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The Pakistan-based FinTech and E-commerce super app Udhaar Book has successfully raised $6M in its latest funding round. The SEED round observed participation from regional and international investors including Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV), Plaid co-founder William Hockey’s Muir Capital, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen’s JAM Fund, Commerce Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, Atlas Ventures, Integra Partners, and angel investors Omri Dahan (Marqeta) and Immad Akhund (Mercury Bank).
Based on the Urdu word ‘udhaar’ meaning loan or on credit, Udhaar Book was launched in 2020 as a digital ‘khata’ or bookkeeping app to help small businesses keep track of sales, expenses, and udhaar (credit extended to customers). Founded by entrepreneurs Fahad Kamr, Shah Warraich, and Myra Ali, Udhaar Book has since graduated from Y Combinator’s accelerator program and expanded its solutions to become a super app, integrating digital dimensions like inventory management which differentiates the digital startup from other platforms currently providing similar services for small businesses in the market.
4 deals in October grew the total funding deployed in the Pakistani ecosystem by $8M in 2021. 1 FinTech startup, PostEx, the courier service offering receivable factoring solutions to streamline the cash on delivery and payment processes for E-commerce buyers and suppliers, raised almost 19% of all capital deployed in an October SEED round. Major rounds in FinTech in 2021, along with this recent round by Udhaar Book, push the Pakistani FinTech ecosystem’s funding growth above the 1,800% YoY threshold.
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Pakistan is home to an estimated 25 - 30 million micro-SMEs that still run manually. These small businesses contribute 74% to the country’s gross domestic product, hence their attractivity for digital innovations that can streamline their processes and build high-impact revenue generation. Udhaar Book stands out as a one-stop-shop for end-to-end small business operations, providing local merchants with the ability to manage their inventory and payroll, with the addition of accounting and collection features. Highlighting the core objective in this digital adoption Fahad Kamr, Founder and CEO of Udhaar Book stated “The majority of small business owners in Pakistan continue to do their accounts on paper and process payments in cash, which is kept in what we call the ‘wooden cash drawer’. So small business owners typically work 16-hour days to monitor this drawer and minimize theft. Solving this problem requires digitizing all manual elements of the business while making the transition as seamless as possible for the already busy business owner.”
"Udhaar Book has now evolved into a super app, essentially an operating system for small businesses. We free up the small merchant’s time, so they can spend it with their family and develop the full potential of their business,” Fahad added. Udhaar Book has collaborated with various telecommunications firms and banks including Telenor, Zong, United Bank Limited, and Bank Alfalah, expanding the Udhaar Book super app ecosystem. Kamr shared that Udhaar Book’s monthly active users have spiked by 300% in the past 3 months, with over 1.4 million registered users across 421 Pakistani cities and regions, and 510,000 monthly active users.
Tha Pakistan-based FinTech and E-commerce builder plans on channeling its newly acquired funds to build out Udhaar Book’s super app ecosystem, which now enables small businesses to conduct digital bookkeeping, manage inventory, invoicing, staff attendance, and payroll in a single, seamless app. In light of this growth capital opportunity Ali Mukhtar, General Partner for FGV, said “in just over a year, Fahad and his team have brought Udhaar Book to new heights, from its Y Combinator credentials to now building out a holistic super app ecosystem for small businesses. We cannot wait to see what is next in the pipeline, and are excited to join Udhaar Book on its journey to bring Pakistan into the global digital economy.”
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