Friday, May 31, 2024

PAKISTAN’S FIRST FINANCIAL WELLNESS PLATFORM – ABHI – COMPLETES $17 MILLION SERIES A FUND RAISE

Abhi, Pakistan’s first-ever financial wellness platform, enabling employees to access accrued salary in advance, announces the completion of a $17 million Series A capital raise.

The fund raise was led by international venture capital (“VC”) firm Speedinvest and supported by Global Ventures, VentureSouq, VEF, Sturgeon Capital, Rallycap and FJ Labs. Also participating were regional VC firms and existing investors, Fatima Gobi, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.

Proceeds will be used to help meet the overwhelming customer demand, expand Abhi’s team – employee headcount has increased from 15 in November 2021 to 48, and build out marketing capabilities.

Abhi now works with hundreds of companies, including household names like Soorty Enterprises, Din Group, Agha Steel, BYCO and United King. Abhi has partnered with two of the largest banks in Pakistan – United Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah – and has also expanded its offering to business financing, meaning it is now B2B as well as B2C. As with most countries, Pakistan’s SME base is c. 85% of the economy, meaning the expansion of Abhi’s business model is a significant commercial opportunity considerably greater than the company’s initial target market.

This is testament to Abhi’s momentum to date, positive word of mouth, and brand strength. Whilst the market opportunity in Pakistan is large enough to be Abhi’s primary focus, the company will explore the possibility of international expansion, as and when the opportunity arises. 

Omair Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of Abhi, said: 

“We are delighted to announce this $17 million funding round, especially with the caliber of investors involved. The backing of Speedinvest, plus the continued support from other leading VC firms, is a testament to our platform, business model and the hard work of our team. We have grown rapidly since inception in July 2021 and our momentum has opened up a significant B2B opportunity.

“All sizes of companies and their employees want the services we provide. The proceeds will support our exponential growth, and help us meet customer demand.”

Stefan Klestil, General Partner at Speedinvest, said: 

“Payroll has long been one of the strongest indicators of financial health, whether that be at the business or the personal level. Abhi’s unique insight and payroll integration perfectly positions them to build effective financial services both for employers and employees alike. With Omair and Ali spearheading this movement, Abhi has the potential to change millions of lives across MENA and South Asia. It’s no wonder they have been able to establish themselves as one of the fastest-growing Pakistani startups.”

Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures, said:

“We are super excited to be participating in Abhi’s latest fundraise and to continue our support for Omair and Ali. Abhi was our first investment in Pakistan and the market opportunity remains a significant one. We see Earned Wage Access as a powerful tool to enable financial wellness for the workforce, giving people access to liquidity and autonomy to meet their financial goals and obligations. We can already see the positive impact Abhi is already having on communities and are looking forward to supporting Abhi’s future growth.”

Founded in 2021 by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi’s objective is to tackle financial stress by enabling employees to meet their financial obligations without exposure to debt traps – but also to benefit employers. For employers, the platform has zero costs involved – thus avoiding any impact on the payroll cycle or cashflow. 

For employees, pre-Abhi, options for cash access were three-fold: company-based salary advances which was a lengthy process, credit cards or loans from financial institutions, the latter two of which were both lengthy and expensive.

With Abhi, employees now avoid expensive alternatives and lead time as Abhi’s platform provides rapid access to accrued salary in advance, both interest-free and Shariah compliant. Employees make an advance salary request using Abhi’s app or website, and funds are deposited into the employee’s account of choice, with automatic deductions on the next payroll – eliminating any overspending risk. Abhi is not a just a B2C company, or a company dealing with only large corporates. It also helps organizations such as SMEs, with working capital needs.

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