Abhi, a financial wellness platform in Pakistan enabling employees to access accrued salary in advance, closes a $17M Series A round.
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Pakistan-based financial wellness platform Abhi announces a $17M Series A capital raise. The fund raise was led by international VC firm Speedinvest with support from Global Ventures, VentureSouq, VEF, Sturgeon Capital, Rallycap and FJ Labs. The round also saw participation from regional VC firms and existing investors, Fatima Gobi, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.
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, while also benefiting employers. For employers, the platform has zero costs involved thus avoiding any impact on the payroll cycle or cash flow.
The Pakistani VC ecosystem aggregated a stellar $143M in the first quarter of this year, signaling a 408% QoQ growth compared to Q1’21, as recorded in our Pakistan Q1 2022 Venture Investment Report. The FinTech industry was able to raise 27% of total transactions and 17% of funding to rank first by number of deals and second by total funding amassing $23.9M with FinTech NayaPay recording the lion’s share of investment ($13M). The deals in the $5M-$20M bracket saw an increase of 2PP as compared to 2021. The Pakistani VC ecosystem also observed an increase in average sizes across all stages with the mean Series A round recording a growth of 139% YoY to average $22.5M in the first 3 months of the year.
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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 just a B2C company, or a company dealing with only large corporations. It also helps organizations such as SMEs, with working capital needs.
Abhi is now cash flow positive, and Total Payment Values processed have scaled rapidly. Omair Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of Abhi, said: “We are delighted to announce this $17 million funding round, especially with the calibre 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.
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.”
Global Ventures also participated in Abhi's Bridge round in 2021. 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.”
The investment will be used to help meet the overwhelming customer demand, expand Abhi’s team, and build out marketing capabilities. “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.” Omair Ansari concluded.
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