Travel Platform Bookme.pk Raises $7.5M Series A Round
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Lahore-based Travel and Ticketing platform Bookme.pk has successfully raised $7.5M in its latest funding round. The Series A round was co-led by Zayn Capital, seed investor Lakson VC and UAE-based Hayaat Global with participation from MENA-based BY Ventures and Jabbar Internet Group, New York-based Millville Opportunities, and Silicon-Valley based Mentor’s Fund.
Founded in 2014, Bookme is the first completely cashless platform in Pakistan with the highest number of day-to-day digital transactions for banks and payment gateways. Moreover, Bookme has partnered with Pakistan’s leading mobile wallet platform to offer its customers BNPL services, leveraging historical data and spending patterns for more than 6 million customers.
As observed throughout the year and most recently recorded in our November 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard, the Pakistani startup ecosystem has been a hub for local and global VC investment this year. Amidst a record-setting year for international VC participation backing local Pakistani startups, the ecosystem has recorded a 284% YoY growth in capital deployed over 30% more deals by November 2021 than in Full-Year 2020. Aggregating 21x the amount of capital raised last year, Pakistan's FinTech ecosystem and other industries of digitization have been leading the overall drive of the ecosystem, by facilitating processes and setting up next-generation infrastructure through seamless Tech. In light of that, it is Tech pioneering FinTech startups like TAG, Sada Pay, PostEx, and Finja that raised the industry’s lion share in 2021 YTD.
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The intercity bus segment has grown significantly in Pakistan as road infrastructure and connectivity have improved throughout the country due to massive infrastructure investments over the last 5 years. In addition, major urban cities in Pakistan have a large number of rural migrants, increasing demand for bus travel for their work-related commutes.“Bookme is led by an exceptional team with a clear vision which has enabled it to scale rapidly and dominate the travel and ticketing market in Pakistan. We are thrilled to continue to invest in Bookme and firmly believe that the Series A funding will allow Bookme to expand its operations, increase its market share and transform the travel and ticketing space in the country." said Babar Lakhani, Managing Partner of Lakson Venture Capital.
Cost efficiency and shorter travel distances in densely populated provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are also creating greater demand for buses. Moreover, the 82-million-strong middle class, composed mostly of Millennials and Generation Z is also increasing demand for buses, airlines, hotels, and events as domestic tourism and entertainment have grown over the last few years. “Our focus at Bookme has always been the customer experience. With this in mind, we have created a fully integrated platform that allows customers to seamlessly make bookings with the click of a button. We digitized the paper-based transport and travel sector in Pakistan to create a plug-and-play distribution system that interconnects reservation systems of intercity buses, domestic & international airlines, hotels, and events. In our view, making the overall experience cashless through APIs to enable Super App payment applications was an integral part of completing the digital experience.” said Faizan Aslam, CEO & Founder of Bookme.
The startup will be able to use its newly acquired funds to expand its offering and further support its ingenious platform. Faisal Aftab Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital highlighted “We have followed Bookme’s journey from the seed stage to see it scale into one of the leading platforms in Pakistan. We’re extremely proud to be a continued part of their journey as we believe that this team is capable of building a Unicorn.” said Faisal Aftab Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital Frontier Fund. In light of this stellar investment news, Mohammed Ikhlaq, Director of Hayaat Global SFO DMCC concluded “BookMe has one of the most robust e-ticketing platforms because of its focused approach and customer-centricity. Under Faizan's inspired leadership, this stellar team has shown its market nous with unique, compelling offerings and partnerships that have supercharged its trajectory. We are delighted to play a role in their growth story and plans, and we fully expect them to continue scaling new peaks as the digital economy deepens in Pakistan.”
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