Fintech is changing the economy not just in Pakistan but all around the world. If you’ve ever withdrawn money from an ATM, checked your bank statement online, transferring money using an app, or have paid or sent money online to someone through your phone, then you too are part of this multi-billion industry.
So, What Exactly is Fintech?
Fintech is made up of two words: “Finance” and “Technology”. It is short for Financial Technologies. This fastest-growing tech industry innovatively uses technology to offer efficient and fast financial services. It refers to everything from cashless payments, to crowdfunding platforms, to Robo Advisors, to virtual or cryptocurrencies.
11 Fintech Startups in Pakistan to Watch Out for in 2022
There are around 160 Fintech startups in Pakistan. However, in today’s article we’ll discuss the following top leading startups only:
- PublishEX Solutions
- Paysys Labs
- Tez Financial Services
- Unikrew Solutions
NayaPay is a leading fintech startup in Pakistan that works in collaboration with some leading banks in Pakistan. It offers E-money wallets service to its customers through which they can manage all their everyday online payments. With their e-money wallet, you can securely send and receive money without any hassle.
Moreover, they also offer Visa debit card to their customers for online, in-store, and international payments. Their Visa debit card is accepted across thousands of ATMs in Pakistan, millions of online merchants and retailers worldwide
SadaPay is another leading fintech startup that offers efficient financial services effortlessly without any additional cost. You can securely send and receive digital payment through their mobile app. Interestingly, this fintech startup works without any physical setup of a traditional bank and saves the money charges to offer free financial services to the customers.
Moreover, it offers a seamless interaction with merchants. By utilizing their services, you can connect with businesses through their Micro applications, get notified about exciting deals and discounts, as well as pay for products and services from the comfort of your home.
Finja is a Lahore-based company that was founded in 2015 with the mission to offer secure, fast, and efficient digital transactions for free. Today, this leading fintech startup offers financial services and digital banking projects all across Pakistan and in other emerging markets as well.
Moreover, the company is involved in providing efficient digital services for rolling out payment types and better business process management. Finja Wallet, Finja Retail, CRM Solution, Digital Wallet, and Payroll Plus are a few of their services that they offer to their customers without any additional charges.
Keenu is a fintech startup that offers great financial services to manage your everyday money transactions without having cash in your pocket. All you need to have is their digital Payment app and an account. State bank of Pakistan has given approval to this fintech startup to even operate as Electronic Money Institution (EMI). Through utilizing their services, you can connect to different businesses, avail their special discounts and deals, and can shop from the comfort of your home. Alongside that, you can also pay bills, and send money anytime through your phone number to anywhere you want.
Inov8 is a fintech startup that was founded in 2004 in Pakistan. This company offers consulting and financial technology solutions. Mainly, they offer services for mobile banking, and a branchless banking ecosystem.
Moreover, they serve financial institutions, money transfer organizations, mobile operators, agent networks, regulators, private businesses, and government companies. One of their popular products is AgentMate which is a mobile banking app. I8 Micro bank is another product of this company that offers services for mobile and branchless banking.
CreditFix was part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which was launched in 2016 in Pakistan. It is a leading fintech startup in Pakistan that offers very unique financial services. This digital lending platform offers loans to Pakistan’s underbanked after performing a complete assessment using the alternative data.
Most importantly, their services are not just limited to enterprises and financial institutions but individuals can also benefit from their services. Currently, it offers banks and financial institutions to save 70% of credit processing charges and customer acquisition on every digital loan service.
In collaboration with Tameer Microfinance Bank, Easypaisa was launched in 2009 by Telenor Pakistan. Easypaisa is one of the most popular fintech services in Pakistan that offers mobile-based branchless banking services all across the country. Over-the-counter (OTC) transactions, bill payment, and mobile banking are a few of the services that it offers to Pakistani citizens. In addition, it also enables its customers to pay domestic and international payments securely without any hassle.
Not just that but with Easypaisa, you can also purchase airtime, give donations, pay for insurance, and disburse salaries and social cash transfers effortlessly. Furthermore, it also offers Inter Bank fund transfers, health insurance, handset lending, and secure online payments anytime from anywhere you want.
PublishEX Solutions is one of the most powerful fintech companies that work with three giant telecom companies in Pakistan, Mobilink, Telenor, and Zong. It provides secure and reliable digital payment solutions to its customers all over Pakistan. All their products are built in house using the latest cutting-edge technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence
Paysys Labs is a fintech startup that develops and provides financial technology platforms products for various businesses, banks, and telecom companies. Companies that are utilizing their services are offering a vast array of different payment types through various different channels. Moreover, their products and services include Instascan, mobile banking solutions, digital financial CRM solutions, and biometric solutions.
Tez Financial Services is another very prominent fintech startup. Launched in 2016, the mission was to provide financial services to the unbanked. Moreover, their customer segment includes the underbanked and the millennial customers who don’t have access to a bank account. In addition, their financial services are mainly the products they make by using the latest technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Tez Advance, Tez Sarmaya, and Tez Bima are a few of their main products. Moreover, Tez Advance is a nano credit product that provides a secure and reliable system to get advance cash in times of need.
