Pakistan’s First Financial Wellness Platform Abhi Raises $17 Million
The Series A round will enable the promising fintech to expand its team and its marketing capabilities to meet its remarkable growth and demand.
Founded as recently as 2021, Pakistan’s first financial wellness platform, Abhi, has announced the raise of a $17 million raise, led by Austria-based venture capital fund, Speedinvest, with participation from a cohort of other international investors, including Global Ventures, VentureSouq (both UAE), Sturgeon Capital (UK), FJ Labs and RallyCap (both USA). Other participants in the round included other undisclosed regional VCs, as well as existing investors such as Fatma Gobi, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.
Offering users access to accrued salary in advance, Abhi has experienced incredible growth since its launch, with the company already boasting positive cash flow. The startup’s processed total payment values have scaled rapidly, while its team has increased from 15 in November 2021, to almost 50 - and counting. The funding is set to be used to further expand the team to meet what the startup is calling ‘overwhelming customer demand’, while also building out its marketing capabilities.
Founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi offers its services through partnerships with hundreds of companies, some of the largest including Cnergyico, Soorty, Din Group, Agha Steel and United King, whose employees are afforded earned wage access. The startup also boasts partnerships with two of Pakistan’s largest banks, United Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah, and having launched as a B2B platform, it now offers business financing as a B2B service.
The investment reflects the fintech sector’s rise in Pakistan. While e-commerce proved to me the most prolific sector in terms of investments with $202 million raised, fintech came second - even if by more than half. Across 16 deals, Pakistani fintechs raised $95 million, a figure that represents a remarkable 2,500% YoY growth in funding. Notable fintech investments in 2021 included raises by TAG, CreditBook, PostEx , Finja and SadaPay, and this good form has continued into Q1’22, with the likes of NayaPay raising funding.
Pakistan has the world’s third largest unbanked adult population with approximately 100 million adults, presenting a wealth of opportunities for Pakistani fintechs. In fact, Pakistan’s unbanked has even attracted fintechs from abroad, with Egypt’s PayMob announcing its arrival this month and quickly striking up a partnership with Bank Alfalah to drive digital payments.
On the part of Abhi’s founding team, this idea of tackling ‘financial stress’ sits at the centre of the startup’s ambitions, and its Sharia-compliant offerings present the market with an innovative solution that allows users to meet financial obligations without falling into debt traps - but Abhi also stands to benefits employers, with zero-costs inflicted to avoid any impact on the payroll cycle or cash flow, whether a corporate or an SME.