Pakistan-based Abhi, which offers Shariah compliant digital financial services, has raised US$17 million in Series A funding, bringing its valuation to US$90 million.
The round was led by EUR600 million (US$649.95 million) Pan-European venture capital (VC) fund Speedinvest. This investment is understood to be Speedinvest’s first in Pakistan. An international roster of VC firms participated in the round including UAE’s Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Sweden-based VEF, London’s Sturgeon Capital, San Francisco-based Rally Cap Ventures, New York’s FJ Labs as well as local investors Fatima Gobi Ventures, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.
The involvement of international investors in this funding round reflects an exciting trend emerging within the wider Pakistani start-up world. The 220 million-strong population, which is becoming more digital-savvy, is attracting global attention. Last year, 83 start-ups, raised a record-breaking US$350 million, up from US$65 million in 2020, according to consultancy firm Invest2Innovate, a sister firm of i2i Ventures. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, over US$136 million was raised. Fintech start-ups such as Finja and QistPay, both of which offer Shariah compliant services, were one of the 83 which successfully raised funds.
This promising trend potentially bodes well for the local Islamic fintech community. There are at least eight start-ups offering Shariah compliant digital financial services in Pakistan, according to the IFN Islamic Fintech Landscape as at the 20th April 2022.
Founded in 2021 by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi is a financial wellness platform providing salary advance in an interest-free and Shariah compliant manner. It intends to use the funding to expand its product range and team. “We are on a mission to financially empower salaried individuals in Pakistan and this is just the beginning! Abhi is looking forward to partnering with more companies to help empower them and their employees with the range of financial wellness products we have to offer,” the firm said.