Pakistan’s Bykea on-demand transport app raises millions for expansion
Bykea, a technology platform for on-demand transport and related services, has announced the completion of a US $5.7 million Series A round of financing from Pakistan’s first VC fund Sarmayacar and institutional investors from South East Asia and the Middle East.
The financing will be used to fund Bykea's expansion in ride sharing, express delivery and conversion of cash for digital use, for both consumers and businesses across Pakistan.
Bykea enables a crowdsourced network of motorbike owners to transport people and parcels allowing them to supplement their incomes while delivering cost effective logistics solutions.
Its cash on delivery technology enables real time transactions in a nascent payments market thereby pioneering the development of e-commerce in Pakistan.
Over two hundred thousand motorbike owners have installed the partner app to connect with over two million users in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore.
Bykea does one million bookings a month. Although available in English, the platform is mostly deployed in Urdu with voice notes to facilitate the use of technology by the broadest audience in their local language.
"We’re aiming to solve technology adoption and economic activity for the 200 million people in Pakistan by allowing users to connect with one another via simple steps in Urdu or voice chat,” said said Muneeb Maayr, CEO of Bykea. “We are also working with leading telecommunication providers to enable feature phones, or not-so-smart phones, to connect to our driver partner network of part timers.”
“The additional investment will pave the way for deeper penetration into the masses enabling Pakistanis at large to use technology to better facilitate personal and business activity in the cities,” he added.
Bykea was seed funded by a group of angel investors in a round led by Ithaca Capital who have made several pioneering venture capital investments in Pakistan.
It was founded by veterans from eCommerce and logistics, (Muneeb Maayr, Co-Founder at Daraz.pk, now an Alibaba company and Director Operations for 7 years at SNL Pakistan, now S&P Global, one of the largest IT exporters from Pakistan), Abdul Mannan (formerly at Rocket Internet's Kaymu.pk), Ishaq Kothawala (Head Actuary at Pak-Qatar, a leading insurance company) and Rafiq Malik (formerly COO at TNT Logistics Pakistan a subsidiary of one of the largest logistics networks in the world).
Bykea's funding announcement follows a series of customer launches, including a collaboration with the country’s leading telecom network Jazz on connecting customers with drivers using a simple dial in mobile number 0307-1234567.
In addition, the Company has received grants from USAID Small and Medium Enterprise Activity to help create jobs in the hospitality sector and the Mahvash & Jehangir Siddiqui Foundation for providing short term lending to enable motorbike owner operators with income opportunities.
The announcement was made at the National Incubation Center Karachi, as Bykea is one of the Karachi chapter’s first members.
Going forward, Bykea intends to use funds from the new raise to continue to focus on increasing its driver network and provide new members income generating opportunities in the transport, delivery and ecommerce space. The Company is also actively looking to fill roles within the organization as it expands its execution capabilities.