Airlift Raises $85 Million in Largest Round for Pakistani Startups

Airlift Technologies has announced an $85 Million Series B financing led by some of the most iconic investors on the globe.

This is the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history, according to a data tracker from venture capitalist fund Invest2Innovate.

The Lahore-based online shopping delivery firm’s $85m Series B financing marks the largest in the MENA region, co-led by Josh Buckley (Buckley Ventures) and Harry Stebbings (20VC).

Other major participants included Sam Altman (ex-President YCombinator), Biz Stone (Co-founder at Twitter/Medium), Jeffrey Katzenberg (ex-CEO, Disney), Taavet Hinrikus (Founder/CEO at TransferWise), and Seve Pagliuca (Co-Chairman, Bain Capital).

The financing is about twice the size of the largest private company IPO in Pakistan’s history and the highest in the MENA region, bringing a number of implications for the country.

Airlift has set a new precedent that will bring world-class investors to invest in Pakistan. It will garner confidence that great technology and consumer products can be built in Pakistan, and that this region of the world has some of the best talents.

Airlift Express alone with its series B funding of $85 Million has added 5% to Pakistan’s FDI for the Fiscal year 2021.

This financing round lays the foundations of a new dawn in Pakistan where technology startups alone can contribute to more than 10% of FDI in the upcoming years.

Usman Gul, Co-Founder and CEO of Airlift said

A year ago, Airlift halted operations on the transit service and diversified into last-mile grocery delivery. Today, our team closed $85m in Series B financing to scale our delivery platform across continents. With this financing, we as Pakistanis must return to where we started from — fighting against the odds and staying true to our core values of hustle, teamwork, resourcefulness, and bias to action. If this is the journey of a thousand miles, we have taken only the first step.

Usman Gul in an interview with TechCrunch stated that the startup has found that setting up these fulfillment centers is the most efficient way to serve the market. “The more middlemen you introduce in this chain between the items and the customers, you begin to compromise the experience,” he said.

Within the first twelve months of launch, Airlift has been able to reduce its cost of blended customer acquisition to $5 and unit costs to $2.50.

The team at Airlift is on a mission to enable self-empowerment in the region by reducing individual dependency on others through safe, reliable, and affordable logistics solutions. Airlift is building a platform for consumers, drivers, and small business owners to move consumer goods.

With an agile supply chain, Airlift is best positioned to succeed and eventually create thousands of jobs within Pakistan. Airlift is on a mission to create 200,000 jobs in Pakistan within the next five years.

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