Bykea, a technology platform for on-demand transport and related services, has completed a $5.7 million Series A round of financing from Pakistani venture capital fund Sarmayacar and several institutional investors from South East Asia and Middle East regions. The announcement was made at the National Incubation Center, Karachi on Thursday.
A press statement said that the financing will be used to fund Bykea’s expansion in the ride-sharing and express delivery, including cash to digital services for consumers and businesses in urban areas of Pakistan.
Bykea enables a crowd-sourced network of motorbike owners to transport people and parcels.
Read more: Q&A: Rabeel Warraich
According to the press statement, over two hundred thousand motorbike owners have installed the Bykea partner app to connect with over two million users in Karachi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Lahore. 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, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Bykea chief executive officer Muneeb Maayr said, “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.”
This includes a collaboration with Mobilink Jazz to connect customers with drivers using a simple dial-in mobile number 0307-1234567.
In a statement, Sarmayacar managing partner Rabeel Warraich said, “We are pleased to join Bykea on its journey of building affordable technology solutions that will create income-generating opportunities for tens of thousands in Pakistan.”
“This transaction also ushers a new era of venture capital investment in Pakistan by bringing together varied and complementary value propositions of institutional VCs from different parts of the world to back one of Pakistan’s most promising startups,” added Warraich.
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 and operations director at SNL Pakistan), Abdul Mannan (formerly Rocket Internet), Ishaq Kothawala (the head of actuary at Pak-Qatar) and Rafiq Malik (formerly chief operating officer at TNT Logistics Pakistan).
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 e-commerce space.