8 of the best-emerging startups in Pakistan for the year 2021

Pakistani startup landscape has visibly encountered a massive shift over the recent years. From Careem, Rozee.pk, foodpanda, Airlift, Swvl to Daraz, Oladoc or even Sehat Kahani, you’ll find startups occupying many of the market gaps. One business model after another can be seen emerging, but while some make big, a good many get pushed back after some sit backs.

From ride-hailing to food/grocery delivery and now, you’ll even find online doctors for live consultation from quite literally the comfort of your homes. The year 2021 was no exception to this growth. The first half of 2021 was simply incredible for the Pakistani startup culture. According to the data compiled by Data Darbaar, the total investment that went into the country’s ecosystem topped $125 million.

It all began in January when $13.5 million was raised and then the next few months, from February to April, saw a dramatic increment, 7 companies raised $42.6 million in funding. The real climax of the story was the second quarter of the year, i.e., from May and June, startups raised an additional $69.2 million, with most of the funding going to eCommerce and FinTech startups.

Today we’ll be listing here 8 such startups of 2021 that not only made big but also, made our lives easier during the pandemic and have now become a part of the everyday life of many.

Airlift: 30-Minute Delivery of Everyday Essentials

What started as a pilot project in Lahore back in 2019 with a fairly small team became the receiver of the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history in August 2021. The Lahore-based online shopping delivery app raised a capital of $85 million in Series B funding co-led by Harry Stebbings from 20VC and Josh Buckley from Buckley Ventures Ltd., with participation from former Y Combinator president Sam Altman.

QisstPay: Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) for Pakistan

This got to be the absolute favourite of 2021! I tell you, this right here is what market validation looks like.

QisstPay brought to Pakistan’s 227 million residents, their hearts desire. The company was founded, back in November 2020 but closed an impressive $15 million seed funding led by MSA Capital in September 2021. You can already spot them on the checkout pages of some of Pakistan’s leading eCommerce websites.

Tajir: B2B (business-to-business) Inventory for Pakistani Retailers

This is what we call an intelligent business model! The founders of Tajir well understood the Pakistani retail sector and the market gap that lied below and came up with a platform, that could potentially prove to be the ultimate go-to for suppliers and retailers alike.

Tajir is a B2B mobile application that allows Pakistani shopkeepers to purchase their items and get the delivery the next day, with a robust tracking system in between. However, there is still a lot to be achieved in the country’s retail sector, given that it’s valued at more than US$ 150 billion, and has been growing at a rate of 9 per cent year-on-year for 20 years.

Dastgyr: B2B eCommerce Marketplace for Retailers and Suppliers

Dastgyr follows somewhat the same concept as Tajir, with the only difference being, that it empowers the retailers by providing them with B2B supplying services to purchase items directly from suppliers. The basic difference between Dastgyr and Tajir is that, with Dastgyr; the magnitude of ordered items is way more than that of Tajir’s. The company’s total funding as of yet stands at $4 million.

SadaPay: Pakistani Neobank

The startup was founded back in 2018 and most recently has raised a seed funding of $7.2million in May 2021, led by Recharge Capital.

Sadapay abides by the neobank playbook, starting with a debit card and a no-fee bank account + free yet instant transfers to any bank or wallet in Pakistan, and 3x/month free cash withdrawals at any ATM in Pakistan.

In future, we won’t be surprised to see, if Sadapay adds additional banking, lending, and investing services to further grow their customer base.

CreditBook: Digital Ledger for Pakistani Businesses

Claiming to be Pakistans #1 DigitalKhata, where Tajir or Dastgyr help small business owners in the country to manage their inventory, Creditbook focuses on finances, payments, and receivables for those same small and medium-sized businesses.

The startup has raised total funding of $1.5 million and has already recorded millions of transactions.

Bazaar: A B2B Marketplace for Pakistan

Bazaar was founded back in June 2020 with the aim of catering to small and medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan to procure inventory, manage their bookkeeping and access financial services to help them grow.

Bazaar, a year-old B2B marketplace from Pakistan, has raised $30 million in Series A financing co-led by Silicon Valley-based Defy Partner and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners.

Oladoc: Doctor’s Online Consultation

Founded back in 2016 as a health-based startup, Oladoc had emerged as the ultimate need of the hour amidst all the stir caused by the pandemic.

It had catered to millions with its live doctor’s consultation, without having to travel to the hospital itself. Oladoc has successfully raised 1.2 million in the venture capital fund disclosed to date.

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