Friday, March 1, 2024

Pakistan’s Bykea raises $13 million for its on-demand transportation and logistics platform

In a Series B round from Karachi-headquartered, startup Bykea has raised $13 million, it declared today in a statement today. Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures), one of the leading global tech investors, led the investment. This is their first investment in a start-up based in Pakistan. The round also included the involvement of established Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Sarmayacar investors, taking Bykea’s total increase to $22 million, making it one of the country’s best-funded start-ups. Last year in a Series A round, it raised $5.7 million.

Established in 2017 by Muneeb Maayr, Abdul Mannan, Ishaq Kothawala, and Rafiq Malik, Bykea pioneered Pakistan’s motorcycle taxi concept and currently offers various modes of transportation, logistics, and payment services in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, using its network of more than 30,000 active drivers. Freelancers are the drivers on Bykea’s network and most of them work part-time with Bykea to make some extra money on top of their daily revenue.

In addition to motorbike ride-hailing (which is its most common offering), the services that Bykea currently provides include shipments (from point A to B), on-demand delivery from a nearby store, payments for utility bills, and top-up mobile wallets. The start-up also has a classified section on its app where it allows users to publish goods or services) that can be distributed with the aid of its driver network. All the services are provided in English and Urdu through Bykea’s mobile app.

Bykea aims to use the new funds in 2021 to further expand and improve logistics, food, and payment services for e-commerce. A part of the investment will also be used by the start-up to expand to smaller cities where it says foreign players have failed to expand their English-language channels.

Muneeb Maayr, Bykea’s founder and CEO, who previously co-founded Rocket Internet’s Daraz (acquired by Alibaba in 2018), commented on the occasion, “Bykea is one of the few internet companies offering an Urdu-language interface and we are driving our competitive advantage from being highly localized. This strategy has allowed us to become the preferred partner for part-time motorcycle gig employees. Our brand is also commonly used for bike taxis and 30-minute deliveries as a verb.”

There is a total population of 30 million in the three cities that Bykea is operating in. In a statement, the company said that in all three of them, public transport is underserved, “Motorcycles are the rails for manufacturers, couriers, e-commerce retailers and restaurants to transfer goods and collect receivables in one of the least banked countries in the world, almost entirely in cash. In Pakistan, with 17 million two-wheelers; 4x the number of cars; Bykea provides the opportunity for millions of people to earn an income by tapping into the enormous opportunity for both transportation and hyperlocal trade in the region, the statement noted.

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