Moreover, Tez Sarmaya is a digital investment avenue, and Tez Bima is a digital insurance system.
Unikrew Solutions is another leading fintech company that works with the mission of improving financial inclusion. The company provides customer-centric products by utilizing the latest technologies such as machine learning and data analytics. In addition, they are also working to improve the existing customer experience through the smart use of these cutting-edge technologies.
FastPay and Maestro are two of their most popular digital products. FastPay is a mobile wallet through which one can transfer money easily from a smartphone to another smartphone. Whereas, Maestro is a chatbot that assists the users in making financial decisions. Moreover, it offers some other cool features such as a cognitive authentication suite featuring facial recognition, CNIC verification, signature verification, and biometric check.
Private equity is buying up America’s newspapers
America’s local newspapers have been struggling to stay afloat for years. Since 2005 roughly 2,200 of them have folded. Private-equity firms, which often swoop on businesses in distress, have descended on the industry. The share of American newspapers owned by private-equity groups increased from 5% to 23% between 2001 and 2019 (see chart).
The covid-19 pandemic has presented new opportunities for buy-outs of troubled media companies. That has led many of those who read the papers, or write for them, to fear that buy-out barons’ readiness to slash costs and seek out new sources of revenue will be bad for newsrooms. New evidence suggests that things are not quite that simple.
In a new working paper, researchers at the California Institute of Technology and New York University compare how newspapers that were purchased by private-equity firms have fared relative to those that were not. Some of the findings seem to confirm the fear of those newspaper readers and writers who see private-equity types as heartless vulture capitalists unconcerned about democracy.
After private-equity buy-outs, for example, newspapers laid off more reporters and editors. Across a sample of 766 American publications (accounting for around 45% of total circulation), payrolls were about 7% lower after a couple of years at those with new private-equity capital relative to those without such capital. The researchers also identified a 16.7% relative decline in the number of articles written within five years of the buy-outs.
And the focus of coverage shifted from local to national news: the share of articles on local politics dropped by about a tenth. That looks worrying in the context of a study published last year, by researchers at Colorado State University, Louisiana State University and Texas a&m University, which concluded that when readers consume national news their views become more polarised. Poor local coverage is also associated with less competitive mayoral elections, and newsroom staff shortages are linked to lower voter turnout.
Local news may, though, be a losing battle from the business perspective. Local reporting is expensive, because it requires journalists on the ground and cannot be syndicated. Moreover, readers appear increasingly apathetic towards local news—a survey in 2018 by the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, found that only 14% of respondents paid for local papers that year—and instead seek out national online media.
As for the size of newsrooms, things could have been much worse were it not for private equity. For the study also found that newspapers which had been bought out were 75% less likely to shut down than if they hadn’t been. Dailies were also 60% less likely to become weeklies—a common downgrade for many a suffering rag.
The study’s authors caution that they cannot estimate the general causal effect of private-equity buy-outs on the press, but only the observed effect on the newspapers in their sample. Private-equity firms do not purchase newspapers randomly. They target failing newsrooms with potential for turnaround; papers with low circulation but high advertising rates (the price charged to advertisers per square inch) were likelier to be bought. But for the newspapers studied, the buy-outs may have been what allowed them to survive. The accompanying weakening of newsrooms and nationalization of news may be the lesser of two evils.
Pakistan Consumer Confidence Index increased by 8.8% in Q4 2021
Pakistan’s Consumer Confidence Index has increased to 77.0 points in Q4 2021 (Oct-Dec), compared to 70.8 points in Q3 2021 (Jul-Sept), translating into 8.8% quarter on quarter increase, according to a report ‘Pakistan Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)’ for Q4 2021 jointly issued by the Dun & Bradstreet Pakistan and Gallup Pakistan on Thursday.
This improvement in sentiment is driven primarily by improvement in future expectations as respondents reported a greater increase in Future Expectations (up 13.6%) compared to Current Situation (up 2.3%) in this quarter.
During the current quarter, all CCI parameters witnessed a slight improvement while still indicating pessimism, driven primarily by increase in future expectations (up 13.6%) Q-o-Q. Overall increase primarily stemmed from improved perceptions regarding Household Savings (up 16.3%), the report added.
Unemployment continues to drag consumers’ enthusiasm and remained the most pessimistic parameter (NI = 55.3). Across all parameters, consumers were only optimistic regarding Future Financial Situation (NI = 109.3). During Q4 2021 survey, 91% consumers believed that daily essentials have continued to become expensive/very expensive in the last 6 months compared to 94% in Q3 2021.
Nauman Lakhani, Country Lead of Dun & Bradstreet in Pakistan stated, “The eighth issue of Pakistan Consumer Confidence marks the end of the calendar year 2021 and completion of two cycles of CCI.
Current Consumer Confidence growth of almost 9% as compared to the sharp decline last quarter is healthy, but consumers remain in the ‘pessimistic’ zone. The slight improvement is a likely indication of normalizing demand, amidst people adapting to the ‘new normal’.”
Bilal Ijaz Gilani, Executive Director Gallup Pakistan, added, “The current quarter results show improvement in overall consumer sentiment, driven largely by improved expectation for future.
