Pakistan’s Airlift raises $10m in Series A-1 round, enters last-mile logistics

Pakistani bus transportation startup Airlift has raised $10 million in Series A-1 financing led by San Francisco-based venture capital firm Quiet Capital.

This extension round of financing also saw participation from new investors such as London’s TrueSight Ventures and RT Ventures, Shorooq Partners from Abu Dhabi, and ACE Capital from Taiwan. Other early investors First Round Capital, Fatima Gobi Ventures and Indus Valley Capital also joined the round.

Airlift last raised a $12-million Series A round led by First Round Capital last November, making it one of the largest rounds at that stage recorded in the country. Other investors on its cap table include K2 Global and Tony Xu, founder and CEO of US food delivery giant DoorDash.

Airlift’s fundraising comes at a time when Pakistan continues to see a rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country. The situation has also hampered public and private local transport operations. On March 18, Airlift halted its own bus services and shared that this will remain so for at least 6-12 months or when the COVID-19 situation stabilises.

In the meantime, Airlift has branched out into last-mile logistics with the launch of Airlift Grocer which promises to deliver household essentials within 45 minutes in the city of Lahore. Airlift’s CEO and co-founder Usman Gul told DealStreetAsia that these goods will be delivered via bikes.

“We are excited to team up with investors who share our vision of building a decentralised logistics platform, as well as our commitment to create a positive impact in the region. Airlift understands that the world has changed. Our value to our customers must evolve, our impact on the communities we serve must adapt accordingly,” said Airlift in a statement. 

This shift into logistics will place Airlift in direct competition with players which already conduct last-mile deliveries or are attempting similar moves. These include names such as Bykea, Uber, Cheetay and Foodpanda.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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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.