Dawaai, a Pakistan-based online pharmacy, aims to raise $5 million in Series A funding from 500 Startups and other investors, its founder and CEO Furquan Kidwai told DealStreetAsia.
The Karachi-based startup expects to close the round in coming weeks.
According to Kidwai, the Pakistani startup raised nearly $1 million in pre-Series A funding from 500 Startups’s 500 Durians fund in April. The investment is understood to be one of the largest first cheques made by the Southeast Asian seed investor and its first in the burgeoning South Asian market.
500 Durians has made several prominent Southeast Asian bets in the past, including names such as ride-hailing decacorn Grab, Indonesian e-commerce giant Bukalapak and Naspers-backed classifieds startup Carousell.
500 Durians is also expected to double down on Dawaai as it closes its Series A. It will join existing investors such as Boston-based Crimson Seed Capital, Pakistan’s Planet N Group, and angel investors. Kidwai added that another Southeast Asian venture capital firm will be leading the round but declined to provide details.
Dawaai was founded in 2013 by Kidwai, a former trader and analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers in London.
The Karachi-based online pharmacy operates six fulfillment centres and delivers medicines directly to Pakistani homes across 17 cities. It is also developing a full-stack platform, which will include an ePharmacy platform for hospitals, refill reminders, eLabs at home, and doctor chat and appointment services with its own in-house team of healthcare professionals to provide advice.
Kidwai said that the Series A funds will be used to develop the startup’s technology and product stack. It will also be used for hiring talent as the company embarks on aggressive growth plans over the next year. Dawaai expects to expand its reach from 17 to 100 cities in Pakistan by 2020.
Dawaai joins a number of Pakistani tech startups which have closed their early stage rounds in recent months.
Knowledge Platform, an edtech startup, raised over $2 million in Series A funding from Beaconhouse School System and asset management firm Lakson Investments Venture Capital (LIVC) in April.
Airlift, a transportation startup, nabbed $2.2 million in seed funding co-led by Fatima Gobi Ventures and Indus Valley Capital to expand its footprint in the country.
At least one startup is already entering Series B territory. Bykea, a ride-hailing and parcel delivery startup, has already received $5 million in capital commitments for its targeted $15 million Series B round which it hopes to close in early 2020.
Led by former Daraz co-founder, Muneeb Maayr, Bykea closed its $5.7 million Series A in April this year. It is backed by investors such as Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), and Pakistan-focused venture capital firm, Sarmayacar.