Having said this, the overall sentiment remains in the negative with majority rating current and future situation of their finances to be in dire straits.
“Given the continued pressure of inflation, slow economic growth and disparity between small vs large and those selling to domestic vs international markets growing, the chances of sentiments improving drastically in the short term are low as well. Businesses therefore need to keep this current and short-term forecast in mind while planning for expansion,” he added.
The CCI report has been developed by assessing Consumers’ Confidence about the economy as well as their personal financial situation. The Index covers four key parameters i.e., Household Financial Situation, Country’s Economic Condition, Unemployment, and Household Savings. The Index reflects ‘Current Situation’ (economic changes witnessed in the last six months), as well as ‘Future Expectations’ (changes expected for next six months) of consumers across the country.
The CCI ranges from 0 to 200, with 100 as the neutral value. A score of less than 100 indicates pessimism while a score of more than 100 indicates optimism.
PAKISTAN’S MOST SUCCESSFUL START-UPS MAKING BUZZ
Pakistan’s economy has been on a ventilator. Our imports are manifold compared to exports, hence a great trade deficit exists. To handle this dilemma, we need short-term as well as long-term measures. One of the most important long-term measures that we must pursue, is to establish and support local businesses. Attracting international investments is also imperative to make the Pakistani Rupee stronger.
Fortunately, in the last few years, many incubators and accelerators have been working to support start-ups and to promote businesses. Though often considered synonyms, incubators and accelerators actually function differently. The entrepreneurs must first determine whether they need an incubator or an accelerator at the respective stage of a business’s life cycle.
Incubators give start-ups the support to establish their businesses right at the beginning. Most start-ups have unrefined ideas and lack the business acumen to execute. Incubators enable them in the transition from an innovative idea to a reality. A mature idea with an organized business model enables the startup in making a better pitch to venture capitalists.
Accelerators, on the other hand, work as a catalyst in accelerating the growth of existing companies who have streamlined their ideas. These progressive programs build upon the start-up’s foundation to catapult them towards to the venture capitalists and investors. The dream of every start-up is to obtain capital by pitching to the investors and venture capitalists. The venture capitalist invests in a business with positive future prospects, against a share in equity.
Pakistan has a great potential to produce quality entrepreneurs, hence it’s a perfect hotbed for venture capitalists. Here are some top start-ups created in our very own homeland.
1) Zameen.com ($29 million)
Zameen.com was founded in 2006, it’s the most well-funded startup of Pakistan. Co-founded by two brothers, zameen.com is considered to be the best property portal of Pakistan which allows for the buying, selling, and renting the properties in major cities of Pakistan. Zameen.com has been able to secure $29 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date. During the recent funding, its value was estimated at around $80 Million.
2) Airlift ($14.2 million)
It’s an app-based decentralized mass transit service provider that allows users to commute on fixed routes. Founded in 2018 by Usman Gul and Ahmed Ayub, Airlift successfully captured the market niche untapped by Uber and Careem in Pakistan. Airlift has successfully secured $14.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding, most of it was raised in 2019.
3) Rozee.pk ($8.5 million)
Monis Rehman founded Rozee.pk in 2005 to post jobs for his existing company. In 2006, it got converted into a full-fledged employment website. Today, Rozee.pk is considered the best website for employers and job seekers in Pakistan. Rozee.pk has successfully secured $8.5 million of disclosed venture capital to date.
4) Bykea ($5.7 million)
Bykea is an on-demand ride hailing and parcel delivery startup founded in 2016 by Muneeb Maayr. It has successfully secured $5.7 million of disclosed venture capital till date.
5) Inov8 ($5.4 million)
Inov8 is an innovative B2B payment solution founded in 2004. It specializes in mobile banking, e-commerce, and branchless banking. Inov8 secured an investment amounting to $5.4 million from the Dubai-based Venture Capitalist Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.
6) Finja ($2.5 million)
Finja was founded by Monis Rahman, Qasif Shahid, and Umer Munawar in 2015. It offers both B2B and B2C payment solutions. Finja has successfully secured $2.5 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
7) Sastaticket ($1.5 million)
Sastaticket.pk founded in 2016, is an online travel agency. It provides convenient air travel, hotel, and holiday packages. Sastaticket.pk has secured an investment of $1.5 million from Gobi Partners, a China-based venture capital fund.
8) Oladoc ($1.2 million)
Oladoc is a Health based tech startup that makes it easier for users in searching and booking a medical health professional. Oladoc has successfully secured $1.2 million of disclosed venture capital funding to date.
9) Tez Financial Services ($1.1 million)
Tez Financial Services is a finance based Tech-startup which provides financial services to unbanked Pakistanis. It has successfully secured an investment of $1.1 million from Pakistan-based Planet N Group of Companies, San Francisco-based Omidyar Network and Washington, DC-based Accion Venture Lab.
10) Well.pk ($1 million)
Well.pk is an e-commerce retailer which deals with groceries, apparel & electronics. It successfully secured an investment of $1 million from angel investors, Noor Abid and Nadeem Hussain.
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