According to a survey conducted by World Bank, over 100 million adults in Pakistan do not have a bank account, which makes Pakistan the third-largest unbanked population in the world. This means that there’s a huge financial inclusion gap in the country waiting to be closed.
The financial services industry in Pakistan is primarily dominated by big banks which mostly lend to the government, and corporations, hence ignoring retail consumers most of the time. As a consequence, Pakistan has a large unbanked population. This need resultantly gave rise to many fintech startups like TAG, SadaPay, and NayaPay.
TAG is Pakistan’s first digital retail bank that allows customers to open a bank account within three minutes and access banking services from anywhere online.
What is TAG?
TAG is a mobile application that allows its users to open mobile wallets and get debit cards. The platform’s users can use the app anytime to perform online transactions such as money transfers, bill payments, and mobile top-up payments.
The startup aims to build Pakistan’s first truly global financial app. In 2020, TAG was launched in the country offering an E-Money Account with a Debit Card. Today, the startup aims to be the first account for millions of unbanked Pakistanis.
Background of Founders
Talal Ahmad Gondal
Talal completed his Bachelor’s in International Business and Management Studies from Rotterdam School of Management. He started his career as a Trade Specialist at Netherlands-based investment banking firm, BNY Mellon.
During the course of the next few years, he worked at a number of German firms, and then in 2016, he co-founded Germany-based Scalebridge Partners. Then in 2019, he joined Amazon services and finally, in March 2021 he founded TAG.
Alexander is an alumnus of the Moscow State Agroengineering University with a Bachelor’s in Information Technology.
He started his career as a Lead Software Engineer at Deutsche Bank. After that, he worked at a number of firms including Quotix (An FxPro Company), Naspay, and DataTravel LLC. Then finally, alongside his colleagues, he founded TAG and is currently serving as its Co-Founder and Cheif Technology Officer.
Value Proposition of TAG
The Rawalpindi-based startup offers banking financial services in the South Asian market, enabling local public and private firms to pay their employees’ salaries on TAG accounts as well as offers virtual and physical cards powered by Visa. It only takes three minutes for a new user to sign up on the platform, after which they can make payments online and top up utility bills.
The platform also provides a range of B2C offerings such as the ability to pay others online and top-up utility bills that are available to any user in Pakistan who signs up to the platform.
Pre-Seed Round: Raised $5.5 million
In June 2021, TAG had raised $5.5 million. Investors in the pre-seed round included:
- Quiet Capital
- Fatima Gobi Ventures
- Polymath Digital doubled down in this round while Khwarizmi Ventures and the co-founder of Plaid William Hockey also participated
Seed Round: Raised $12 million
In September 2021, TAG had raised $12 million in a pre-seed round that had put the company at a valuation of $100 million. The funding was led by Liberty City and also included additional investors:
- Addition LP
- Mantis Venture Capital
- Banana Capital LP
The startup has been setting new standards and changing the way Pakistan banks by building a digital bank for the masses, with an aim to encompass the entire financial life of users, from basic banking such as bank accounts and Visa Debit cards to employer payrolls, salary advances, savings, and neo-brokerage in future.
In an interview, Talal Gondal, Founder of TAG remarked:
There is more demand than we had initially anticipated. Other than many retail customers still on the waiting list, we have also been approached by several organizations to digitize their payroll system that has been dealing in cash until now.