Abhi, a Karachi-based startup that provides employee salary advances based on accrued wages, has raised $2 million for their seed round.
The funding round, which was led by VEF, the emerging market fintech investor, and Sarmayacar, the local lead, also included a number of international and local investors including Village Global, i2i Ventures, and Zayn Capital. This is Village Global’s first FinTech investment in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, many employees live paycheck to paycheck, and by the end of the month, most have exhausted their salaries on bill payments, household expenses and emergencies. Abhi, co-founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladubhai, plans to transform the way people spend their money, aiming to become the first and largest financial wellness platform in Pakistan.
Co-founder Ansari, who previously advised and invested in fintech solutions in emerging & frontier markets, noted,
We believe financial wellness and access to credit are basic human rights, which we aim to bring to all our customers. Our goal is to digitize consumer credit, address pain points in the manual payments process and be there when consumers need us most. Your wage is your right, and we want you to have access to it Abhi (“right now” in Urdu).
In terms of dealing with the local digital financial services, co-founder Ali Ladhubhai explained,
Less than 2 million people in Pakistan have access to formal credit. We saw the need for an early wage access product that could allow them to access alternate digital finance altogether with a knowledge center to educate them about using personal finance responsibly and to their benefit.
Ladhubhai, who also previously co-founded a financial comparison platform, KarloCompare, further remarked that “this is just the beginning for us. We have plans to provide a range of digital financial services to allow for customers to conduct all financial transactions from a single financial app.”
On the investments’ side, the stellar bunch of both local and foreign investment firms is excited to have partnered up with the Karachi-based salary advance platform. Dave Nangle, who heads the VEF as CEO, lauded the Abhi co-founders for their unique appendage to Pakistan’s ever-growing Fintech backdrop. In a statement, he remarked,
We are very excited to partner with Omair, Ali and the Abhi Team. This investment allows VEF to continue our mission of improving the financial well-being of the average Pakistani. The traditional pay cycle has tied up employees’ earned income for as long as we can remember, forcing workers to turn to overdraft, payday loans and other products.
Nangle explained that the Abhi app helps remedy this complication with its “much broader employee financial wellness play.”
In principle, the Abhi fintech startup plans to use the investment to develop its service. Regarding its investment partners, the Karachi-based startup has signed an MoU with some 20 companies and plans to incorporate their respective workforce models to revamp its salary advance startup for the long run.
Currently, the Abhi team has joined the Summer Cycle of an American seed funding accelerator, Y-Combinator, which helps startups with idea-generation and company growth. It’s an outstanding achievement for the company as it joins the ranks of alumni companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, and Coinbase to name a few.