million people in Pakistan by allowing users to connect with one another via simple steps in Urdu or voice chat. We are also working with leading telecommunication providers to enable feature phones, or not-so-smart phones, to connect to our driver partner network of part timers.”
Bykea is led by Muneeb Maayr, who is also a co-founder of Daraz, a Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce site. Last May, Daraz was sold to Chinese internet giant Alibaba for an undisclosed amount.
Other key members in Bykea’s team include Abdul Mannan, a former executive from Rocket Internet-backed Kaymu.pk; Ishaq Kothawala, head of actuary at Pak-Qatar; and Rafiq Malik, former COO at TNT Logistics Pakistan.
“After regularly visiting Pakistan over the past 3 years, the tremendous potential of the country is obvious to me. Bykea and its team are in a great position to play a leading role not only in advancing the nascent startup sector but can also become a local champion within the overall economy, similar to GoJek’s tremendous success in Indonesia,” said Singapore-based Jonas Eichhorst, who will join the company’s board as part of the transaction.
The other shareholders on Bykea’s cap table are Pakistani investment companies, one of which is Ithaca Capital which financed its last seed round.