Pakistan-focused venture capital firm Sarmayacar is investing in local ride-hailing startup Bykea, according to three sources close to the development. The Series A fundraising is expected to be in the region of $5 million and will be a combined investment involving at least three investors.
Founded in 2017, Bykea is a Pakistani ride-hailing and parcel delivery service operating in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The company was previously funded by Ithaca Capital and JS Capital, two investment companies in Pakistan.
Similar to Indonesia’s Go-Jek, Bykea’s ride-hailing service is also based on motorbikes and aims to transform itself into a ‘hyperlocal marketplace’ where a variety of services from food to parcel deliveries may be requested through its platform. Bykea isn’t the only ride-hailing service in Pakistan though. The company is up against regional players such as Careem and Uber.
Bykea was founded by Muneeb Maayr, the founder of Daraz, a Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce site. In May, Daraz was sold to Chinese internet giant, Alibaba for an undisclosed amount, making it one of the earliest exits in Pakistan.
Sarmayacar launched its first $30-million fund target seed to early-stage Pakistani startups earlier this year. It is also the largest-Pakistan-focused fund in the country. According to Crunchbase, Sarmayacar has three investments – PublishEx, a carrier billing company; ProCheck, a patient engagement services provider; and Patari, an online music portal.
The fund is led by former investment bankers Rabeel Warraich and Bernhard Klemen. The two-man team boasts a combined wealth of experience from Morgan Stanley, GIC and JP Morgan, and aims to bring an institutional approach to investing in Pakistan.