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.