Pakistan’s Bykea targets to raise $15m in Series B by early 2020

Bykea is a Pakistan-based ride-hailing platform.

Bykea, a ride-hailing and parcel delivery startup based in Pakistan, has received up to $5 million in capital commitments from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) for its upcoming Series B round.

According to Bykea CEO Muneeb Maayr, the firm is targeting to raise $15 million for its Series B round by early 2020. It is engaged in active conversations with prospective investors from Pakistan and around the world.

Bykea last closed its $5.7-million Series A round in April, with $2 million from MEVP, $1.2 million from Sarmayacar, a Pakistan-focused venture capital firm, and $2.5 million from a Vietnamese investor. Its previous investors include Pakistani investment companies Ithaca Capital and JS Capital as well as angel investors such as Jonas Eichhorst.

According to Bykea, the platform has over 200,000 motorbike owners serving two million users across Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Lahore. The platform operates mainly in Urdu through voice notes, and follows Indonesia’s Gojek model, tapping on its motorbike drivers to deliver parcels to its users.

Bykea was facing stiff competition in the country until US ride-hailing giant Uber announced plans to acquire its Middle Eastern counterpart, Careem, for $3.1 billion in March. Since then, Maayr said the company will be able to breathe easy until the acquisition finalises in Q1 2020.

Maayr is bullish about Bykea’s prospects, sharing that the company has already broken even in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city. It has also been careful not to enter segments which will lead it to a “race to the bottom”, noting that it does not want to replicate the relentless cash-burning seen in companies like Uber and WeWork.

In coming months, Bykea will roll out new services in B2B logistics and cash-to-digital payments. It is open to other services like food delivery down the line as well.

Bykea was founded by Muneeb Maayr, co-founder of Daraz, a Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce site. In May 2018, Daraz was sold to Chinese internet giant Alibaba for an undisclosed amount, making it one of the earliest exits in Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of Asia’s many frontier markets that have begun to appear on the radar of foreign investors in recent months. Other Pakistani startups that have raised overseas capital include Airlift, a transportation startup backed by Fatima Gobi Ventures, and EasyPaisa, a digital wallet that is 45%-controlled 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.